Tomorrow is International Survivors of Suicide Day.
Not exactly a club you want to join, but sadly far too many people fit the term “suicide survivor.” In the US alone, more than 38,000 people die each year by suicide, and many many more are left with the questions and grief. It does not matter if you are a parent, child, sibling, aunt/uncle, nephew/niece, cousin or even friend, each of our grief is important. Our grief, while it may not be as shocking to the system as the years pass, is still always there in the background ready to smack you in the face.
I’m having one of those moments right now. Today would have been my friend Dina’s 40th birthday. This is always a time I think of her because our birthdays are 2 days apart. (We were even born in the same hospital.) We always got in touch with each other at this time, no matter how far apart in geography.
Its easy to compare our grief to others and feel like as “only” her friend, my sadness could never compare to say her parents or brother. But I have to tell you that its not important to compare. We are allowed to own our grief. We are allowed to reminisce and find support from other loved ones, a therapist or even from strangers who understand.
Speaking of support, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is hosting events around the world Saturday 11/23. Survivors of suicide loss will gather together for support, healing and empowerment. For more information and find an event near you, visit this link.
Sending love, strength and hope to those who’ve lost a loved one to suicide today and every day. You are not alone.
If you’re struggling today, please contact the Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). Or visit AFSP.org for additional resources.