"Couple Hopes to Help the Suicide Bereaved" (Annette Hinkle, Sag Harbor Express) highlights Bill and Bev Feigelman's efforts to spread the word about the needs of survivors of suicide loss. The Feigelman's son Jesse died by suicide in 2002 when he was 31 years old, and his parents are now dedicated to the cause of helping people bereaved by suicide.
The article tells of the Feigelman's advocacy on behalf of people who have lost a loved one to suicide, including their "mission to convince medical schools and continuing healthcare education programs to train doctors about the importance of reaching out to the newly bereaved and offer appropriate referrals."
They are also the authors of a recent book on suicide bereavement titled Devastating Losses: How Parents Cope with the Loss of a Child to Suicide or Drugs (with co-authors John Jordan and John McIntosh), which is based on data from the largest survey ever conducted of parents surviving a child's suicide or other traumatic death.
Survivors like us carry the weight of loss for the remainder of our lives, unwilling to let go of our memories, desperately clinging onto our lost loved ones with the available means at hand. All this is part of the great complexity of grief ... If our book eases the burden that survivors must shoulder in adapting to the traumatic deaths of their children -- and clarifies the ways they can be helped by care-giving professionals -- then we will feel very satisfied indeed.
In addition, the couple is featured in After, an award-winning short documentary film by Jeremy Cohan. The film looks back nearly a decade after Jesse Feigelman's suicide and ...
... guides us through the unique complexities of loss as we observe Jesse's parents ... in their everyday activities. They reflect on the past and struggle to reconcile what they thought might have been with the reality that they are living.
Jesse was a filmmaker and "is a strong presence throughout the film" as "his personality emerges from grainy 16mm self-portraits that he left behind."
These beautiful, albeit haunting images are interwoven with the contemporary story of Bill and Beverly's bereavement. After illustrates that the emotions surrounding the loss of a loved one ... cannot be erased or forgotten, but linger indefinitely, incorporated into the day-to-day realities of those who survive.
The film can be viewed free on Vimeo.
The Feigelman's anchor their efforts on behalf of survivors of suicide loss by serving as longtime facilitators of the Long Island Survivors of Suicide support group.