Chryss Cada is different—and she knows you are too. She knows, because you write to tell her so (Make that "me so"—I never really got the third-person bio. I mean, we all write our own and everybody knows it). I've spent my 30-some-year career writing about what makes me different (being a lesbian, a single mom, a suicide-loss survivor, a nervous wreck) and in the process have discovered how much we are the same. Although your life situation is most likely different from mine, my goal is for you to see yourself reflected in my writing.

Here's the business stuff: Chryss Cada is a freelance writer, journalist and columnist who lives in Colorado. She just finished her first book At the Top of the Stairs and hopes to soon find a publisher and add "author" to the list. In addition to writing her own stuff, she rewrites her students' work as an adjunct professor of journalism at Colorado State University.

Excerpt from my memoir, "At the Top of the Stairs"

The view off the back deck was filled with the rocky-ridged foothill that was Mark’s and my playground. Called simply “The Hill,” it provided acres to discover unknowns, build treehouses and forts, and play high-level games of hide and seek. Most evenings near dusk, the elk or deer would arrive and we knew it was time to head down for dinner. Before going in, we would check on our animals—a hutch full of rabbits, a horse in the corral, two dogs at our heels, and a cat disdainfully overseeing it all from the highest rung of the fence.

Inside, we’d warm up by the fireplace during dinner before thundering downstairs to watch TV or play a game of pool. At the end of the day, we would head to our own rooms (mine decorated in pink, my brother’s in blue), although inevitably I’d sneak over to Mark’s for one last rehashing of our day before saying goodnight.

I grew up in a dream that ended in a nightmare from which I’ll never wake up.

Unlike most people, I can say with absolute certainty the day my childhood ended: the last day of January, 1981. I was twelve years old and Mark was fifteen the winter day he took one of my dad’s hunting rifles up on the hill behind our house and ended his life. Read Prologue

Mark and Chryss flying home from Grandma's house, July 1979.

Podcast: Rocky Mountain Short Takes on Suicide Prevention

"A Sister and Survivor Looks Back 40 Years at Her Brother's Suicide"

July 28, 2020

Joe Huggins, Host: "I read a column in the gardening section of the Denver Post in spring of 2019 and stumbled on the writer Chryss Cada. In the last two paragraphs she announced that this was her last column, that she'd be dedicating the next portion of her journey on telling the story of losing her brother, Mark, to suicide when he was 15 and she was 12. We touched base but it was too early in her journey. Chryss got back in touch when she had finished her writing."

Listen to Podcast Read Transcript