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Why the Forum Can Make a Difference Years On
Grief Journey, Tips from Survivors

Why the Forum Can Make a Difference Years On

As a committed but sometimes distant member of the Alliance of Hope Forum for suicide loss survivors, I wanted to share for those on the journey why – years later – it still supports and helps when you let it, simply because it reminds you of where the new you began.

My best friend of the time and dearest holder of my heart passed from suicide in 2012. That heart was bespoke to him. We created it together. His departure caused a level of trauma I have never been able to adequately express, no matter whom I spoke to or what words I used.

It broke me so profoundly that years later, I still wonder how it did not strike me down dead. It had a relentless intensity that I hear every time I open a fellow traveler’s post about their fresh or enduring hell-ride. I feel their desperation and disbelief in every word typed. Sometimes I hold their words with ease and care. Sometimes they overwhelm me, and I need a little break. Then poof – life takes over again – and I forget the power given and received by supporting someone in their darkest hour matters.

I found my way back to the forum last night, after a few months of life taking over my connection with what really matters. I have been unable to visit and support this incredible community consistently for a while. Life and circumstance manhandled my time and space and challenged my ability to prioritize the things I learned during the first four years of my grief journey – but I awoke this morning and prioritized checking in here rather than busy bee off to work and exercise and everything else … mainly because I wanted to say “thank you” to the community and all those who energize it.

I woke up remembering that breathing slowly and rhythmically is the secret to me staying present and centered – it keeps me resilient and strong.
I woke up remembering that telling those you love that you hear them and holding their space rather than advising them what you think they should do and or how they should experience it matters in a way that we can easily forget.
I woke up remembering that being heard and validated matters more than any advice or opinion.
I woke up remembering that a flower in nature, a sunbeam, a kind word, or a gentle smile eases deep pain even for a fleeting moment … and let’s be honest, there are times that a fleeting movement can feel everlasting.
I woke up remembering that we can make friends and find judgment free arms from strangers even when we feel we are so very undeserving.
And I woke up remembering that what really, truly, and deeply matters is how we learn to be when we walk through hell and come out the other side.

I was able to be late for work today because what mattered was saying to anyone here that needs it, “It’s okay to feel _____ today.” What mattered was me thanking my friends here for standing by my side always, and what mattered was telling my mum and dad how much I appreciate and love them because they breathe. My life is a happier place this morning because I was able to remember and prioritize what really matters today because of being here on the Alliance of Hope forum for a while.

You will always need support – healthy, happy, sad, broken, and sometimes when all feels stable and plodding. Support means we allow ourselves to receive magic in order to provide magic to someone else. Try to always help someone in need because it is the universe allowing someone else’s prayers and dreams to fulfill themselves – energy is magic, and positive magic is what keeps us breathing. I wish you a day of constant magic.

About the Author

Heidi Botterill

Heidi lost her long-time love and partner from the consequences of suicide in 2012. She found and joined the Alliance of Hope 18 months after. It was a lifeline with folks who understood what a dark and difficult path it was to walk. Now, with some time under her belt she offers thoughts and a shoulder to lean on for those walking the same path. The experience changed her and her life irrevocably, once a survivor of this, always a champion for those who are forced to navigate their way through it.Read More »