News Article on Room for Two

An article about Room for Two appeared in The Signpost, the paper of Weber State University, today. I've pasted the text of the article below. However, if you read it on the The Signpost website, you can see a photo of my late wife -- something I've never posted before. WSU alumnus writes about spouse's suicide in new novel, 'Room for Two'

by Seth Durfee

"Young pregnant wife commits suicide," that's a headline, which never ran - although it happened to author Abel Keogh's wife. Krista killed herself in November 2001.

"There's a taboo about suicide," said Keogh, who decided to help break that taboo by writing "Room for Two", a novel about his late wife's suicide.

Keogh, a Weber State University alumni, released his book August 2007. The book gives a straightforward look at his experience with his wife Krista, also a Weber State University graduate, who suffered from depression. She committed suicide at age 25 when she was seven months pregnant with their first child.

Keogh, who has since remarried and is the father of three children.

"After my late wife Krista's death," Keogh said, while holding two squirming sons on his lap in the living room of his Utah County home. "I tried to find on the Internet even one example of another pregnant woman committing suicide. I couldn't."

Keogh said a local newspaper ran an ongoing story about his wife's death for a day or two, but as soon as the paper realized was a suicide, all coverage stopped.

"You're not supposed to talk about it," he said.

The book relates the events following Krista's suicide. Keogh stressed the fact that he did not write the book to say, "I got through it and so can you." He wrote it to try and chip away at the taboo surrounding suicide. "People should know that it's OK to talk about," Keogh said.

He made almost daily entries on a blog after his wife's death.

"Ninety percent of what you find in the book is not in the blog and, in my opinion, the real meat of the story."

Keogh's motivation for writing the book is very personal.

"I didn't feel like there was a story out there that was really helpful to me." He said he wanted to write the book that he would have pulled off the shelf after his wife died.

"I've gotten a few e-mails from people who haven't necessarily had a suicide in their life, and they say how much it's helped them," Keogh said. At the time he recognized there was a problem but he didn't know what to do.

"Looking back I can see that there are things that weren't right. If she hadn't been pregnant I would have asked 'What's wrong with you,'" Keogh said.

For those who don't know what to do, Diane George, a licensed clinical social worker at the McKay-Dee Behavioral Health Institute in Ogden has some insights.

"Signs of depression can be Anhedonia, or a lack of interest from activities that normally provide pleasure, lack of appetite, weight gain or weight loss," George said. "People suffering from depression can also become isolated from friends and family or have a lack of concentration."

George said if an individual is experiencing these types of changes or feelings, talking to someone who will listen is a good course of action.

"Take a stress inventory," George said, "Reevaluate your status. Decide if the depression is situational or biological"

George said those who commit suicide often feel hopeless and alone.

Rebekah Clements, long-time friend of both Keogh and Krista, said she is still trying to cope with the guilt that came following the unexpected suicide.

"Krista's story was even more difficult to talk about because she was pregnant," Clements said. "There wasn't a support group for something like that. We really were alone." Clements said that it was very difficult when Keogh gave her one of the first copies of the manuscript. "There had been five years from the suicide to when I read it. It opened up a lot of memories that I've tried to forget," she said.

There isn't anything you can say about a situation like that, explained Clements, but maybe this is the only chance to bring a silver lining to the whole story. "I hope Krista would think two things about the book: that she would be proud of Abel for writing it and that the book will help people," Clements said.

"If I can help even one person feel like they aren't alone with something like what I went through," Keogh said, "then I did what I wanted to do."