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The number of suicides among veterans and active duty military personnel is unfortunately staggering. We know several readers have experienced the loss of a loved one during or after their time of service but have not yet touched on this unique perspective. We are extremely appreciative of guest blogger Katherine, particularly heading into this holiday weekend, for sharing about her beloved boyfriend, Shane, mere weeks into her grief journey. Katherine’s Reflections on Becoming A Survivor “Suicide is complicated. As with the level of complexity and pain that dwells within those who complete suicide, survivors are left with a sea of emotions that are impenetrable. Sometimes I do not know which way is up or down and if this is reality or a horrible nightmare. Well, the reality of this is being a survivor is MY new […]

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suicide grief attacks

I think society has led us to believe that crying is a sign of weakness.  If we still cry, we must not have moved forward since losing our loved one to suicide.  I lost my dad three and a half years ago, almost exactly to the day.  I still cry.  A song will come on the radio, a memory will surface, a holiday will pass, and I will be reminded that my dad is no longer here.  Tears will fall, and sadness will overcome me.  Does this mean that I haven’t been able to move forward?  Does this mean I just took a step back?  No.  It means that I am allowing myself to feel, and allowing myself to heal.  I do not expect these moments of sadness to ever go away, and to be […]

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celebrating birthdays after death

“The life of the party…” It’s a phrase I’ve heard many survivors use when describing a loved one lost to suicide. I frequently say the same thing about my dad; he could take over a room with his jokes, he had a contagious belly laugh and he was known for his quick wit. In addition to breathing life into a party, he often planned them. We celebrated big things, little things and everything in between – from half birthdays to good grades. For my wedding reception, my dad went out and got a bunch of cigars for attendees to enjoy in celebratory fashion. On his birthday, he would stop at a bakery to pick up éclairs for co-workers. When the Milwaukee Brewers resumed another season of Spring Training, he held a themed party in their […]

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Here in Chicago, we experience a number of dreary days.  Especially during the winter months.  I wake up thinking, “When will I ever see the sun again?!”  The first few months, even years following a loss by suicide can feel like living without sunshine.  Every task seems impossible.  But just like the Chicago winter, the rain and gloom does pass, and the sun does shine again.

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Celebrating Father’s Day without dad can be difficult for those who have lost a father to suicide. I still feel this sense of sadness when I visit the dreaded card aisle at our local pharmacy. As I pick out the cards for the fathers in my life, I am quickly reminded that there is one card I will not be purchasing. I have found this holiday to be particularly difficult. Not necessarily because my father is not here to celebrate, but because I am not able to be selfish. While I would love to do what I need to do to get through the day, I have to remind myself that today isn’t about me. It’s about all of the fathers’ in my life; my husband, my stepfather and my father-in-law. Becky and I have […]

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memorial tattoos

Guest blogger Michelle is back this week with a sentimental post about the way in which she and her son Alec have honored Marcus with memorial tattoos. “My life now is broken up into before and after I lost my 17-year-old son, Marcus, to suicide. (Read my initial post about my family’s loss here.) Before, I would never have dreamt I would get a tattoo. In my view then, people who had tattoos rode Harleys, smoked cigarettes (and other stuff), wore jackets with the sleeves ripped off, were young 20-something’s with multiple body piercings or were in the military. I could not fathom putting something permanent on my body–what if I didn’t like it a few years down the road? My husband and I were so anti-tattoo that we told our kids that if they wanted […]

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Forward

In the aftermath of a loss by suicide, it is difficult to see any progress you have made.  You may still cry, and you may still feel sadness, anger or pain.  Does this mean you haven’t began to move forward?  No.  Moving forward doesn’t look the same for everyone.  I recently spoke with a man who lost his wife to suicide a few years back.  She was his first and only love.  He talked about how his friends and family kept telling him that he needed to, “move on.”  For them this meant dating again.  He doesn’t have a desire to date.  Not because he hasn’t moved forward, but because he just doesn’t have a desire or a need to.  He asked, “when will I move on.”  We talked about all that he has done […]

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