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Letter: Forum owes family, community an apology

I echo the sentiments of Sharon Schreiner (June 23 online letter) that The Forum had no business reporting the cause of Tim Hagensen's death.

The loss of a loved one to suicide is different than other types of loss. It may take a loved one months, years or an eternity to come to terms with the painful realization of their loved one's obviously terminal suffering, as well as the complex emotions involved in survivor's guilt which include shock, regret, anger, and more. Unfortunately, due to the stigma that still surrounds mental illness in our society, we fail to understand the unique suffering of families who experience a loss from suicide.

To "out" the cause of death when the cause is suicide is to act without thought to the family and friends of the decedent. The only people who should disclose the manner of death are the decedent's loved ones, who own their grief and suffering, and only when they are ready and feel it necessary. The Forum owes Hagensen's loved ones, and the community, an apology.

Middleton Peterson lives in Fargo.