Eileen Vorbach Collins

I am a Baltimore native. I have a degree in nursing from the University of Maryland and a master's in pastoral care from Loyola College. My master's thesis focused on bereavement by suicide and included developing a support group for those grieving the death of a loved one.

I learned through my own involvement with an online support group, Parents of Suicides, that while there is no "getting over it," finding a community of others who understand is one of the ways I could begin to find the strength to climb out of the despair. As the group grew and members began to meet in person, lasting friendships formed. I am honored that my story about that experience, Two Tablespoons of Tim, received the Gabriele Rico Challenge Award and was published in Reed Magazine.

I began writing years ago, making an occasional journal entry and stuffing the writing away till the next time. I joined the Suncoast Writer's Guild in Englewood, Florida. For the first year I never read any of my essays about suicide. The stigma is still real and I was afraid they would judge me harshly. As I got to know my fellow writers, I began to trust them more with my true stories. I'd found another community of support!

While much of my writing is self-therapy, not all of my stories are sad ones. I enjoy crafting an essay about an insect, or my dog's toenails, or what I imagine the pine tree in my back yard is thinking.

I began submitting stories to literary journals in the spring of 2019. While I've had my share of rejections, I found yet another community of support. Kind words along with the rejections, even kinder ones with acceptance notices, several prizes and contest wins, two Pushcart Prize nominations, and lots of likes and loves from friends and strangers on social media.

For all of this, I am grateful.