I am a survivor. I wish I didn't have to be. I wish I didn't now bear this label but it's what I am - a survivor of suicide loss. Survivor though sounds too final, like I've accepted my loss totally and am at peace. I haven't, perhaps I never will...but I am surviving. And of course I have no choice now, not really. From the moment I heard the news I started surviving.
I'm not the only one of course, there are millions of us, too many of us. Before I joined this group I'd give anything not to be a part of I had no idea how many, just how common it is. It's one of the secrets you learn once you're thrust into your new existence as one left behind following a suicide. Too many people die of suicide, too many people are surviving suicide loss, not enough people talk about it.
There is still a stigma to suicide and to mental health, it's whispered about, avoided, not looked in the eye. And every day more and more people have to start surviving. Next time your train is delayed by a suicide or your journey to work disrupted by a person threatening to jump from a bridge remember us. Think of us hearing the news that our loved one has taken their life. Think of us having to learn to live with the loss, with the guilt, with the anger. Think of us having to learn to survive.
November 23rd is International Survivors of Suicide Day. To my fellow survivors, I will be...I am thinking of you all.
|With my brothers on holiday in the 1970s. Simon has the parrot on his arm.|