July 9, 2021

A Survival Guide for Suicide Loss.


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You’re about to head down a dark, wallowing hole into the icy waters of grief. 

It’s frigid there; the air is thick and heavy, making it hard to inhale and even harder to swim. This forced slowness enables the process to take the time it needs.

You’ll wade through a series of pools called Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and an extra for us chosen ones: Guilt. Each one is deeper than the next until you’re treading water in the last pool, Guilt, which is filled with Shame and Regret.

Fight the urge to give up. Find the heat of your resilience to continue swimming forward until you feel the rocky bottom. Then pull your weary body out onto the pebble beach of Acceptance. Lie there for a moment and catch your breath. Breathe deeply into this surrender.

Once you feel steady again, join the other travelers on this beach. Find a rugged stone to hold and rub between your fingers as you share the most vulnerable parts of your story with them. Remember to also listen to theirs. This community bond will light a flame in your heart to remind you that you still have one.

Notice when you have worn down the sharp edges of your story stone until it has become smooth. Be careful not to get stuck here. The more you rub it, the deeper the groove and the more it molds to your hand. Although the pity it holds is soft and inviting, there is no warmth in that stone. It is not capable of love.

It’s now time to build yourself a fire of Forgiveness.

You have as much control over others’ journeys as you do on the tide. For as powerful as you are, you are not the moon.

Sink into your inner wisdom that knows there is no amount of penance you can pay, nor a level of sustained pain that will change their decision or the finality of death. This wisdom will be your kindling.

Give yourself what she cannot. And then forgive her as well. Notice who else you may be blaming and judging—forgive them, too. This is your spark.

Say this out loud:

“I am not responsible for anyone but myself.

I am not responsible for anyone else’s thoughts and especially not their actions.”

Now connect to the deepest part of yourself—the one who knows you are Love.

Root into that wellspring of Love through Gratitude and Self-compassion.

Gratitude for the people, lessons, and gifts that float into your life on the breath of the wind (and they will). Compassion for the younger you who didn’t know what you know now.

Light your fire!

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