‘I miss her’: Woman who lost daughter to suicide hopes proposed bill will help others

SPOKANE, Wash. — Suicide is the second leading cause of death for teens in Washington between the ages of 15 and 19 years old. 

A bill in the legislature is hoping to find out why this is happening, and what can be done to stop it. 

The bill would create a youth suicide review team, which would look at the circumstances of suicides in 2020, targeting children and young adults up to 25 years old. 

It’s been six years since 17-year-old Sabrina Gabel took her own life. Her mother, Rose, is still reliving the day she found Sabrina. Rose hopes her daughter’s story and the house bill will save a life that shouldn’t be taken. 

Not a day goes by that Rose Gabel doesn’t think about January 13, 2015. 

“I just want to hear her say ‘I love you,’” said Gabel. 

She found Sabrina, cold and lifeless in her bed. 

“Oh, I screamed. I started screaming at the top of my lungs,” said Gabel. 

She thought Sabrina died from a medical issue. Come to find out weeks later, she had overdosed on her own pain medication. 

“She had surgery on her back and after that surgery, she just continued to be in a lot of pain and suffering in pain from 2012 to 2015,” said Gabel. 

Sabrina had thought about suicide before. Gabel tried to get her daughter help from doctors and counselors, and feels like the system failed her. 

“I wished that the professionals would’ve been able to handle things better. I think there are cracks within our medical profession,” said Gabel. “What I go through on a daily basis, I would never want to see anybody go through this. It is the most hardest experience of my life.” 

House Bill 1354 wants to make sure no parent ever has to go through what Gabel is. 

The bill would create a youth suicide review team, which would look at suicides from 2020. 

“We actually need to do something,” said Rep. Gina Mosbrucker. “What’s the commonality of the youth that are doing that. It would make recommendations back to us and we would target legislation.” 

From there, the state would look at where it needs to put extra resources to make sure another Sabrina isn’t lost. 

“Losing a child is not easy. It is the worst thing that I have ever gone through,” said Gabel. “I have recently lost my husband and it is not anything compared to losing my daughter.” 

Each day that goes by, Gabel thinks about what more she could have done, trying not to blame herself. 

“I would’ve fought to the ends of the earth to make her better,” Gabel said. “I would’ve loved her through every minute of it. I would’ve taken her pain if I could’ve.” 

The pain resonates with Gabel to this day. She still wishes she could hug her daughter again and tell her the words we take for granted sometimes. 

“I love her,” said Gabel. “I miss her. We miss our girl.” 

We’ve all had a hard year. It’s important to know you aren’t alone. 

If you or someone you know needs help, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255 or the regional crisis line at 1-877-266-1818.