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Family Stories

Merle and Ila Brubaker


Merle and Ila Brubaker
Merle and Ila Brubaker

Darrel Brubaker was a busy and compassionate pastor who was greatly troubled by the sexual abuse (and cover-up by church leaders) of some young men who talked to him about a mutual counselor - a counselor who had also behaved inappropriately toward Darrel earlier. His parents, Merle and Ila Brubaker, suffered with him (though from a distance) through his two-year battle with depression and hospitalization that spiraled into an ever deeper hole.

After one suicide attempt, his wife, Sheri, watched him constantly for signs of danger while praying fervently that he would find enough hope to keep on living. Medications, therapy and treatment at a top mental health institution failed him, but he began a new job as a campus pastor, which filled him and his family with new hope.

Word of his experience with victimization and advocacy for the other victims followed him to the new institution, and he plunged into fresh despair. He ended his life on a bleak winter day during the first Gulf War in 1991. In the documentary, his parents, Sheri, and Darrel's sister, Joy and twin brother, Dave talk about their own experiences in response to his suicide and dealing with the reality with their children and families, and how their church communities were helpful or not helpful in working through their trauma.


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© 2004 Mennonite Media • A Mennonite Media Production • Produced in cooperation with Faith & Values Media for the Hallmark Channel
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