John Brooks of Fairfax lost his adopted daughter, Casey to suicide at the Golden Gate Bridge in 2008. She was 17. A senior financial executive in the media industry, Brooks, 57, has written a memoir, "The Girl Behind The Door," which vividly describes the ordeal he has been through. He has been heavily involved in suicide prevention groups and efforts since his daughter's death.
Q: Why did you write the book?
A: Any parent who has lost a child feels compelled to do something in their memory. So I wrote a book. I just had a lot in my head and it needed to come out.
Q: What's the story about?
A: The story focuses on Casey. I share what I learned about her suicide. Why did she do it and what did everyone miss? What could we have done differently?
John Brooks shares what he learned about the suicide of his adopted daughter Casey in his book ’The Girl Behind the Door.’
John Brooks shares what he learned about the suicide of his adopted daughter Casey in his book 'The Girl Behind the Door.' (Frankie Frost/Marin Independent Journal)
Q: What have you concluded about her suicide?
A: I believe it all traces back to her infancy. She was abandoned at birth and spent the first year of her life in a Polish orphanage. It had a profound effect on her, something that was invisible to most people. Casey, in so many respects, was just like any other kid. Everything I learned about attachment issues I share it with the reader.
Q: What do you hope people take away from reading your book?
A: Different people will take away different things from it. My core audience is the adoption community and primarily adoptive parents and prospective adoptive parents. The message is to get professional help with the process if you go down that road. It's not only important to get help when you see trouble, but the right kind of help.
Q: Was it cathartic for you to write this book?
A: I wouldn't call it cathartic in the sense that I came to some epiphany and my life was better. It was simply something I had to do.
Q: What are you thoughts on the suicide barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge?
A: I absolutely support the barrier. I spent a lot of time blaming the bridge and being angry at the bridge. But the bridge was not the cause, but it happened to be a very easy means for her to act on whatever it was that drove her to that point. If the barrier was up, would Casey be alive? Honestly, I do not know. But the odds would be dramatically better if that net had been up.