Healing from a suicide loss is a thousand little steps, a thousand setbacks, and a thousand little victories. It is very often a lonely journey of self-reflection. It is learning that buried beneath the massive pile of grief and bereavement, there is hope and a new life to be discovered.
Suicide loss survivors become stronger, we learn to put the memories of that tragic moment in a place where we can remember, but not let it dominate our lives. We integrate the loss into our lives moving forward, we don't drop it. Survivors realize that not everyone can help them on their journey of healing, and they seek out and find those who can support them.
Before John’s death, I never thought that I would ever attend any type of support group. It is now 10+ years since my wife and I have been co-facilitating a suicide loss support group twice a month. I speak with new suicide loss survivors almost every day. We have met with, cried with, and celebrated life with hundreds, maybe even thousands of other survivors. We realize that each of those people and families we meet are unique and their loss feels like the heart-wrenching pain we went through 5,000 days ago. We try to share what we have learned and hope that we can help to eliminate even an ounce of the pain that they feel.
We remember with perfect clarity how we felt in the early days, but we now know that there is a path to hope. It’s a long journey, and we hope to share a few steps out of the abyss that so many find themselves in after a suicide loss of a loved one. I often say to people that while I am walking in different shoes then them, I know how much pain can come from the journey. In the end, hope and healing does come to suicide loss survivors. We are humbled that so many people have let us into their lives and have opened up to us about their private suffering and journey toward healing.