Editors' Note: This story contains descriptions of suicide. If you or someone you know might be suicidal, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 800.273.8255 (800.273.TALK). Support groups and grief counseling for survivors can be found throughout the Puget Sound region.
Portland writer Kim Stafford has struggled to make sense out of the suicide of his brother Bret for 25 years. Though Bret was just 14 months older, Kim always looked to his brother as a leader and teacher. When he shot himself at age 40 in 1988, nobody in Bret’s family knew how much he was struggling.
Members of the Stafford family, even their father and famous poet William Stafford, couldn’t bring themselves to speak or write about Bret's loss. It was largely up to Kim Stafford to break the family silence. Kim’s new memoir, “100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do: How My Brother Disappeared,” is the story of his brother’s life and death and its devastating and transformational effect on Kim and his family.