Friday, August 15, 2014

in the wake of suicide

First, it was simply the message that a beloved actor had died so tragically.  And as I expected, that news triggered my own loss of our son, Matt, and the initial devastation of those horrific days. I went back to the brutal disconnect between the darkness of suicide and the brightness of his smile and depth of his love for all of us.  Once again I was jerked around by the sorrow, the public stigma and the preciousness of his life.

Then my mind and heart went directly to Robin Williams' family and the harsh awareness that their grief was so cruelly public.  Knowing the sharpness of this kind of experience, I long to comfort them  and all of us who have had to walk the hard road to recovery from this kind of grief.

Next, I began to hear comments on the news, read editorials in the paper and hear "experts" interviewed on talk shows.  There has been a deluge of reactions and responses. . . and that is not
a bad thing at all.  Even though it isn't all necessarily true or even helpful, talking about this is a positive change.

Today, I have received a message from The Alliance of Hope for Suicide Survivors and a report from The Association for Suicide Prevention, both expressing hope in the conversations that are being triggered as society begins to understand.  

So, I hope that these conversations will be ongoing and lead to more of the excellent research that is already being done.  I hope that you will find the courage to talk about this, too.  Send your heartfelt condolences to families who have lost loved ones this way . . . speak out when groups say harsh or hurtful things about people who make this choice.  Remind everyone that no one takes this final step unless there is intense pain that they cannot bear.   There is no one to blame.  There is only the need for compassionate, patient and tenderhearted attention and professional care for those who find life unsolvable.

There is also the mystery that the love we have for them grows stronger and more real with each year since they died.  And their presence with us and in us becomes a beautiful legacy we honor and cherish by how we live.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

in the midst of beginning

     it is the quiet of the moon, shining in the grey blue sky
             the brisk, unexpected cool of this August morning
             the stillness of daybreak holding its breath
             the delicate birdsongs giving birth to a new day

     such simple elegance
              fills an empty heart
              soothes a battered spirit
              and allows the spark of gratitude to ignite trust

     sitting in the midst of beginning
              something tentatively eager opens in me
              and I can breathe