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Monday, November 4, 2013

Suicide recovery. . . grief goes on

Some people dwell on the past, some plan for the future and others will struggle to get through today…

Two weeks of bed and tears necessitated research on suicide--probably becausce the thought has passed through my own mind more times than I care to admit while I poured out angst I did not know I still had inside. I placed Holly's name on the Suicide Memorial Wall this morning and joined a British suicide board to connect with others. (Since I loath crowds of people, life is safer behind the computer.)

I am not sure when it will show up as it has to be reviewed but I will be watching my email. Actually, it is now up:

Our, Holly Ann Davis (37)
14 February 1975 -
12 July 2012
Yarmouth, Massachusetts

I also sent in information to Collateral Damage. This is a project to photojournal the faces of those left behind.

“Collateral Damage: Images of Those Left Behind by Suicide,” will be a book of portraits, a website and gallery exhibition, telling the stories of people who have lost loved ones through suicide. When I was 16, my father took his own life. Although I have always been honest and open about how he died, I often felt I was left to deal with my pain and recovery in solitude - my grief paralyzed by the social stigma associated with such an act. Even now, 27 years later, I still have so many questions.
Through this book of images, I hope to find some answers and at the very least, start a long, overdue conversation.

Where am I today? I am bereaved. Suicide is so evil because while one is in the moment, no other alternatives seem viable.

There is also this: the person you are most angry with for taking your loved one away is your loved one. They are, in a strange way, the only one to blame. This incongruent despair mixes with destructive self-blame and blame directed at anyone we feel responsible—for not seeing the signs, not being home at the time, not making sure our loved one took their medication, not keeping medication locked up.

The expression “time heals everything” does not often apply to suicide survivors. The bereavement process is complicated not only by the natural feelings of grief and loss, but by the guilt and the stigma associated with suicide.

"I am a suicide survivor. Mistakenly, many think the term refers to people who have unsuccessfully attempted suicide. The term actually refers to a family member or friend who has lost a loved one to suicide.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 38,364 people committed suicide in the United States in 2010 (the most recent statistic available)—a figure greater than the number of people in the U.S. who died in car crashes that year.

It is generally estimated that every suicide leaves behind six suicide survivors. The New York State Office of Mental Health says this may be a low estimate, and quotes numbers closer to 28 suicide survivors per suicide victim.

When those numbers are compounded, “since, on average, 1,200 New Yorkers die by suicide each year, the latter estimate means approximately 60,000 people qualify as suicide survivors each and every year. This is equivalent to the population of the city of Utica.”

So what do we all do? We search one another out. We share the thoughts that people untouched by suicide just do not understand. Hell, we don't even understand it! If I did, I would not ocntinue to get a grip. I found this 12 step for grieving suicide:

Step One: Try to gain insight into why people I knew and loved took their own lives.

Step Two: Share my feelings of guilt over not being able to stop them.

Step Three: Listen to others' heart-wrenching stories.

Step Four: Cry.

Steps Five through Twelve: Repeat steps one through four.

And that is how I am coping.

Holly, your baby turned 16 last month. I bet she wished you were there. I know I wish you were.