My Dear Community,
I am a mother bereaved by my son’s death by suicide. Yet today I live a life of peace and joy. But has the grief really gone away?
Did you know that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death?
Every ONE death affects 135 people.
Suicide is in the news
Earlier this month Dr. Oz interviewed Dr. Jennifer Ashton author of, Life After Suicide: Finding Courage, Comfort & Community After Unthinkable Loss. Dr. Ashton is ABC’s chief medical correspondent and discussed the importance of addressing the painful reality of suicide. A reality her family knows too well.
With barely controlled tears, Dr. Ashton shared about the horror one Sunday afternoon when police officers knocked on the door. They came to tell her the devastating news that her former husband had died by suicide.
Dr. Ashton was in Fragile Grief. That state of grief where one looks fine from the outside. But faces each day marginally holding themselves together.
After a commercial break a second woman joined Drs. Oz and Ashton. A few weeks prior, her husband had also died by suicide. She was in a state of Raw Grief. She visibly shook while choking out her story, awash in the tsunami of grief. Both Dr. Oz and Dr. Ashton comforted her with soothing words and touch.
Then it hit me.
Where was the woman in Gentle Grief? That state of grief that is usually an underground stream but that can gush up at any time. Like Old Faithful in any given poignant moment.
Where is the Gentle Griever to say, “Yes, there is life after death by suicide? Yes, grief breaks us open. But when we learn to recognize, relate, and release our grief, it can be tucked away most of the time.”
I had a gushing Old Faithful moment last week in Nebraska. We stood by “The Sweeper”, a bronze statue of a soccer player. Given to honor all soccer players in Nebraska. Vincent modeled for the player’s body and the artist replicated Reed’s face, hair, and uniform.
Gazing at the statue brought back all the memories of Reed’s death. An impulsive act at 15 ½. He believed his failure was fatal. He chose a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
As I stood looking at it, grief welled up in me. I wanted once more to stand next to him. To feel his arm around me.
Seeing the braces on his teeth with the green bands, his team’s color, broke me open. I recognized my vulnerability. I shuddered as I related to my sadness.
Then, as quickly as grief welled up, I released it into the cloudless sky. Revitalized with gratitude for ALL that’s transpired, I re-aligned with Love.
No, grief doesn’t go away – it changes state.
I am the woman in Gentle Grief. And I want to be the voice that champions hope. There are 135 people x thousands of deaths each year. People who need encouragement. They need to hear that grief is like water – from frozen pond to flowing streams – it changes its state.
Please, if you know any groups looking for keynote or breakout speakers, let me know by replying to this message.
Love all around, above, below, to the left and to the right, before you and behind you,