This connection, or affiliation, is a deep, holistic understanding based on mutual experience where people are able to "be" with each other without the constraints of traditional (expert/patient) relationships.
In part, I write this blog (and do the other things I do that put me in touch with survivors) because I believe in our connection with one another as a healing force in our grief. In today's post -- to do what I can to widen the circle and hopefully strengthen that connection -- I'd like to identify some other blogs written by survivors. Below are brief descriptions of more than half a dozen blogs from people bereaved by suicide, along with a quote from one of the posts in each blog.The Alliance of Hope for Suicide Survivors Blog is a reflection of Ronnie Walkers' commitment to spreading the word about the needs of the suicide bereaved and about the help that's available to meet those needs (Ronnie, AOH's executive director, lost her stepson to suicide). There are several fresh posts by a variety of authors every week on the AOH blog, such as "Learning along the Journey" by Susan Futterman Paroutaud, who writes only six months after the suicide of her husband:
I've learned still more since his death ... that I could have only done what seemed appropriate at the moment, and no more. I could not have controlled him nor would I have wanted to. And I have come to realize that an infinite number of crossroads stretched before the both of us.
The time is now for nurturing yourself. You have been dealt a devastating blow. Be good to yourself. Give yourself time to heal. No, life will never be the same. But you are now on the path to what suicide loss survivors call "a new normal." Taking care of yourself will get you there a lot faster.Living with the Loss of a Child, a blog with the subtitle "From My Heart to Your Heart," is published by Janie Cook, whose son Matt died of suicide in 2007. Janie writes in her first post of 2013:
Maybe we are being given an opportunity to begin to live more simply and with a more focused intentionality on what is truly important in life. After all, loss has a way of jerking us awake to what matters and shining a bright light on what doesn't. We quickly grow clear about that. We see and know what is precious.The "Mary" in the title "Mary's Shortcut: About Suicide Bereavement" is blogger Marjorie Antus's daughter, who died by suicide in 1995. In a recent post on forgiveness, Marjorie writes:
I know about my daughter's diminished capacity that was not in any way her fault. Knowing has given rise to forgiveness that I think, after seventeen years, is finally in place. At the same time, I respect my early feelings of rejection and abandonment. Those feelings were legitimate ... and not to be talked away.The blog LaLa's Mom is written by Shaye, whose daughter Lena (LaLa is her nickname) died by suicide in 2009. "I hope," Shaye says on her "About" page, "those who come here get a little bit of what they need," and in "Be Prepared," she writes:
I don't hear Lena talking to me. We don't have conversations. But sometimes, when I've let down my guard, when I least expect it, somewhere on the periphery of earshot, I think I hear her voice call out: "Mom." For several minutes I'll stand alert, listening, prepared to hear the voice of my dead daughter calling me again.The blog esmeraldissima.com is by Esmeralda Willamson-Noble, who also wrote a piece for Huffington Post about losing her son Andrew to suicide. In a recent post, "With Each Rising Sun," she writes:
While there are common denominators in grief, we each have our individual signature brand of challenges. I'm depressed. I am confused about everything at the moment. With each rising sun I cry and pray for enough strength to get through another day. When night comes, I'm grateful that it's time to go to bed.The blog Surviving My Brother's Suicide has monthly reflections from Kristina Zinnen about her loss, starting only two weeks after her brother died in 2009. There is a yearlong pause in her postings, then in "Three Years of Grief and Gratitude," she writes:
If there are any silver linings to this experience of going to the place of unimaginable pain and grief and arriving at a place of acceptance and relative normalcy (emphasis on "relative"), it would be the kinship I have developed with fellow survivors of suicide, and the opportunity to be of service to others suffering with depression or grief.A final blog that ought to mentioned is Elana Premack Sandler's Promoting Hope, Preventing Suicide, on Psychology Today's website. The blog's focus is suicide prevention, and Elana also writes about survivor issues and suicide bereavement; for instance in "What is the Role of Survivor Stories in Suicide Prevention?" -- where she first shared the story of losing her father to suicide -- Elana writes:
I spent a lot of time considering whether my story would contribute anything to preventing suicide. These survivors who have been so open showed me that these stories do have their place in suicide prevention, that they are at the core of what we do, and that I'm not any less of a "preventionist" for having a story to tell.I applaud these bloggers' efforts to share their stories of love and loss, and I hope their voices continue to contribute to the healing that survivors of suicide loss are looking for and deserve to find.