My gratitude for good writing is unbounded;
I’m grateful for it the way I’m grateful for the ocean.
- Anne Lamott
Every year, International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day takes place on the Saturday before the (U.S.) Thanksging holiday. For some, the timing of the event might seem odd. But for many of us who have suffered a loss, it makes sense.
As we move toward a holiday that encourages an entire country to express gratitude, suicide loss survivors often feel invisible. If we are new to our loss, we might feel as if we are expected to pretend that we are ok, when we don't feel ok. However, Suicide Loss Survivors Day allows us to express our feelings, just as they are. Perhaps more than anything, the day reminds us that we are not alone. Infact, feeling connected to others who share this type of loss serves as one of the most important foundations of gratitude.
So, I decided to ask fellow suicide loss survivors what they are grateful for this year. I received responses from all over the world. I received facebook messages, texts, emails, and even handwritten notes. The words were varied and poignant. I am happy to share them with you now.
I am grateful that I am surrounded by people that I love and that they are aways there for me. ~ Gianna C., Oakley, California
I am grateful for my family, my dog, Eli, and all of the resources I have to help me at home to learn. ~ Emily C., Oakley, California
I am grateful that my boys are no longer struggling and suffering, but I still wish they were here not struggling. But there is this thing called life, which is never perfect and everyone has struggles. I'm grateful that God has given me the graces to deal with the things I've had to deal with, and to be able to engage with people in this world. ~ Jo M., Brentwood, California
This thanksgiving I am grateful for my wife and daughter, for helping to keep me out of the abyss after Peyton’s suicide. ~ David J., Conroe, Texas
I am grateful for my fur babies who bring me comfort when no one else can. ~ Becky A., Jefferson, Georgia
I wouldn't trade my time with my two loves, for anything. (One was a suicide, the other a heart attack). I am SO grateful for the time I was able to spend with each one. The things they taught me, too. I feel I have a greater love, even though losing them hurts, still. Even in their death, they have taught me so much. About life, grief, love and even myself. ~ Shalene T., Utah
- I'm grateful for the 21 years that we had with her. ~ Katie G., United States
- I am grateful for the memories I have of my son. When he was 5 and sat on Santa’s lap, he asked Santa to bring his mommy a special gift because she didn’t have a husband anymore. (Santa pulled me aside to tell me this.). I’m grateful for the heart shaped rock he found while on vacation with his dad and stepmom - he was 10. He saved the rock and brought it home to me as a token of his love. To this day, that rock goes everywhere I go. I’m grateful for the adult conversations we had and that he felt safe with me to share his innermost feelings. I’m grateful he shared his first heartbreak with me. I’m grateful for the times he visits me and guides me in the spirit. I’m grateful for every poem he ever wrote to me and every special drawing he made for me. I’m grateful that he thanked me for being his mom and taking good care of him. ~ Nancy VL., Dublin, Califonria
I am grateful for getting to be his happily ever after... He had a hard life, right from birth on. I'm grateful I got to show him true love and loyalty, before he left... Doesn't make it hurt any less...but I'm grateful that he got to know unconditional love before he returned 'home'. If that makes sense... ~ Sharon E.V., Northern Ontario Canada