[Editor’s note: “Links to Suicide Grief Stories …” is a SPNAC series featuring stories of survivors of suicide loss — about the effect their loved one’s suicide has had on them and how they are coping with their grief. FJC]
In “Lidia’s Story” on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s (800-273-TALK/8255) YouTube Channel, Lidia Bernik talks about losing her sister to suicide and how that has shaped her life and her work.
“I say that my family died with my sister because the way that my family was will never be again … Suddenly she was gone, and that is so painful.”
[Lidia is Director of Network Development for the Lifeline. Before that, she worked for the Suicide Prevention Action Network, the role she had just taken on when I first encountered her, at a meeting in Washington, D.C. in the summer of 2004. SPAN was at a crossroads in leadership then, and she made a real difference by speaking passionately (in the way people do when they speak truth to power) about the common ground shared by all survivors of suicide loss. FJC]
In an “Everyday Hero” segment broadcast on Global National, Ben Verboom tells how his father’s suicide led him to start the “Cycle to Help” campaign, a cross-Canadian trek he embarked upon last summer. In a newspaper article published part way through his journey, Ben explained the goals of the ride.
“My main focus is to start a dialogue about the issues — one that’s compassionate and comfortable,” he said. “Suicide is an issue we need to bring to the forefront.”
Although Ben is on a solo physical journey, his dad’s memory is close at hand: Ben is riding his dad’s bike.
“I’m fulfilling that dream, but I’m also coping with his death. It’s been a healing process and I’m feeling really good about it” (Kamloops This Week).
“In my frenetic search for understanding and support, I had difficulty finding any resources that truly connected with my raw grief. Most suicide books appear to be remote and academic and focus on suicide rather than relating to the shattered world of those left behind” (This Is Wiltshire).
In “Suicide: Coming into the Light,” reporter Faye Whitbeck of the Daily Journal (International Falls, Minn.) interviews three of Erik Rasmussen’s family members 18 years after he died by suicide. The article closes with a selection of poems by Erik’s brother Matt, who recently received a Bush Artist Fellowship. Here is one of them, titled “Outgoing”:
Our answering machine still played your message / and on the day you died Dad asked me to replace it. / I was chosen to save us the shame of dead you / answering calls. Hello, I have just shot myself. / To leave a message for me, call hell. The clear cassette / lay inside the white machine like a tiny patient / being monitored or a miniature glass briefcase / protecting the scroll of lost voices. Everything barely / mattered and then no longer did. I touched record /and laid my voice over yours, muting it forever / and even now. I’m sorry we are not here, I began.
[The abridged URL for this post is http://tinyurl.com/GriefStories06 .]