This past Saturday I attended my third International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day since Brian passed away. I was about a second away from backing out of going because even now, after 4 years of grieving the loss of my brother (and openly, via this blog) there are still days when I want to bury my head in the sand and avoid the pain. But I always feel better when I do let myself feel those things so when I checked my email Saturday morning I was grateful to read the email that the event leader had sent out the night before:
“We look forward to seeing you tomorrow on International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day.
When you wake up tomorrow, you might not feel like joining us. However, we ask you to please remember that you will be in a safe place with others who understand the conflicting emotions and questions that so often accompany losing a loved one to suicide. No matter what you are feeling tomorrow, we encourage you to join us. You can talk with others or just listen: you can participate in the entire day, or just part of it. This is a day for you.”
That email served to remind me that I’m not alone and that the feeling of wanting to crawl away and forget is very real and very normal but that the support of others who understand is so important. I’m so glad I went. For those 4 hours I was surrounded by complete strangers who immediately felt like family because we all share a bond (our suicide losses) that allows us to feel normal when in each other’s presence.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention put together this documentary for this year’s event and it was just so well done. If any of you has 30 minutes to spare, this video is so worth the watch. If you know anyone who has lost someone to suicide or if you yourself have lost someone, I guarantee there will be something in this film to which you can relate.