Today’s post is an email from a suicide survivor a few Oceans away.
I am so pleased because as you will read, she’s in; meaning even though she is on the other side of the world, she is nevertheless going to help us with organizing the Fair.
And do you know what? So can you, lives are at stake!
Thank you Rayofsunshine, I mean (((((((THANK YOU)))))
When you asked, I was undecided bc of the circumstances of my family. But since then interesting things have been happening. I have been treading carefully; individually “talking story”, as we would say here in xxxxx, with my family members. Two of my 7 surviving children have taken the initiative on their own to disclose how their brother died. My daughter matter of factly told a church acquaintance she met while working when he asked how my son died. My sixth child was the one who gave the speech in his college class about the causes and effects of suicide. He disclosed that he was a survivor of suicide and how that affected him and our family. I am still in the process of talking with each child. Some things take time…
But for me what has been pivotal has been the Asist Training I just completed. It added more reasons to the reasons I have already been accumulating that we, families and communities, need to talk about suicide and help our families and communities talk about it to create suicide-safer communities. I wrote in one blog post how much greater love and compassion I have for my son and for those who interacted with him. Love and compassion for my son because even though there was a part of him that thought of dying; he also wanted to live. He was ambivalent. It’s really obvious from his journal entries. He tried to talk about it but those who talked with him didn’t know how best to respond. That really stands out to me about his death. He talked with so many people–each of his family members, friends, coworkers, church acquaintances, a police officer, the person who sold him the gun! People sensed something was up but no one realized that “suicide was in the room” (as our Asist Trainer would say). Why not?! I can only reference myself–lack of knowledge.
NOW I think I could do the CPR needed to help him keep himself alive at his time of crisis because of the training I’ve experienced and the new knowledge it provided that I hadn’t known. (The intervention model empowers the person struggling with suicidal thoughts to help keep himself alive. The intervener providing the CPR “assists”.) I really understand this dilemma of wanting to help but not knowing how BEST to help. I understand this as a teacher constantly learning and as a parent of an adult child with a mental illness. We do the best we know with the knowledge we have! (Of course LOVE goes a long way to help.) From the training I discovered that we can do a LITTLE more and it will go a LONG way to help save lives and improve the quality of lives. (That’s why I really like the name for the Fair you’re planning too–Get your wellness on! It captures what we hope can be the reality for each of us.)
So as you can see, I was really empowered by the training I experienced this week. The timing was right. I could not have gone through this training any earlier than I did. It would have been too emotional for me. There were moments when only deep breathing kept the tears at bay. I keep being amazed at the bitter-sweet journey I’ve been on since Michael died. Oh, that he had not died. But I can’t deny the gifts that his death have provided. If good can come from this experience for me, then it seems logical that he too can experience good from this experience. He was a nurturing people-person. His aspiration in life was to help others who were struggling with brain / mental challenges. He would want me to help.
I don’t think of myself as being much of an event planner! (But I get the impression you and your family are quite experienced!) All you wrote about in today’s blog was awesome.
Here are some thoughts running through my head:
– Be clear and specific about your purpose(s)…this is the teacher in me talking…I come to the fair, what do you want me to have learned / gained from coming. [One thing I would want for every participant is to have the opportunity to obtain a wallet card on what to do if “suicide is in the room”, ie how to provide emergency first aid for someone experiencing a suicide crisis. I would also want everyone to have the opportunity to get a business card with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK, http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org]
– My hope is that the event would possibly include the opportunity to learn a wellness skill (like the chair massages, etc.) including the skill of how to talk about suicide. This is the organization that provided the training I attended. It’s just one; there are others. http://www.livingworks.net/
– Pray that your event will be successful, achieve the good objectives you and your planning committee set to help save lives.
OK…I think I am all written out for now… take good care… xxxxx…