Healing is a Journey, Not a Destination

Survivors of Suicide Loss Support Group - Madison, NJ

Posted: Apr 8, 2019

Healing Is A Journey And Not A Destination

This Wednesday night marks the 10th year since we lost our son to suicide. In the early days I can remember asking everyone who knew anything about suicide when we would be healed, when would the pain stop. I could not grasp that we would ever heal. I thought that my life and emotions would forever be as dark and as painful as those first few days. I had lost the sense of future, I had lost the desire to think about the future. I had no idea what healed would even be. There is no map with a destination called "healed".

Healing came a little bit in the first week after the funeral, it came a little bit in the first month when we went to a support group. It came a little bit when we got the police and coroners reports. It came a little bit when we put the headstone on the grave. It came a little bit as we struggled through each of those first holidays and birthdays after the suicide. It came a little bit on the 1st anniversary ( I hate the idea of remembering the most tragic day of my life as an anniversary). It came a little as we worked through the grief of the second year when reality set in that this was part of our life forever. Healing was a long road that we walked down. The journey and direction of our healing came from within ourselves. Healing was a thousand choices we made after the suicide. As time went on, I realized that there is no one day, or one event that defines when I was healed. No one can give you a map that will heal you. I have realized that we have truly been on a journey of healing.

In the beginning it was a solitary journey. It was hard to speak about our suicide loss except with a few special people. My wife and I each walked side by side, but we were alone in so many ways. We learned that there was hope and healing in talking about our loss. We found the people who gave us energy and support. We dropped the people and baggage that were causing pain in our lives. Sadly, not everyone can help you on your journey of healing. Our grief counselor helped us get the basics down. We found great support from the people in the suicide loss support group. We found support in our church community. We picked up the pieces of our shattered lives and began to put them together into our new future. You can not go back and stop the suicide, and you can not go back to who you were before the suicide loss. The new you is truly different from the old you. The new you will find healing. It is just a journey of many stops and choices.

We have spoken with hundreds , if not thousands of folks over the last ten years about suicide loss and healing. We have picked up bits and pieces of our new future and healing wherever we could. Thank you to everyone who has listened to us speak at the support group meetings or shared a moment with us. Ten years in, we are still healing and we are still learning from each of you. While we are facilitators, we are also survivors ourselves. While I like to think that we are mostly healed, we are still healing. We will always be healing. Like the song Willie Nelson wrote 27+ years after his son's suicide, we realize: "It's not somethin' you get over, But it's somethin' you get through"

I like to believe that it is more then "somethin' you get through". I believe that hope returns. I believe that the future returns. I believe that laughter returns. I believe that happiness returns. I believe that love returns. I believe that you never lose the one you lost to suicide, you just find a new way to integrate them into your lives. Healing has a way of sneaking up on you a little bit at a time. It can be hard to see the small steps you have taken, but just the fact that you sought out a support group and are reading this note tells me you are healing. I believe that healing is a journey and not a destination.

Thank you for helping our family on this journey and thank you for the gift of healing you have given us. I hope that you too can find your hope and healing along the way on your journey.