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Cynthia Cook Memorial Fundraiser

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On December 4th, 2021, at age 67, Cynthia Cook lost her life violently at the hands of her youngest son, Jonah Bergman. This senseless tragedy has left the Bergman-Cook family shaken and deeply traumatized. We are raising money to help support her sons, Micah and Isaiah Bergman, as they take on the responsibilities of managing her estate and memorial services. 

Micah Bergman ultimately will be the recipient and beneficiary of this gofundme. As his wife, I, Sorcha Hannah, was given permission by the Bergman family to create this fundraiser on behalf of him and his brother.

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Cynthia lived in Billings, MT, for many decades, in the same beautiful home she raised all three of her children in. For the last several years she lived with and was caretaker for her son Jonah, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. This illness ate away at his mind for many years, and the family struggled to find a safe home for him or a treatment that was truly effective. Though her family was extremely uncomfortable with Cynthia acting as Jonah's caretaker, there was little anyone could do to change their situation beyond offering ongoing emotional support. Cynthia was committed to caring for her son, especially as they leaned on each other while isolated the last two years.
 
Jonah was in and out of jail multiple times in the last year for assault, and he repeatedly admitted himself to the hospital for psychosis. But despite regularly being placed under the supervision of the police and hospital system, no one was able to care for him long term except his mother. Just a few days after admitting himself to the hospital, or a few weeks spent in a holding cell, he was always released back to Cynthia's care. The coronavirus pandemic undoubtedly made it more difficult for these institutions to place him, and Cynthia was faced with an impossible choice. Being the loving mother she was, Cynthia could not bear to think of Jonah out on the streets homeless and continued to hold the door open for him. She cared for him through his illness as best she could, but his psychosis continued to progress until finally he lost touch with his humanity and the unthinkable happened when Jonah took his mother's life. This illness didn't just steal Jonah away from his family, it stole Cynthia's life far too soon. Jonah is currently incarcerated and will remain in police custody.
 
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Cynthia is survived by her three sons, Micah Bergman, Isaiah Bergman, and Jonah. Micah and Isaiah are currently in Billings together and just beginning to wade through the mess that was left behind. Their responsibilities are many, and they have a long and painful road ahead of them. They are currently setting up a cremation service through a local funeral home and will be planning a memorial service for her over the next couple of months. I will update this fundraiser when we have more information about her service.
 
Because Cynthia had no will, Micah and Isaiah will need to go through probate with an attorney to settle her affairs, and likely hire a defense attorney to represent their brother and ensure he is safely institutionalized into the future. Cynthia’s financial obligations, including her house, will fall to her boys in the meantime. In addition to the cost of cremation, a memorial service and legal fees, they will be responsible for many other expenses in the coming months. Such as utilities and property taxes, etc., as well as also travel expenses to make the trip back and forth between Oregon and Montana several times.
 
It is impossible for us to know exactly at this moment what kind of a financial burden this will place on their shoulders, but I have done my best to create an outline as to the upcoming expenses, which you can read below.
 
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This is a painful story to write, and I’m sure a difficult one to read. I hope that by sharing their story with you, I can lay bare some of the nuance behind this situation. Cynthia deserves to be remembered for her selflessness and unconditional love for her children, rather than the way she died. It is true what they say, that there is no love as deep as the love of a Mother. And while we are grateful that Jonah is safely locked away and hopefully able to access better psychiatric care in prison, his actions are unforgivable and have caused an ocean of grief for those left behind.
 
I hope that by sharing this we can raise awareness about the critical lack of health care available for people with advanced schizophrenia. There is so much we don’t understand about this disease, and so few resources to help those who suffer from it and their families. Through her passing, I hope that Cynthia’s story of a selfless mother in a broken system can help shine a light on the glaring need for accessible mental health care for schizophrenic individuals.
 
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To that end, when the dust settles and Micah is finally able to sell his mother’s house, we will be making a charitable donation to pay forward the support we receive from our community today. We will be donating to support those still living with schizophrenia, to an organization that helps in the form of treatment, or research, or possibly housing and/or street outreach. When we have chosen a recipient(s) for this donation after careful vetting, we will update this gofundme and share that information with you. Micah and Isaiah both grew up in the Methodist Church and believe strongly in paying forward what goodness they receive.
 
As Micah’s wife, I have permission from both him and his brother Isaiah to create this gofundme and share Cynthia’s story. We all want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support, whether it’s virtual, financial, or in prayer.
 
 
May you finally know Peace, Cynthia.
 
 
Sorcha Hannah 12/6/2021
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Estimated Espenses – This is somewhat of a shot in the dark but reflects my best attempt at conceptualizing the financial burden my husband and brother-in-law must carry moving forward.
 
Cleaning Service: 600+ (Possibly payable by insurance)
Travel: Plane tickets - 800
Return trip tickets - 800
Ubers - 60
March Tickets to Billings – 1000
Driving Home - 250
Lodging/Food:
Hotels Trip 1 - $320
Air BnB Trip 1 – Unknown
Hotel/Air Bnb Trip 2 - $700
Food Trip 1 - $400
Food Trip 2 - $500
Probate Attorney: Retainer/Escrow 2k +
Defense Attorney: 10K?????? More? This is a huge unknown.
Cremation: 2k – 4k
Ongoing Utilities/Tax payments:
Property Taxes – 194/monthly 2,332 Annually
Utilities – 300/monthly, 3,600 Annually
Car Insurance – 100/monthly, 1200 annually (total guess)
Memorial:
Service – 200
Food – 300
Flowers – 150
Travel for five to IL or MT – 1500-2000 (Possibly, if a separate trip is made for this)
Misc:
Ring Cameras / Lights w/Timers - $250
Boxes - $100
Travel Expenses - $250

Donations 

  • Chadwick Busk
    • $100 
    • 2 yrs
  • Kimberly Blunt
    • $50 
    • 2 yrs
  • MARY BOWDEN
    • $28 
    • 2 yrs
  • Kassandra Niemi
    • $50 
    • 3 yrs
  • Mary Kay Sinclair
    • $50 
    • 3 yrs

Organizer and beneficiary

Sorcha Hannah
Organizer
Hillsboro, OR
Micah Bergman
Beneficiary

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