About Our Founder

Picture of Codi and her 3 small children
Codi and her 3 kids on the day of the funeral

I lost my husband, James to suicide on August 30, 2010. Though the first year is still a blur for me, I do remember the feelings of shame, fear, guilt, and extreme sadness that I didn’t even know was possible. At the time of his passing, our children were 8, 4, and 1 years old.

Not only was my entire life shattered, but I had to figure out a way to still be a mother to our three young children. I have never felt so alone in my entire life.

I often describe my life then as being in the witness protection program; the life I had once known was wiped clean and who we once were was no longer there anymore. Throughout the first year I lost contact with many of the friends that I once had. I still am unsure if it is because I didn’t reach out to them, or they couldn’t bear the thought of seeing my children and I suffer through the pain.

What I have come to learn is that many people find it difficult to help people after they lose a loved one to suicide because they fear that they are going to trigger something in them and make the grieving process worse. They fear speaking the loved one’s name will hurt the one that is grieving.

What I know is that there is absolutely nothing that someone could have done during that first year that would have made me feel worse than I already did. Knowing that people continued with their life while I suffered silently still brings me to tears. I didn’t ask for this life that was forced upon me.

The calls, letters, and people stopping by my house stopped after a couple of weeks.  However, two months after he passed, I opened a letter that contained a Dairy Queen gift card and a simple note that read, “take the kids for a treat on me.” I did just that. It was the beginning of this new life.

It was not the gift that showed me the light in the world, it was the idea that someone, somewhere thought about me and my children on a random day. It was the idea that James’ death didn’t mean that our lives had to be over too.

Losing James was by far the worst pain I have ever had to go through. The thought of everyone forgetting me and my children, the thought that everyone kept going about their days, the thought of nobody wanting to speak his name, the loneliness that led to complete isolation is definitely in close second to the pain I experienced when he left.

I speak of James often and see him every day inside my children. I have always said that he saw darkness, but we saw the light. When I say “we,” I don’t mean just my kids and I, I mean his entire family, all his friends, everyone who met James saw the light inside of him. It still hurts so much today to know that he was never able to see it.

When I decided to start this new journey of walking alongside families that lose a loved one to suicide, the name came easy. There is a light within everybody and sometimes we just need someone to see it.

Nobody should lose a loved one to suicide. We will walk alongside you and help you see the light. You are not alone.

Codi Leary Leitch


We Saw The Light walks alongside families in Minnesota who are faced with losing a loved one to suicide. We offer small gifts throughout the first year while guiding them to additional resources that can further help them to grieve at their own pace with compassion and understanding.