‘Losing Grace Finding Hope’ Explores Life After Suicide

The suicide of Sue Loncar’s 16-year-old daughter, Grace, left her shattered, and broke her family “into a million pieces.”

“I know Grace would feel devastated to know that she did that to us,” Sue said. “I almost hope she doesn’t know what she put us all through, because I want to think she’s at peace. How could she be at peace if she knew how much pain I was in?”

Eight days after Grace’s suicide, Sue’s husband, Brian Loncar, died due to an accidental drug-induced heart attack. In the aftermath of her daughter and husband’s deaths, Sue went to every support group she could find to cope with the “enormous crater” inside her. Without Grace’s five siblings, she doesn’t know how she would have survived. 

Seven years later, Sue has learned to have joy next to grief. She has founded The Grace Loncar Foundation and dedicated herself to suicide prevention. 

 “That’s the only way you can survive any situation, is to figure out what good can I possibly bring out of this, out of this horrible situation,” she said.

Hoping to help families see their way through grief after a loved one’s suicide and inspire those struggling with mental illness, Sue, along with Grace’s family and friends, have told their stories onscreen in the documentary Losing Grace Finding Hope

Showings of the film sold out in hours when it premiered at the Dallas International Film Festival. It was also an official selection of the WRPN Women’s International Film Festival and the Greenwich International Film Festival, where it was nominated for the prestigious Best Social Impact Film Award.

But when Sue asked her friend Marcia Carroll to direct the film, Marcia wondered whether anyone would even see it. The movie’s budget was just $95,000, and it was interview-based. Marcia wondered how it could compete with epic, visual, cinematic films with big budgets and major directors.

Marcia had known Grace, been devastated by her death, and worried about whether she could do justice to the family’s journey and to Sue’s faith and resilience. She decided to go ahead with the project by focusing on its primary goal.

“The main goal is to inspire or save one life,” Marcia said. “I’m sure that we can do that.”

Marcia worked full-time on the documentary for two years, completing the film in January. She served as director, producer, writer, and on-set interviewer, and was heavily involved in the post-production process.

“I love the family, so the sense of responsibility is just magnified,” she said. “I feel personally invested, and I have to do this, and I’ve got to get it right. I think I got it as close to right for me as I could.”

Losing Grace Finding Hope will continue to be shown in festivals during 2024. After it completes the festival circuit, Sue and Marcia are hopeful that it will be picked up by a streaming service.

The epidemic of suicide, the second-leading cause of death for people ages 10-14 and 20-34 in 2022, needs to be addressed, Sue said. And depression is an illness that can happen to anyone, just as it struck her beautiful, talented, and smart daughter, who always identified with people who were struggling and tried to help.

“I just know that she would be really proud and would want to make a difference with other people that are suffering with depression,” Sue said. “It’s hard to be a teen. It’s hard to be anybody in this world today.”

Share this article...
Email this to someone
Share on Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.