Friday, May 31, 2019

Happy endings do exist, but for those of us who have lost someone to suicide, a happy ending is far from what that kind of loss entails.

In my own journey of healing, I find that acceptance is key to moving forward. In the fight for suicide prevention, my loved ones were on the side of the losses that underscore the need for change. I don't have to accept the inevitability of suicide, but I have to accept that I've lost more than one person in this heartbreaking way.

However, in healing I have found it necessary to remember the positive things about the loved ones I've lost, and not just remember them for the tragic way in which they died. I make a conscious effort to recall the peaceful and happy times that I shared with my loved ones. Often, those we lose to suicide have also had periods when they were healthy and times when their lives were filled with joy. So, I focus on those things. In this way, I am better able to process my grief. When I remember the good parts of the people I have lost, I am able to put the magnitude of my loss into thoughts and words.

If you are a survivor of suicide loss, I urge you to do the same. Allow yourself to remember the reasons you loved and cared about the person you lost. Allow yourself to appreciate the gift they were in your own life, when they were still alive. Our ability to remember and grieve the whole person that we lost (and not just the way in which we lost them) will be in direct proportion to our ability to heal.