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The Journey Continues: Glimpses of Hope

Good Morning. As I sit here mentally preparing for work – or trying to – I find that there are so many things going through my mind – and the questions continue – and fragmented thoughts lacking focus or purpose swirl about with seemingly random abandon.

It is so very difficult to see beyond his suicide. It feels impossible right now. It is almost as though my thoughts and perceptions have been hijacked by this tragic event. It dominates my every thought, my every moment, my every interaction.

I spoke with a very wise, compassionate, knowledgeable, and caring survivor yesterday. Someone who has walked many emotional miles and endured many hard-fought years of learning and reaching out on this journey. She has embraced her healing. She is my hero and models someone, I so aspire to. It was profound.

Through our conversation, I was able to imagine and to hear glimpses of a life no longer held captive solely by the specter of suicide. There was no forgetting. There was no “getting over it,” but I gained a sense that forgiveness, purpose, peace, hope, love, and empowerment are all possible –and that the joy I so miss can be had.

PTSD – the thief of my peace, the robber of my inner tranquility, the blinder of my perspective, the chain that binds me to my present state of chaos. Through this most comforting of conversations I have come to see that this phenomenon is something many, many of us survivors share. Its effects leave us feeling constantly helpless, hopeless, traumatized, and victimized –perpetually trapped in a whirlpool of despair.

Yet through educating myself about PTSD, perhaps the help of a skillful therapist, the support of other survivors, perhaps medication be that “natural” or conventional taken with due diligence, self-healing processes such as meditation and art therapy, and a purposeful desire to move through and beyond this PTSD, there lies hope waiting for me to grasp it and reawaken it.

I am coming to understand that I can eventually experience a shift of focus from the dominance of his suicide to grieving and celebrating his life and to honoring him and myself through healing.

This journey is long and difficult. At every corner there are unknowns. I have no frame of reference for this, no personal compass to guide me. I am under no illusions now.

I know that I must embrace it if I am ever to see a life beyond it -or in spite of it -or with it. That I must not give up “the good fight” to my eventual healing.

And that I must, as I gradually grow physically and emotionally stronger, day by long day, week by week, month by month, year by year, become an active participant in my healing – knowing that there will be many, many times I will stumble and backslide. I did not ask for this, and neither did he. Nevertheless, it is here.

It is a process, a journey, a path that grows step by hard-fought step, tear by tear, memory by memory, experience by experience, victories, and set-backs, healing and renewal, throughout the remainder of my life.

I have no idea how this journey will continually reveal itself and I am frightened by the unknown, but continue I must.

A journey that continues, a personal odyssey, the honoring of his legacy and building of mine.

Be kind and gentle to yourselves,


About the Author

From Our Forum

From Our Forum

The Alliance of Hope online forum transcends time and distance, offering a culture of kindness, hope, and understanding to people who have lost loved ones to suicide. Operating like a 24/7 support group, our forum is supervised by a mental health professional and moderated by a trained team of loss survivors. Members can read and comment, share their stories, and connect with other suicide loss survivors.Read More »

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Survivor Experience: Ride of My Life

I hate this roller coaster. It was not my choice to ride. I was pushed into it. Sometimes the ride is fine and at first, I feel okay. “I can get through this,” I say to myself. Then out of the blue – like a sneaky trick – I am plunged into a dark hole that is so terrifying I have to use all my strength to hang on for dear life. The timing is unpredictable. In a twitch of an eye, the plunge starts in the middle of a job meeting, at a red light, in a store, with friends or not with friends. Alone or not alone. This is exhausting and I feel like a used worn wet rag.

The ride has a sadistic sense of humor. It sends others to keep me company. Their names are Guilt, Anger, and Depression. They are very friendly. They each have their own personality and want me to join in with them.

Guilt tells me, “It’s my fault, I should have been more aware and less self-absorbed.”

Anger screams loudly to Guilt so I can hear him too, “It may be her fault but he should have never abandoned her like that!”

And my newest companion, Depression says over and over “You both are right so why bother with anything – even living – because nothing really matters.”

These new companions never fail to point out something I didn’t realize or remember. They seem to make sense of this tragedy and I almost give in and believe them.

But then along the sidelines and in the stands, I hear a team, people of all ages on the Alliance of Hope forum, male and female, each with different viewpoints and beliefs. Like one voice I hear them faintly at first and then more loudly. They say:

“No, don’t believe them. They are not your friends! Your loved one was ill and didn’t mean to hurt you. Your loved one was in pain and wanted the pain to end. You would have done anything you could at that time to help. Don’t beat yourself up it is not your fault. You cannot control or make choices for others. They made their own choices good or bad. They would not really want you to suffer so much over this. Be kind and gentle with yourself. Cry and just breathe. It will be alright. Drink water and eat something nutritious. We’ve been through this and can help you get through this too. We will always believe you and support you. Always!”

Listening to this team, a warm feeling grows and gives me hope. I start to feel like I am getting stronger and want to trust and live again. I know deep down they are right and what they say is true. My former companions Guilt, Anger, and Depression start to fade into the background and the roller coaster becomes slower, steadier, and more on an even keel and I want to get off.

Everyone here is that one voice – the Alliance of Hope team. You told me all these things and cared, loved, and believed in me even when I couldn’t believe in myself. This weekend I want to say thank you all for helping me get my life back. You all are in my thoughts and prayers. I love you all.

God Bless.

About the Author

From Our Forum

From Our Forum

The Alliance of Hope online forum transcends time and distance, offering a culture of kindness, hope, and understanding to people who have lost loved ones to suicide. Operating like a 24/7 support group, our forum is supervised by a mental health professional and moderated by a trained team of loss survivors. Members can read and comment, share their stories, and connect with other suicide loss survivors.Read More »

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At Four Months – A Little Bit of Light in the Darkness

Last night was difficult. This week has been difficult

I am looking at a Thanksgiving entirely alone this year. My husband took his life on July 7th and this will be the first real holiday without him. Normally I would be with family or friends, but due to COVID-19, I’ll be “celebrating” at home alone. I absolutely dread this.

But: I’m determined to make the best of a bad situation. I’m planning to Zoom with a few friends. I purchased a small Thanksgiving feast from Whole Foods. I’m taking all of next week off of work and have a list of movies and TV that I’m planning to binge.

But still, I’m scared to death for this first holiday alone.

So: I went to Target today and bought an enormous amount of Christmas lights that I put up. There is a little bit of light in the darkness for me (and quite frankly the world, at this time). This is especially poignant as my husband refused to have any Christmas decorations at all last year. At the time, I thought it was because of his depression. Upon reflection, I think he may have been already contemplating taking his own life and didn’t want a reminder that that would be his last Christmas. Hindsight is always 20/20.

We had twenty wonderful Christmases together. I know this holiday season will be different and difficult in so many ways.

Like everything: one day at a time.

About the Author

From Our Forum

From Our Forum

The Alliance of Hope online forum transcends time and distance, offering a culture of kindness, hope, and understanding to people who have lost loved ones to suicide. Operating like a 24/7 support group, our forum is supervised by a mental health professional and moderated by a trained team of loss survivors. Members can read and comment, share their stories, and connect with other suicide loss survivors.Read More »

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An Angel In Every Room

We are headed into the holiday season, which is often a tough time for those grieving the death of a loved one. You may be feeling little call to celebrate, decorate, or buy gifts. Or you may be growing increasingly anxious and sad as the holidays approach. Family holiday traditions, as well as the festivities and expectations of the outside world, are hard to navigate with a broken heart.

This year, I imagine that most everyone will be doing things a bit differently – whether they have lost someone or not. The pandemic, unemployment, and economic anxieties have altered so many things for all of us. And you may be rethinking or revising the traditions of previous years in order to satisfy social distancing guidelines. I know I am.

For eight months now, I have been talking to new loss survivors who are grappling with the pandemic in addition to the death of their loved one. They have needed to social distance while managing funerals, memorials, and tending to all the collateral tasks resulting from loved ones’ deaths. Many have postponed memorials or held very small gatherings. They have been isolated, without the close, in-person support of friends, family, and counselors, which is so important. It has been heartbreaking to me, to know they are going through this.

New loss survivors are often very concerned about upcoming holidays and special occasions. If this is true for you, I’d like to suggest something that helped me immensely 25 years ago, when my grief was new. Find a way to “own” your own holiday. Take it back from the culture and make it personal. Make it just big enough and just small enough to fit what is happening for you and your family right now.

Do what you need to do to get through it

I still recall the emptiness I felt the first year after my stepson’s death when previous traditions no longer fit. I could not shop. I certainly could not put up elaborate decorations. I could barely get through each day. At some point, I decided to put an angel figure in every room of the house. That seemed appropriate. I recall that my daughter Heather gave me a pair of angel earrings with a note: “If you wear these Mom, there will be an angel in every room you enter.”

So, if I can give you one tip, as the holidays approach, I urge you to go within and honor your feelings. Seek the wisdom of your own higher self. There is no right or wrong. Our culture dictates so much, but it is possible to take things back. Think about what you want to do – what is meaningful for you – and trust your instincts. 

During that first holiday 25 years ago, I felt such deep despair I could not envision a future of anything but loneliness and pain. With the help of others, I survived and eventually begin to thrive. It was a journey of many years, but during that time, I grew stronger. I believe you will too. I grew wiser. I believe you will too. I chose to live, and then live in a way that makes a difference. I believe you can too.

Be sure to check out our website if you are looking for additional articles and holiday tips, and please know that others understand and will be there for you on the Alliance of Hope Forum. You are not alone. As always, my thoughts and prayers are with each and every member of the Alliance of Hope community.


Moments of Grace – Six Years Later

After a loss, there are many transitions. During this process, it helps me to limit my focus rather than trying to face my whole future at one time. Thinking about all the years ahead could easily overwhelm me. Besides, no one can “arrange” a future, survivor, or not. Life is far too capricious for that. In return for that precarious existence, however, we all receive moments of grace, periods of time for resting and gathering strength as well as brief miracles that show us over and over that – yes – we are still alive, and we can survive even after the most devastating experiences of our lives.

I’ve been a survivor for over six years now. The struggle to reintegrate into some kind of “normal” life has settled into a peaceful routine most of the time. Still, I’m learning that major decisions and the minor flux and flow of life demand a lot from me.

Yet I’m recognizing more and more the moments and miracles waiting for me “out there” in the world of the living. I still claim the right to withdraw into myself when I need to – back to that “limbo” world, a healing place separate from the outer world – but the happiness I’m finding in just living is a message to myself that life will find a way to help me through.

Where is your healing place? Sometimes mine is just a momentary break I take inside myself while the world rushes around me. Sometimes it is the community forum at the Alliance of Hope for Suicide Loss Survivors. Sometimes it is taking time to listen to soft music or sit down in a beautiful place to just “be.”

It can be scary “out here.” The world does not stop for me, nor does it always treat me kindly just because I have experienced a loss. I’m still tender in places, but I can see my growing strengths better, too. I’ve looked for healing moments from the very beginning of this journey, and I have no plans for stopping that sweet habit.

There are unexpected starts and stops in my life still, but the “quilt” of my life is taking shape – block by block, stitch by stitch – and a pattern is emerging. Most noticeable now are the transitory moments of grace I receive now and then, the special gifts friends and strangers or just the universe, in general, bestow on me.

Kristin Hannah, in her novel Night Road writes “…in the sea of grief, there were islands of grace, moments in time when one could remember what was left rather than all that had been lost.” 

A shared word or two, a virtual hug, encouragement, and other wonders arrive on my doorstep just when I need them. These moments and miracles come from fellow survivors, strangers I don’t know, friends, and family.

Have you carried a moment of grace somewhere today? Have you received one? I hope so.  A day without grace is a dark day indeed, but unlike sunshine and rain, we don’t have to wait for them. Reaching out to others is as simple as sending an email, making a phone call, or paying a visit.  The rewards are tremendous.

And they run two ways.

Losing a Spouse – Three Years Out

It has been three years since I lost my dear husband to suicide. We were happily married for 21 years. I write now, for the benefit of those newer in loss, with the hope of offering some perspective on the arduous, but not impossible task, of finding one’s way in this new territory. Losing a spouse to suicide is extraordinarily complicated.

Our life together changed dramatically when my husband was hit by a car while riding his bike. It was then that he sustained the traumatic brain injury that led to his tragic end.

After he died, it took a long time for the shock to wear off. When it did, I found myself sorting through many complicated thoughts and emotions like grief, anger, fear, and what-ifs. Then came the practical questions. Do I move? Where do I want to be now? Endless decisions had to be considered.

Finding a way to continue to live after the fire-storm of this type of loss is no easy task. One must endure the dismantling of their previous life – on their own – while navigating the many choices and decisions needed to create a new and different life.

“Painting has helped me to heal. This image represents the freedom of my husband’s spirit now.” ~Soul Grief

His death shattered our existing life and my foundational way of being in the world, yet, little by little with hand-holding and heart-holding from others before me, I made choices that helped me move forward. I lived through feelings of not wanting to be here without my beloved husband and fearing the future. I made the decision to settle a lawsuit that was just, but far too stressful. I put my beloved home on the market and moved, a year ago, across the country to be closer to my daughter and her family. I’ve returned to my art, hiking, and to loving those who stood beside me. I have been creating a new life from the ashes of my old life. Some pieces returned from old passions. Others are surprising new directions.

I want those of you who are newly bereaved to know it is possible to survive and find joy again even after such an impossible tragedy. The devastating suicide of a spouse should not be underestimated but doesn’t have to break you.

The Alliance of Hope was one of the many tools that helped me to survive and heal. It was a lifeline provided by other survivors who understood the devastating nature and vulnerability one feels after experiencing this type of sudden and shocking loss. The forum community provided compassionate wisdom born of experience and a nonjudgmental witnessing by others of the horror of my first days, weeks, and months. It was the heart medicine I needed.

Other things have helped as well:

Time helped soften the pain. It is not everything, but it is an important aspect of healing our wounded hearts.

A Circle of Support from friends, family, and a counselor also helped. Again, it is not everything, but being with others who listened without judgment allowed my grief to share its voice and paved the way for rebuilding.

Learning Self-Care helped me build true inner strength. Decision by decision, navigating this loss has taught me to choose what will nurture and support me as well as to guard my precious time.

My life is very different today than it was before my husband died. I would still prefer he was here with me, but – and this is crucial – I accept my life now and in honor of him and our love, live my life fully. These days I realize it is possible to grieve, survive, and even thrive after such a devastating loss. Unexpected waves of grief still hit me from time to time, but I know how to sail – or at least float – through those moments and days.

I think it’s important to remember that we are still here. I don’t have a step-by-step map but I can offer a ray of hope. It is possible to survive. You will find your way and we are here for you. Honoring the tasks of grief will bring you to new ground. Possibly even higher ground after integration of all that is lost. None of us can change what happened but we can choose to gather the pieces of our shattered hearts and find a way back to beauty and joy.

For now, find those with big enough hearts to hold you. Trust that the devastating initial pain will soften with time, and you will grow stronger.

May we all honor ourselves and our loved ones by finding a way to hold all our shattered hearts with compassion.

Soul Grief

Finding Strength in Uncertain Times

Last week, I stopped reading the news and began to seek ways to calm and center myself. I suspect I am not alone in doing this. Things had become too scary. Too sad. Too out of control.

You may have similar feelings. Members of our forum tell me they are worried about the safety of their families and friends, their jobs, and the economy. Reports of infection and the mounting death rate seem surreal – like something we would see in a disaster movie – but certainly not in real life.

People everywhere, are dealing with issues resulting from COVID-19. Some have lost jobs and wonder how they will pay the rent or buy groceries. Some have had to forgo important medical treatments and worry about that. Some are homeless, unable to shelter in place. Some are separated from loved ones. And still others go out in the world every day to provide care – returning each night, hoping not to infect their families.

Suicide loss survivors in the Alliance of Hope community are reaching for strength right now. Many – especially those newer to loss – were already stressed, traumatized and grieving. Many have lost access to in-person support and counseling.

I along with all of you have been searching for ways to cope, steady myself, and serve in ways that comfort and empower. It was only today, when I looked back at other challenging times in my life, that I saw a way through for myself. I will share it with you and please know, I invite your insights and want to know how you are making it through.

I Am Counting Angels.

I am counting those who come forward in kindness, with love, and generosity. Those who offer to help or who extend a kind word or deed. I am focusing on how extraordinary human beings can be.

The first and only other time I have done this was 18 years ago when my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I wrote about it at the time – it is very personal to me, but I am glad to share it with you now:

“As I look back now, on my mother’s illness, I have realized that it was less than four weeks from the time she was officially diagnosed with pancreatic cancer until the time of her death. 

“My mother knew that her cancer was terminal. She received hospice services at the end of her life. Those last four weeks were both the worst of times and the best of times. They were the worst of times in that we bore witness to a cancer that robbed her of her strength and independence and eventually took her life. They were the best of times in that we bore witness and were able to participate in an extraordinary outpouring of love and kindness … from family, friends, neighbors, caregivers, and strangers. We sometimes said that we were ‘counting the angels landing around my mother,’ because that is how it felt.

“During those final weeks, my mother received many messages of love and acknowledgment from across the country as cards, phone calls, and unexpected visitors arrived daily. My mother was weak … too weak usually to visit or return a call … but my daughters and I told her of every message and read her every card. We told her of all the friends who were reminiscing about her good deeds to us. We told her about all the people who said that she had made a difference in their lives. We told her of the family members who called daily, who wanted to fly in to be with her, who offered money for her care if it was needed. And we told her how much we loved her.

“My mother was humble and surprised by ‘the fuss.’ I explained to her several times that the outpouring reflected the love that people had for her kindness and compassion. It reflected an appreciation for her life of service to others … and for her wisdom. She didn’t say much. She was weak. But do I believe that by the time she died, she realized how fully she was loved.”

Counting angels got me though that time of incredible loss. This too is a time of incredible loss and uncertainty, yet it is also a time in which the best of human beings is visible – if we look. I am going to focus on that. I can’t go far outside, but I can go deep within myself. I can seek to strengthen my own connection to the eternal and my ability to remain kind in difficult situations.

So, this is what I am doing. I hope you will share with me what you are doing, by leaving a comment on this post. Together, as a community born of loss and anchored in kindness, we are stronger.

Just Hold On

When we are within the throes of uncertainty sometimes all we can do is hold on. 

It might mean literally holding onto someone: someone close to you, someone dear to you, someone you love. Just hold on.

It might mean holding onto something tangible, something in front of you, something to hold you up and support you. Just hold on.

It might mean holding onto a feeling, an idea, a memory that sustains you. Recall it. Feel it. Just hold on. 

It might mean holding onto a friend, a confidant, a fellow traveler through the dark. Or maybe it’s holding onto spirits you see around you, angels you feel guiding you, or the Divine Spirit that is within you. Just hold on.

Holding on means something different, for each of us, depending on where we are, or what we are going through. Maybe it changes from stage to stage or day to day. No matter what it is, regardless of when it comes, when the grief overwhelms us, the night descends upon us, and the darkness comes calling – all that matters is we just hold on. 

There is always someone or something, somewhere to hold onto. So find it. Take hold of it. And hold on to it. Night always gives way to morning. Darkness always gives way to light. Your grief, as hard as it is to believe when you are in it, will eventually diminish and become bearable. Trust. Believe. Have faith. But for now it’s enough to hold on – so hold on.

Here is a beautiful poem to help you hold on.

Hold on to what is good,
even if it’s a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe,
even if it’s a tree that stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do,
even if it’s a long way from here.
Hold on to your life,
even if it’s easier to let go.
Hold on to my hand,
even if I’ve gone away from you.

–A Pueblo Indian Prayer

Rabbi B

About the Author

Rabbi B

Rabbi B

Rabbi Dr. Baruch HaLevi is Executive Director of Soul Centered, a center for loss, grief and healing, and author of, “Spark Seekers: Mourning with Meaning; Living with Light.” Spark Seekers details his journey in surviving the suicides of both his grandmother and father and having guided thousands of people from all religions, backgrounds, and beliefs through death’s darkness, back to life’s light.Read More »

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Meeting the Challenge Together in the Spirit of Compassion

I see the media as an institution that often thrives on creating fear. What sells newspapers? Bad news!! When was the last time you have watched the news or read a paper that was mostly about feel-good stories?

For this reason, I listen to the media with half an ear only. And I’ve long-gone learned to not be so much invested in the world and its beliefs. There are a whole lot of other things that we should be worried about but are never spoken of. This is the circle of life and we don’t have a whole lot of control over it.

Hopefully, these headlines will ease within a couple of months or so. In the meantime, take care of yourself, do what you need to do to be healthy, focus on the good because focusing on the fear will make you more inclined to get sick too.

I’d like to share with you something I read on Facebook this morning by Abdu Sharkawy. He wrote:

“I’m a doctor and an Infectious Diseases Specialist. I’ve been at this for more than 20 years seeing sick patients on a daily basis. I have worked in inner city hospitals and in the poorest slums of Africa. HIV-AIDS, Hepatitis, SARS, Measles, Shingles, Whooping cough, Diphtheria – there is little I haven’t been exposed to in my profession. And with notable exception of SARS, very little has left me feeling vulnerable, overwhelmed or downright scared.

“I am not scared of COVID-19. I am concerned about the implications of a novel infectious agent that has spread the world over and continues to find new footholds in different soil. I am rightly concerned for the welfare of those who are elderly, in frail health or disenfranchised who stand to suffer mostly, and disproportionately, at the hands of this new scourge. But I am not scared of COVID-19.

“What I am scared about is the loss of reason and wave of fear that has induced the masses of society into a spellbinding spiral of panic, stockpiling obscene quantities of anything that could fill a bomb shelter adequately in a post-apocalyptic world. I am scared of the N95 masks that are stolen from hospitals and urgent care clinics where they are actually needed for front line healthcare providers and instead are being donned in airports, malls, and coffee lounges, perpetuating even more fear and suspicion of others. I am scared that our hospitals will be overwhelmed with anyone who thinks they “probably don’t have it but may as well get checked out no matter what because you just never know…” and those with heart failure, emphysema, pneumonia and strokes will pay the price for overfilled ER waiting rooms with only so many doctors and nurses to assess.

“But mostly, I’m scared about what message we are telling our kids when faced with a threat. Instead of reason, rationality, open-mindedness and altruism, we are telling them to panic, be fearful, suspicious, reactionary and self-interested.

“COVID-19 is nowhere near over. It will be coming to a city, a hospital, a friend, even a family member near you at some point. Expect it. Stop waiting to be surprised further. The fact is the virus itself will not likely do much harm when it arrives. But our own behaviors and “fight for yourself above all else” attitude could prove disastrous.

“I implore you all. Temper fear with reason, panic with patience and uncertainty with education. We have an opportunity to learn a great deal about health hygiene and limiting the spread of innumerable transmissible diseases in our society. Let’s meet this challenge together in the best spirit of compassion for others, patience, and above all, an unfailing effort to seek truth, facts and knowledge as opposed to conjecture, speculation and catastrophizing.

“Facts not fear. Clean hands. Open hearts.”

About the Author

From Our Forum

From Our Forum

The Alliance of Hope online forum transcends time and distance, offering a culture of kindness, hope, and understanding to people who have lost loved ones to suicide. Operating like a 24/7 support group, our forum is supervised by a mental health professional and moderated by a trained team of loss survivors. Members can read and comment, share their stories, and connect with other suicide loss survivors.Read More »

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A Conversation About Suicide Loss

Alliance of Hope founder Ronnie Walker had the pleasure of speaking with Sherrie Dunlevy, host of The Grief Anonymous Podcast, and author of the book: “How Can I Help – Your Go-to Guide for Helping Loved Ones through Life’s Difficulties.” Following the loss of her son in 1999, Sherrie developed a profound commitment to those who are grieving.

Sherrie wanted to know what led Ronnie to launch the Alliance of Hope in 2008. They discussed common, as well lesser-known, aspects of the suicide grief experience, and resources for suicide loss survivors. We hope you will find some comfort and value in watching or listening to their conversation.

You can watch the video below, or listen to the podcast.

This New Life: Turning Back Toward Life

Survivors must deal with so very much in the months and years after the suicide of a loved one, but life still calls us to return from that private world of grief and mourning. At some point, I heard that call and began to answer.

In small, almost unnoticeable steps, I instinctively found that creating a comforting atmosphere made the hours a little easier to bear. In my bedroom, I put some artificial flowers in a vase, hung a couple of paper lanterns on the windows. Anything to create beauty soothed my soul. I couldn’t listen to music with words for a long time, but I found peace in classical and alternative (zen) recordings. I played this music in the car and when I was at home.

Staying away from the news and disturbing programs on television really made a difference. I visited the Alliance of Hope Community Forum a lot. Eventually, I returned to church, where I found great comfort in prayer and in being with friends who were not grieving.

Meditation, self-hypnosis MP3s, and yoga also brought a physical structure to my days. Simple stretching before bed and in the morning let my body feel nurtured. Water aerobics and massage sessions did the same thing. At different times, when I let these lapse, my health suffered. Even a soothing cup of afternoon herbal tea can make me feel better.

All of this self-care is part of grief, healing, and the unerring journey toward life and living. Each of these things directed me away from death. Sometimes that was painful because it made me feel that I was leaving my husband further and further behind. I felt as if I were losing him over and over again. This stretch of the road fell behind me at some point though as I moved forward to a new life that would develop around me, and as I realized the love we two had shared would never die. I could take it with me.

Jostled by the pace of this new life, I encountered other problems. How would I spend the next part of my life?

Who would I turn to? Loneliness gave way to pragmatism. Faucets had to be fixed. Grass grew too swiftly. Bills continued to arrive in the mailbox.

Well after I had taken care of issues surrounding my husband’s death, I learned that my grace period was over. I could no longer shelter under a cloud of grief. I had to face the real world and all its demands.

One step at a time, I waded through the tall reeds of everyday life. I went to work, dealt with home repairs, came home at the end of the day to an empty house, and felt again a sense of normalcy. I grew stronger. I fell down. I got back up. I explored my new world, made choices, changes, and decisions.

Each type of loss brings a unique set of problems.

For those like me who lost a spouse, the pain at seeing a loving couple holding hands may turn to wonder as we consider what life is left to us. Would there be another love for me? Did I want that? How would it happen? Could the emotional past be part of a new future?

Navigating life after loss to suicide is complicated. Whom do I tell? At what point? Can I start over? These questions remain unanswered for me, and there are others yet to be discovered. At the Alliance of Hope’s community forum, there is a section for those who are asking questions like this. It is called “Turning Back Into Life.” Here, survivors can talk about the issues they are facing. Once again, we find we are not alone.

No matter where you are on your grief journey, connecting with other survivors of suicide loss will help. Reaching out to others may be the hardest thing you’ve ever done, but it will be the best thing you can do for yourself.

I promise.

Imagine Thriving

It’s been almost a year since my sweet, handsome, loving, giving, funny, kind, and compassionate husband took his life from depression. The shock, fright, grief, confusion, and utter disbelief have been unlike any other. I have finally gotten to the point where I no longer shake every day.

I have given great thought as to how I want my life to proceed, and have come up with my own mantra: “IMAGINE THRIVING”

I ordered a necklace with those two simple, yet profound, words on it. It has two meanings for me. One is to imagine how those with mental illness could have possibly gone on to thrive if they had been willing to get help … if the stigma of this illness no longer existed … if more help had been available. The other meaning is personal. It is my goal: To thrive – not just to “survive this”.

Surviving is simply to bear the pain and exist. Thriving means to go beyond the pain and be better. I will thrive – not in spite of what happened – but because of it. I will flourish. It may take me a very long time, but that is my goal. I will take baby steps and inch forward day-by-day. This will not define my life, but enrich it. That is hard to imagine right now but with time will come acceptance, and hopefully peace.

I hope those two words can help others on this incredibly difficult path, to move forward with grace, dignity, and kindness. I have never met any of you but love all of you. You are playing such an incredible role in my healing.

About the Author

From Our Forum

From Our Forum

The Alliance of Hope online forum transcends time and distance, offering a culture of kindness, hope, and understanding to people who have lost loved ones to suicide. Operating like a 24/7 support group, our forum is supervised by a mental health professional and moderated by a trained team of loss survivors. Members can read and comment, share their stories, and connect with other suicide loss survivors.Read More »

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Am I a Widow?

I have been contemplating what it means to be a widow a lot recently. Society has a very definitive idea of what that word means. We visualize a grieving woman who was married to the man who died. For me to claim that status with the government, he and I must have stood in front of someone with proper authority, signed a document and then filed it with them. But, is that what makes someone your husband? Is that truly what would define me as a widow? The more I think about it, the more I believe, “No, it doesn’t.”

Twenty-one years with the same man, does that make me a widow?

For the first few months, I didn’t use that word. I’ve used it a few times, but I’ve felt bad using it. I felt I was somehow cheating the women who were “actually” married. Then it occurred to me that a woman could be married for six months and still be considered a widow. Not that her grief would be less, but is that more important than my 21 years? Should it be, just because we didn’t sign a piece of paper?

Many, many years ago I declared my love for him first. He was young and headstrong and a bit of a misogynist…well at least he didn’t like certain types of women and most women seemed to fall under that umbrella. It took him longer to say the words. I think he felt them but was scared because he didn’t trust me. He had to be sure I wasn’t one of “those” women. I remember the first time he said those words to me. We were lying in bed talking and he said he had something he wanted to tell me and wanted to make sure I was focused on what he wanted to say. He put one hand on the side of my face and looked me in the eye and said, “I love you.” In that moment my world froze. My blood pressure must have shot through the roof when my heart stopped beating for a moment because when it started again all I could hear was the blood rushing through my veins. And then he kissed me.

So when I think of that moment and every other moment since then. More “I love you’s” than I can count or remember. Arguing, laughing, making plans for the future, talking for hours even after two decades and you’d think we’d have nothing left to say, moments when we didn’t have to say anything, cooking him dinner, him taking care of me because I was sick or had surgery, him bringing me a present and looking like a 5-year-old on Christmas morning waiting for me to open it, reading the newspaper together, him saving coupons for me, him teasing me about how I use the words “actually” or “purchase,” him showing me every video he could find about Led Zeppelin, dancing, beer, motorcycles and so many other things I could never possibly fit on this page.

Am I allowed to use that word? Because I still feel guilty when I use it. I feel like I’m lying to people, but what other word describes my loss or our relationship? When I say he was my fiancé, people look at me like it’s not as important, but I feel the need to follow it up with how long we were together because I don’t think they really got it, and then their expression changes and suddenly what I’ve said seems to mean more.

Is it a lie? Am I breaking some rule when I say that I’m a widow?

I’d like to know from the other widows and widowers…does it count? Does it offend you when I say I’m a widow and technically I’m not?

About the Author

From Our Forum

From Our Forum

The Alliance of Hope online forum transcends time and distance, offering a culture of kindness, hope, and understanding to people who have lost loved ones to suicide. Operating like a 24/7 support group, our forum is supervised by a mental health professional and moderated by a trained team of loss survivors. Members can read and comment, share their stories, and connect with other suicide loss survivors.Read More »

8 Comments on Am I a Widow?

A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

A picture popped up on my Facebook memories today – my most commented-on photo of 2011. It was me and my oldest son, at the top of a ski run in Northstar, taken on this day eight years ago.

I decided to share it to my timeline with the simple caption: “8 years ago… crazy how time flies.”

But then I felt the urge to share a little more so that people would understand what that photo really means to me.

I added the comment: “Some may not realize that this picture was taken just days after our first Christmas without Chad. 6 months post-loss. We were in Reno visiting family and spent a day skiing at Northstar. At that time, I was doing anything and everything to prove to the kids, and to myself, that our lives were not ruined. Memories of that time are a blur, but I do vividly remember stepping off the chair lift and smiling for this photo. To see it pop up on my FB memories today, as I sit here pondering the fact that this decade is almost over…. Surreal.”

I don’t know why I am suddenly open to sharing more. I participate here on the Alliance of Hope forum, but other than that, I rarely share publicly about my grief. There are many new friends and acquaintances who may have never heard me say something so personal.

I think my desire to open up could be because I feel like I’m at a turning point. I don’t know exactly when, and I especially don’t know how, but I feel like I will be starting a new phase of my life soon.

The kids are growing up. I am actively trying to start dating. Within the next couple of years, I will likely have an empty nest. I’m closing out my 40s.

The fact that this turning point comes at the end of the biggest decade of change I have ever experienced; I guess that’s fitting.

This decade began with huge changes. I started my teaching career in 2010. Lost my husband in 2011. And have spent the better part of the entire decade learning to survive and trying to thrive. I’ve celebrated accomplishments and rallied from setbacks.

In many ways, I feel like I am indeed stepping off the chair lift; as if I’ve been working my way up a mountain the past eight years. Except it hasn’t been an effortless ride; spent sitting in my chair, swinging my feet, admiring the views. I’ve weathered storms that would rival a blizzard. There have been times when I felt like the chair stopped and I had to pull myself, hand over hand, up the side of the mountain.

But I’m at the top now. I know it’s not the end of the journey. But, I’m ready to ski down this run and enjoy it. I’ll have to get back on the lift again. Ascend the mountain, again and again.

But for now, I’m stepping off the lift and smiling for a photo. It’s time to look at the beautiful landscape, appreciate the people around me, and enjoy the wind in my face as I glide down the slope.

About the Author

From Our Forum

From Our Forum

The Alliance of Hope online forum transcends time and distance, offering a culture of kindness, hope, and understanding to people who have lost loved ones to suicide. Operating like a 24/7 support group, our forum is supervised by a mental health professional and moderated by a trained team of loss survivors. Members can read and comment, share their stories, and connect with other suicide loss survivors.Read More »

3 Comments on A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

Words That Trouble Me Now

Since my husband passed away, certain words are like ticking time bombs to me. There are many words that set me off.

For starters, now I hate the word “expired.” I work in a nursing home and they use it there. Expired is what eggs or milk do when they spoil and go bad. My husband was far from spoiling or going bad. 29-year old’s are not rotten food.

And the word “late.” I got a call last week regarding my late husband. What the heck was so late about him? He died way too early. There wasn’t a late thing about it. That was the 1st and so far, the only time, I’ve heard him referred to that way, but it struck me hard.

I also now hate the word “beloved.” Why is someone who has passed beloved? Like it’s past tense. Like they aren’t loved anymore. I still love my husband more than anything. I will never say that I loved him as if I no longer do. He’s still with me in some way, shape, or form. His physical body may not be here, but he will always be alive to me.

I have problems with the word “deserve.” I’m trying to move on with my young boys as best I can. When we have plans or go somewhere, we are told that we deserve it. And that I deserve to be happy. To me, you deserve credit when you work hard on a school paper or work assignment. This is not something I wanted to work on. This is not something I’m doing because I want recognition. I’m not moving on because I deserve to. I’m moving on because I have my little boys and I must.

The last word I will mention is “surprise.” The word used to have good connotations for me. Surprise parties. Surprises for my children. A happy unexpected event. But now, the word is tainted. After my husband passed, I got surprises that made me cry. Mail in his name. Mail addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Cards or gifts from people out of the blue. Songs on the radio that set me off. It seemed I was always getting a surprise that ruined an otherwise good day. Surprises sent me right back down to the bottom. Never thought of surprises as a bad thing. Now they are.

About the Author

From Our Forum

From Our Forum

The Alliance of Hope online forum transcends time and distance, offering a culture of kindness, hope, and understanding to people who have lost loved ones to suicide. Operating like a 24/7 support group, our forum is supervised by a mental health professional and moderated by a trained team of loss survivors. Members can read and comment, share their stories, and connect with other suicide loss survivors.Read More »

1 Comment on Words That Trouble Me Now

Survivor’s Anonymous

I have been thinking a lot about Alcoholics Anonymous. Well, that is to say, I have been watching reruns of the show “Mom” (which is a great show by the way) and that got me thinking that AA and grief support have a lot in common.

Alcoholics may come to rehab thinking, “If I just kick this habit, I’ll be o.k.” But the ones who have lasting recovery come to realize that they will never be cured. Instead, they will always be in recovery.

The same can be said for suicide loss survivors. We heal and our lives grow around our grief, but I believe we will always be in recovery.

Most grief groups are geared for the newly bereaved and in the beginning, grief is physically and emotionally overwhelming. It takes intense courage, commitment, and support to get through the initial phase of grief. Just like in rehab or detox.

As a moderator on the Alliance of Hope forum, I relate to the newly bereaved because I have been there. I remember. I offer hope that healing can and will happen. I am living proof. In AA, I would be a sponsor.

But even sponsors need support. They are still in recovery but need a different kind of support than the person in detox or the one who is receiving their 30-day chip.

Watching “Mom,” I noticed that people in the meetings talk about fighting the urge to drink for different reasons. The most common challenges mentioned involve the trials and tribulations of life – the troublesome times. And the characters on the show know they need support to make it through these times without drinking. They have a saying when life’s troubles strike: “I need a meeting.”

Life’s trials and tribulations can thrust survivors into a grief wave. For me, the most common trigger is something breaking down around the house. The toilet is running – and suddenly I am sobbing over my dead husband’s picture. I suppose an alcoholic might have the same dilemma. The toilet is running – and suddenly they have the urge to drink.

I have been worrying that I am viewing life through the lens of my husband’s suicide. Actually, I’ve been kind of beating myself up over it. Telling myself that I am “stuck” in grief.

But I’m beginning to realize, I am not stuck. I’m in recovery. I will always be in recovery.

When the toilet is running, or the A/C needs repair, or one of my children is experiencing a milestone – I need a meeting. That’s when I come to the AOH forum.

The only problem is that I am afraid to go on the forum and share authentically because I don’t want to frighten new survivors. I don’t want to comment on one thread about how there is hope for going beyond surviving, and then turn around and post another thread about how I am feeling sad over anything – from the stupid running toilet to the fact that I am terrified of growing old alone.

It is hard to admit that after 8 years, I still grieve.

So, I come to the forum and support others, but I don’t really share. I am like the recovering alcoholic sponsor, who is at the meeting to be there for others but doesn’t admit when I need support.

I saw a rerun episode of “Mom” recently where the character Marjorie, who is a long-term recovering alcoholic and sponsor of many, was struggling. Her own sponsor, sober for 40 years, had relapsed and started drinking. Marjorie’s husband had a stroke. She was overwhelmed with caring for him. She felt old and invisible, had a meltdown at a grocery store and an argument with a good friend.

Marjorie stood up at a meeting and shared her frustration and heartache. She admitted that if she were new to AA, the things that were happening to her would have been a reason to call her sponsor, but she didn’t have one. She said, “Even an old-timer like me needs to remember that you can’t do this alone.”

All the other people at the meeting, most of whom had far fewer years of sobriety than Marjorie, were moved by her share. They weren’t frightened or upset to hear that a long-term recovering alcoholic was still struggling.

That is where AA has done an excellent job of getting an important message out there. Even people who are not alcoholics know that alcoholism is a life-long disease and an alcoholic will never be cured, but always will be in recovery.

Grief recovery has not evolved to that level of public awareness yet. We are still surprised that people grieve after years of survival. When I was new to the forum, in that detox stage, I would have panicked over a post from an 8-year survivor still suffering from grief.

No, grief is not a disease like alcoholism. Grief is UNIVERSAL. Not everyone on the planet will suffer from the disease of chemical dependency or alcoholism. But everyone will grieve, because no one lives forever. Every person will likely lose someone important to them at some point in their lives.

So, it is crucial that we realize that grief is a life-long recovery process. And that we are not afraid to ask for help, no matter how long we have been surviving, or how many people we have encouraged.

I need to realize that it’s OK to share. No matter how long I have survived or how many people I have “sponsored,” even an old-timer like me needs to remember that I can’t do this alone.

Triggers, from the profound to the mundane, will come along and a grief wave will wash over me. I will need to call my sponsor. I will need a meeting. I will need to raise my hand and say, “I am Shelby, and I am a survivor.”

Halloween is Coming

After my husband died, it was terribly hard to look at anything to do with Halloween. Even just driving to work I couldn’t avoid it all. We had enjoyed a mildly scary holiday with our children as they grew up, but in the aftermath of suicide, death had new meaning. I felt the decorated yards, gruesome costumes and other things were just cruel, and they caused me fresh pain. Many of you probably feel the same way right about now.

It has been eleven years, and I have two little grandsons now, ages 2 and 4. It seems easier this year. Most of what we do is related to the harvest time of year. But this weekend there were jack-o-lanterns with lopsided grins on the front steps again, fake spider webs draped along my walls, and superheroes handing out candy at “trunk or treat.” There was music and laughter and candlelight set against the first leaves changing colors. And cupcakes.

As I watched the cutest Wonder-woman and the kindest Hulk decorate their car trunk in the sunny field, a little Batman hoisted a super-size Batman balloon three times his size and carried it here and there. Spiderman climbed into the open hatchback and declared he wanted to give out the candy while his counterpart balloon settled on the grass and nodded sagely with the breeze.

Truth be told, he and little Batman ate quite a bit of the sweet stuff as they dropped great handfuls into bags and plastic pumpkins. But there they were, an Alliance of Four. Yet another sign that life would find a way to go on. They were continuing their daily routine, creating a family, which is their strongest superpower, adding adventure, tucking in memories around the corners, building trust and love and hope brick by brick.

They wore their real identities that day. Maybe no one else knew what superheroes they really are, but I did. How much it took to finish college when all seemed lost, how many times a text or call came in “just to check” on mom, what power had to be harnessed to raise little humans and go to work without sleep when going on had so many reminders of going back.

Going on is terribly hard for a while. A long while. But there is still a good life to be lived, just like there are still good memories. And those things like candlelight and music and cupcakes will be sweet again. At the center of our lives is still the one we lost. Always present. Always loved. Always an influence for good.

How do you go on?

About the Author


Jan McDaniel

Jan McDaniel volunteers as an Alliance of Hope forum moderator, manager, and blog content provider. She is also a regular contributor to Psych Central’s World of Psychology blog and writes about survival, connection, and hope on her website.Read More »

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Imperceptible Change

“The coming and going of the seasons give us more than the springtimes, summers, autumns, and winters of our lives. It reflects the coming and going of the circumstances of our lives like the glassy surface of a pond that shows our faces radiant with joy or contorted with pain.” ~Gary Zukav

As summer draws to a close here in Illinois, I note with sadness that the flowers in my garden are beginning to wither and die. Cooler days are coming, leaves are going to turn and then drop and before too long, winter will be here again. Each day, I note that something in my garden is a little bit different in color or texture.  I notice subtle, almost imperceptible changes. 

These changes are very different than the abrupt and traumatic loss experienced by survivors of suicide. Survivors are faced with shocking news that alters their world and shatters the foundation of life as they knew it. In the beginning, it is very difficult to process such abrupt, life-altering loss. Things seem surreal. We cannot believe our loved one has gone. We struggle, trying to absorb and make sense of what has happened. 

Our brains are wired to store shocking information.

Most survivors store vivid memories of the moment in which they learned their loved one died. Years later, they can still tell you where they were standing, what they were doing, and who was with them at the exact moment the news arrived. 

We are not wired, however, to note the very subtle changes that occur in and around us all the time. And for the most part, life is a series of continuous small changes. The paint on our walls, for example, grows imperceptibly darker and more worn each day, until at some point, after several years, we note it is time to repaint. Our freshly cleaned house grows messier and dirtier little by little until suddenly, we note it is time to clean again. 

Little by little, things die down. On the flip side, most things come into existence slowly and sometimes, almost imperceptibly. The seed grows into a flower in incremental steps that are often not noticed until the bloom springs open. 

The healing that survivors experience following the loss of their loved one is often not noticed. 

it is a series of imperceptible changes, accomplishments, and triumphs. Many times survivors feel stuck. They don’t believe they are healing or moving forward. It is important for those who are further along to provide reassurance.  

We can learn more about the grief journey from Elizabeth Harper Neeld.

The emotions and challenges faced by survivors on the journey are as varied as the colors in nature. Yet there are commonalities. Elizabeth Harper Neeld has done an extraordinary job of describing phases of the traumatic grief journey – from the original impact of the traumatic event to the eventual integration of the loss. You can find excerpts from her work on the Alliance of Hope website.

Those who check out Neeld’s work will note that she delineates identifiable phases and commonly shared experiences on the grief journey, but no timetable for grief. That is because there is no timetable for healing – and no right way or wrong way to grieve. 

As we head into a new season,  my thoughts are with our entire extraordinary, survivor community. Let us look to each other for understanding and support as we travel forward – remembering always, that kindness matters.


When Survivors Discuss Suicide Prevention

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month – a time when many organizations and media outlets share warning signs, resources, and inspirational messages. Some of those messages tell us that “Suicide is Preventable.” Some organizations go as far as to say that “Suicide is 100% Preventable.”  

Suicide loss survivors tell me they view “prevention” campaigns with mixed feelings. While everyone wants suicide to be preventable, many feel that assertion is unrealistic, or overly simplistic, because it is not at all in line with the reality of what they experienced. Many say that prevention messages leave them feeling guilty, upset and fearful of being judged – as if they “dropped the ball” and hence their loved one died.

Over time, I’ve realized how many loss survivors feel alone with these thoughts. They suffer in silence, reluctant to share their own experience in the face of large-scale campaigns led by mental health experts. And they don’t want to criticize a campaign that just might do some good.

Recently a survivor on the Alliance of Hope Forum asked other members for their thoughts on the “Suicide is Preventable” campaign. The responses she received from other survivors reflected a variety of experiences and opinions. Here are just a few:

The Original Question:

MMaryAnne:  “I drove past my local hospital today. They have a large electronic sign out on the corner. Every two weeks or so they change the message. Today it said, “Suicide is Preventable” and provided the suicide hotline number. What do we think about this?”

“It’s Too Simplistic”

Rainy:  “Ugh to the slogan. Bottom line – they mean well but have obviously never lost a loved one to suicide. Far too simplistic.”

CherylD:  “I think different people will have different perspectives on this. Personally, I think it can be (preventable) – but not always. The answer depends on the individual situation.” 

“It’s Preventable Only if Someone Shows a Sign”

Chloe’sMom:  “I believe suicide is preventable “ONLY” if someone shows a sign. …My daughter did not show any signs. In fact, the night she died by suicide we had watched our favourite soap together and made plans for me to go with her on her next flight to China (she was a flight attendant). She had even made plans that very same day to go on vacation with her best friend and lastly had ordered my birthday gift online … bought some clothes … so many things yet not one little sign. So yes, it is preventable in certain circumstances but not in mine. I understand and agree that for most of us this “slogan” makes us feel like we have failed as parents. I prefer to think that my husband and I gave ourselves, our love and our time unreservedly to Chloe. The fact remains that suicide is a consequence of mental illness. There will be some who survive and some who won’t just like cancer.” 

Jay14:  “These campaigns oversimplify suicide. … I think it’s well-intended to raise suicide awareness and create hope. However, not all cases are preventable. If someone is seriously considering it, they will likely make every effort to conceal their plan. And even if some people do show some “signs” – even if we knew what to look for – the signs often don’t sink in. The possibility of a loved one ending their life, is not even a remote reality for most people, until it happens, even if they’ve had previous attempts. It’s just so painful and out of this world …”

“It Requires a Societal Effort”

Tigerlily:  “It should say: ‘Suicide, it’s preventable if you’re willing to vote to increase spending for research on physical and psychological causes and creating the infrastructure needed to treat those in danger – if we are willing to remake our culture into one that works for the betterment of all people and that cares for all the disabilities of our citizens before it cares for the padding of our bank accounts – and that would rather open the door and let light into the dark room than to let someone suffer in it alone.’ Then, maybe then, some of them will be preventable. But none of us can do any of these things on our own. It’s preventable only as a societal effort.”

“It’s Unsettling to Read”

Malia 1230:  “Seeing those words makes me feel so guilty and utterly worthless as a mother. Those words, in my mind, substantiate what a horrible mother I am and that I should have known and been able to save my daughter! I do hope that other parents and loved ones are able to save their children and prevent more suicides from happening.”

AlwaysMissYou:  “I’m finding this campaign very hard. … I lost my husband to suicide four months ago. … it makes me feel cold and sick in the pit of my stomach when I read ‘suicide is preventable’ because I think: ‘It’s my fault, I let him down. I could have prevented this if I’d been better, more loving, more listening, more empathetic, I didn’t do well enough, I didn’t prevent this’. — Then I can’t stand the pain of that thought process so I start on all the reasons that it may not have been preventable, ‘his childhood wasn’t my fault, if he’d been able to say something different to me perhaps I could have been different, could have understood more, how could I understand something when he wasn’t verbalizing it to me, the doctors didn’t listen, they couldn’t balance his meds right, etc. etc.’. … it’s really tough to read ‘Suicide is Preventable.’” 

“It Makes Me Angry”

Always4Hope :  “I think it is a waste of funding. Awareness yes. Preventable no. There was nothing to prevent what happened to my son. Nothing. And I am so sick of the saying it is preventable. The a-holes do not even know what happens. They all have thousands of theories or drugs to prescribe but when it comes down to it. They do not know. Sorry, this anger is not directed at you or anyone. I just think it is pathetic to say suicide prevention. Give me a break.  Ok rant over – truly wishing peace.”

Stay Gold:  “As a newly bereaved mother, I find the campaign offensive & repulsive. It places the responsibility on family members and those who are about to take their lives. We obviously would have done something if our loved ones expressed their intentions … and our loved ones were obviously not in their right states of mind so how/why would they have the foresight to find & call a hotline number. We (the survivors) are the ones that need resources! If half the money that was spent on campaigns & training was allotted to us (an at-risk demographic) then there could be meaningful enhancements to the quality of life. Fewer people would drop out of society if we had more support … this would mean less unemployment or social welfare benefits. … I don’t even want to get started with the cost/benefit analysis. I’m an Economics professor so I could talk all day about the impact on society.” 

In Summary … 

It becomes obvious when reading the comments above or listening to loss survivors, that the “Suicide is Preventable” campaign, though aimed at increased awareness and reduction of suicide, also triggers guilt, frustration and even anger for many loss survivors. And the consensus seems to be that public health campaigns oversimplify the matter – leading us to think in simplistic ways. Suicide is a complex problem with no easy answers. It’s possible to prevent sometimes — but not always