It gave my emotions, my pain, my hurt, my anger, my sadness, my years of depression growing up ... it gave it all a title. You know how people that are chronically sick without a diagnosis feel relief when a doctor is finally able to identify the diseases attacking their body? I can only guess I felt the same way.In other words, he sees the idea of being a victim not through a judgmental lens but as purely descriptive (hurricane victim, accident victim).
I am reminded of what a woman who had lost her teenage son to suicide once told me about her negative opinion of being called a "survivor" of suicide, which she saw as entirely inaccurate. "I didn't survive anything," she said, "and I don't feel like a survivor. I feel like a victim of something horrible that happened."I do hope that at some point in their lives, everyone who has lost a loved one to suicide feels like a survivor, but I also hope that we think seriously -- and compassionately -- about how the word victim captures the reality faced by survivors of suicide loss, namely, that they have experienced a calamity that for many is as stark and debilitating as any disaster that might befall a person.