ALMONT, Mich. (FOX 2) - Two women were brought together when suicide touched their lives.
It is something you don't hear talked about openly - especially in small towns like Almont. But now Stacey Kanire and Kim Ruhlig are working to change that, while forming a friendship in the process.
Two moms living in the same small town in Lapeer County didn't meet until this month over heartbreaking circumstances.
Stacey Kanire's 16-year-old tried to kill himself after being a victim of incessant bullying.
"It is the scariest thing you'll ever go through in your life," Kanire said. "It was horrifying, heartbreaking."
When Kim Ruhlig found out what happened, she wasn't going to let Stacey do this alone - even though they were strangers.
"I wanted her to know that someone was there," Kim said. "And that she was doing all she could do."
"It made us feel loved and accepted because we have kept it to ourselves for a long time," Stacey said.
Kim knows this pain well; last year her 17-year-old son Brody took his own life.
"I can't get the sight out of my head, we found him," Kim said. "And his little sisters were here. We were all as a family."
When Stacey reached out to FOX 2, she didn't even mention her son's recent suicide attempt. She was only worried about her new friend who hasn't been able to afford a headstone for Brody's grave.
"We just wanted her to have that," said Stacey. "I want her family to have that."
They have a makeshift cross up at the gravesite - and friends keep it decorated, but they feel Brody deserves something more permanent.
"I put up a cross that had his name on it and when I put that up I heard my son say, 'That's good enough,'" Kim said.
Kim has put aside even her own grief. She is telling her story to anyone who will listen to hopefully help end the suicide stigma that keeps people suffering in silence.
"I don't want my kid to be the face of suicide," Kim said. "But in this small town, he is. I am outspoken enough to talk about it. Let's get this out, we need to say something."
If you want to make a donation to get Brody a proper gravestone, you can contact the Ruhlig family at Kruhlz87@gmail.com
If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The crisis center provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or text 741-741.