Eileen Vorbach Collins

I'm 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.