“Ideologies separate us. Dreams and anguish bring us together.” ~Eugene Ionesco
I thought about the New Year and realized I, and probably most of us, don’t measure time on a standard calendar. Our reference date is the day of our loved one’s suicide. We also think of life as “before” and “after” that most horrific day.
It was, for each of us, a day of inconceivable anguish and the likely end of future dreams as we knew them. It was a day we replay over and over in our minds as though each piercing detail were etched onto our brains.
Whatever we believed before, we question. Whatever kind of life we had imagined, we ache, physically and emotionally, once wrenched away.
Many survivors begin to question their faith, for example. “How could a loving God do this?” Some question our mental health system regarding a perceived inadequacy for truly understanding and helping suicidal people. We question whether we were “good enough” mothers or fathers or husbands or wives or siblings or relatives or friends.
The day the dreams were brutally shattered was the day we came together in anguish, regardless of exactly when each of us found the Alliance of Hope Forum. Grief does not exist in a vacuum. We are and will remain travelers together on a most difficult path.
In time, however, the words of one can begin to sound exactly like another is feeling. A post about something funny or touching brings a small, but meaningful smile. Holding the anguish of someone else for even a few minutes lightens his or her burden and strengthens our own fragile sense of humanity. We learn to allow ourselves to let in the light of others who have been on the journey longer and who may have a strategy to temper the anguish with triumphs. Different dreams are born out of renewed hope.
It is perfectly fine if a person simply wants to read the posts and not respond until he or she is ready, or ever. Empathy knows no constraints nor does it incur a debt.
The Alliance of Hope is a place of miracles where personal ideologies are put aside temporarily for the greater good. It is a place where the deepest longings of the soul are revealed. It is a place of anguish, but it is equally a place where someone will respond to the loudest and also, the faintest pleas for an understanding ear. Survivors are united by anguish and dreams as well as by overwhelming human kindness offered every day and nearly every moment to friends and strangers alike.
That is an incredible ideology, perhaps a little separate in a way from the mainstream, but somehow making us stronger as one hand holds the next and one heart reaches out to another.