rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

In remembrance of those we have lost on Suicide Prevention Day

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

It is odd, sometimes, how you can remember the past without truly remembering. Seeing it, as it were, through what has been called a distant mirror. Recognizable and yet somehow beyond real comprehension.

This is, for me, what it is like to have been the son of a mother who took her own life when I was very young.

While I can remember everything that happened, I have spent a lifetime trying to understand why it happened. And I am no longer sure that that is the point.

My mother, Krista Maeots, committed suicide when I was seven years old by jumping to her death off a bridge near Niagara Falls. I have vivid memories of being told about this. I have, sadly, far less vivid memories of her.

But, of course, over the years I discovered a lot about her.

Krista was an early radical feminist. Passionate and driven by issues of social justice and women's rights she became involved with the left-wing, late '60s, early '70s Waffle movement in the NDP and was the first person to propose gender equity within the party's governing institutions at its 1971 convention (which, sadly, was opposed and defeated at the time, though it eventually went on to become party policy). She wrote about this by saying "I find it particularly frustrating to hear both NDP men and women repeating the old adage that women should run for party positions on an individual basis, according to their own individual merits, competing equally with their fellow male socialists. Has it not sunk in yet, after 50 years of recorded precedent, that this system does not work? Fellow socialists when did we become liberals? When did we accept the liberal myth that equality of opportunity exists, and therefore all we have to worry about is running elections without corruption?"

It was ahead of her time and was opposed by not only two-thirds of NDP delegates, but also by all of the people we associate with the "Golden Era" of the NDP, such as the supporters of David Lewis who called it "tokenism".

She was a pioneering female print and radio journalist. Krista was a producer of This Country in The Morning which helped to bring Peter Gzowski to fame. She also was the creator of, and first executive producer of Morningside. Morningside was a show that helped to change the face of North American radio with its distinct interplay of music, news and ephemera. It was enough that  Ryerson University created a Krista Maeots Scholarship Award in Journalism after her death.

Distantly I can still recall her circling songs on the backs of LPs that would be played during the program. Tragically, on the day of her suicide, they could think of no better tribute than to simply play music for the entire show, which they did.

Why did she commit suicide? I was very young. I have, over the years heard many theories, and as they sometimes involved people I knew and loved, it is impossible for me emotionally to say. I have to leave it at that.

To say that I have had trouble accepting her death would be obvious. Even all these years later it is difficult for me to understand. And, as a result, I spent many years being very angry at her. I could not even speak of her. 

But it is incredibly important, on this, World Suicide Prevention Day, to heed what the day is about and to tell each other our stories of loss and recovery. "On average, almost 3000 people commit suicide daily. For every person who completes a suicide, 20 or more may attempt to end their lives."

So many people lost.

This is a day that should not a be day of despair, it should be a day of hope. We can stop many suicides. We can intervene. We can end the hopelessness felt by so many, like my mother, in those final moments.

We can do it through a social acceptance of depression and mental illness and through not being afraid to confront it when we find it among our friends, lovers and family. We can do it through funding programs that will aid in this and that will de-stigmatize it. We can do it by fighting misogyny, homophobia, racism, poverty and desperation and by standing together, as citizens, and saying that we will unite with our sisters and brothers around the world to achieve this and to stop this terrible consumer of lives.

So many of us who are survivors of the suicides of others feel that somehow we are to blame. It is the most difficult part of moving forward. For many years I was unable to admit that my mother had been a victim of suicide and that I could have been a son to someone who would have done this. The sense of shame was palpable and overwhelming to the point that I would lie, as a child and teenager, about how my mother had died.

I know now that these feelings are wrong, but they are also the feelings that stop us from telling each other, as friends and comrades, the truth about where we are and how we are feeling. It is shame, in part, that prevents those that believe they can no longer go on from telling friends that they are confronting this. And it is shame that prevents those who have lost loved ones to suicide from telling their stories and from saying that we have to, we must, do more as a society and as individuals to stop it.

As leftists we must stand together against this sense of shame and we must stand united with all those we have lost and who still suffer and tell them that their feelings are not shameful and that we are here for them. That they have our solidarity. That as leftists we stand together against depression and know that feelings of hopelessness and emptiness are human and that we will support each other through them.

And that, most importantly, we will tell each other when we feel this way. That we will reach out and expect to be listened to and understood without any fear of stigma. That we will be able to seek help without enduring labels of being "insane" or "hysterical".

This is why I wanted to share my mother's story.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.