Most obituaries are purposely vague, relying on phrases like “she lived a long life” or “he died suddenly.” Eleni Pinnow didn’t mince words when writing her sister’s obit: “Aletha Meyer Pinnow, 31, of Duluth, formerly of Oswego and Chicago, IL, died from depression and suicide on February 20, 2016.”
As Pinnow explained in a follow-up essay in The Washington Post, she chose to be radically honest about her sister’s struggle in hopes of helping others dealing with depression. Here’s a taste of Pinnow’s eloquent essay (though it’s really worth checking out the whole thing):
My sister’s depression fed on her desire to keep it secret and hidden from everyone. I could not save my sister. I could not reach my sister through her depression. Aletha slipped from my grasp, and I cannot bring her back. I can only urge others to distrust the voice of depression. I can plead for people to seek help and treatment. I can talk about depression and invite others to the conversation. I can tell everyone that will listen that depression lies. I can tell the truth.