Tomorrow is “International Survivors of Suicide Day.” Did you know approximately 800,000 people die by suicide each year (based on findings by the World Health Organization)? Just seven years in to our marriage, when Alan and I were 29, we lost a family member very near and dear to us in a tragedy that we’ll never forget and has impacted our children, even though most of them weren’t even born yet. I think it’s like having a hole blown in your heart, and you’re never the same afterward. If you’ve been touched by the loss of a loved one through suicide as we have, you might appreciate knowing that there will be gatherings all around the world, and you can find the one nearest you by searching here: http://www.survivorday.org/find-an-event/
My understanding is that all the gatherings (at least here in the U.S.) will include time for sharing stories and insights to help in the healing process—hopefully. There is definitely something comforting simply in recognizing that we humans are not alone in our grief. I’ve also read that a documentary produced by the American Foundations for Suicide Prevention called Family Journeys: Healing and Hope after a Suicide will be shown at each gathering.
“Survivor Day” became an officially recognized event in America in 1999, the result of a resolution introduced to the Senate by Senator Harry Reid, who had suffered the loss of his own father 25 years previously. It was passed into law and is celebrated the Saturday before Thanksgiving each year in recognition of the fact that Americans particularly struggle with loss during the “holiday season,” which begins with Thanksgiving and lasts through the New Year celebrations. Over the past 16 years, based on the global need for this type of reflection, it has grown into an international day of observance. In light of the suicide bombings in Paris last week, I think even those who haven’t felt a personal loss might be suffering the aftershocks of suicide this year. Also, if you know of anyone who seems depressed, would you please reach out to them this holiday season?