picturedad

As human beings, we make assumptions on a regular basis.  When we walk outside and see dark clouds, we assume it is going to rain.  So, we grab an umbrella to protect us from getting wet.  Our assumptions are based on our own beliefs.  They are shaped by our past experiences.  They help us make sense out of this world.   While one might assume that assumptions can often make grief after suicide even more complicated as we survivors search for the meaning of suicide, I have found comfort in my assumptions.  How can assumptions help us heal? With any long-term relationship comes assumptions.  Whether it is a parent, child, sibling, aunt/uncle, friend or spouse, we assume we understand the other person.  In reality, however, we can only know another person by  what they allow […]

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Coping with Halloween as a Survivor of Suicide

We’re days out from one of the darker holidays of the year, when visual and audible reminders of death are prevalent throughout our communities. Coping with Halloween as a survivor of suicide can be difficult. Non-survivors have no idea how their graveyard displays or costumes impact us. One of our more popular posts from the past year was one I shared last October on this topic (click here to read it). I thought it might be helpful to revisit the tips I shared on how I got through it. This year, I don’t plan to dress up or decorate our house. If anything, I may set out a bowl of candy and encourage the neighborhood kids to help themselves until it’s gone. I’m also not one for scary movies. What advice would you share with new survivors […]

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How we Talk about Suicide

Last Week, Becky wrote about “Dying with Dignity” in which she discussed suicide in the media. The story that I’ve read about most recently was the 29-year old, Brittany Maynard, who is terminally ill, and has decided to end her life on November 1st. It was all over my social media feed and was even discussed last week with my friend Megan, who is also a survivor of suicide.  As a survivor, it is difficult not to be impacted by suicide in the media. Megan brought up to me her frustration about how the media gets to pick and choose these stories as either heroic (like Brittany), or insanely negative, such as the story of the man who set fire to the Chicago Airports air traffic control room (and then attempted to take his own life). […]

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able to choose when they die

The topic of dying with dignity or choosing an “end date” in life has inspired a couple of viral articles this week. This can be troublesome for survivors of suicide. Technically, no one chooses how and when they enter this world, but once they are here, it’s unsettling that anyone would want to pinpoint the timing in which they leave. I first came across an article about a sports reporter who made a calculated, year-long decision to end his life on his 60th birthday. He went through the trouble of building a website to share with his family, which outlined the rationale for his decision, the details on how he would take his life and what he wanted them to do after the fact. Among his many points, he explained that he wanted to go out on […]

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Contagious

I previously wrote about suicide contagion in my post, “Is Suicide Contagious.”  I wanted to revisit the topic, as I believe it is a real concern for those who have lost a loved one to suicide as they often ask themselves if their lives will end in the same manner as their loved ones. Shortly after the death of actor/comedian, Robin Williams, the NY Times published an article, “The Science Behind Suicide Contagion.”  In the article, the author notes the rise in suicide rates after a high profile suicide, with our youth being the most vulnerable.  It has been proven that how the media reports a suicide is a major predictor in future suicide rates.  So, what about contagion within the family tree?  Does suicide in the family make you more vulnerable to suicide?  It is a question […]

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Our Side of Suicide

In my ongoing quest to seek comfort and support in the wake of losing my dad to suicide, I have continued to explore various forms of “alternative” therapies. My latest experiment was with hypnotherapy. Living in Chicago, I am always amused by the variety of resources available to people. There’s literally something for everyone and I recently discovered a hypnotherapist across the street from work. Granted, I initially explored this idea for another reason (dealing with sleep disruptions caused by city noise), but the topic of suicide found its way into the conversation. When people think of hypnosis, the image of a hypnotist waving a pocket watch in front of a sleepy patient comes to mind. While I didn’t really know what to expect from my first session, this visual couldn’t have been further from […]

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why-1

WHY is grieving a suicide so complicated?  WHY is it so difficult to move on after losing a loved one to suicide?  WHY does it shatter your world?  Yes, I meant to capitalize every single letter in the word WHY.  Why?  Because, the questions we have, the desire to fill in the blanks, the need to complete the puzzle, often prohibit us from moving forward in the aftermath of suicide as we constantly ask ourselves, “WHY did our loved one end their life?” I do not know a single person who is comfortable with the unknown.  Uncertainty is unsettling.  It is human nature to have difficulty accepting what we do not understand.  We need answers.  We need to understand.  This desire to understand begins early in life, as children drive their parents crazy constantly asking, […]

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