It’s suicide prevention week here in the United States. I am grateful that I have never been suicidal.
It was never something I thought about much. But having had the experience of two people in my immediate circle commit suicide in the space of months some years ago – it is now far more present. Add to that a few friends who have suffered the loss of immediate family members in this way and I realise the importance of standing up and speaking.
The loss of someone through suicide is terrible – not only does one have to cope with grief, but there is a whole gamut of other emotions – anger, guilt, fear, shame – which quickly raise their heads. And those emotions themselves cause further confusion.
I have no advice for how to deal with those who are suicidal or with those who are suffering with the loss of someone through suicide. All I can say is dare to present. And recognise what you don’t know.
Offer a hand, a shoulder to cry on, companionship in the dark. If you haven’t walked those dark passages, don’t pretend to know. Dare to show up and know that you cannot fix anything.
I know enough of the way my own mind occasionally warps reality to recognise that ‘objectivity’ is an illusion. There is only compassion; only the willingness to sit in the unknowing.