Saturday, November 21st is National Survivor’s Day, a day created to allow those who have lost a loved one to suicide an opportunity to share stories, pictures, and video of their family member or friend with others who have who have experienced the same loss in their lives.
After receiving an email from a colleague about Survivor’s Day, I chose to do research and learned that Senator Harry Reid proposed to the United States Senate his hope that the survivors of suicide had a day of recognition and support. In 1999, the proposal was passed and has since been a nationally recognized event, occurring the Saturday before Thanksgiving each year. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (afsp.org) created the program. When you have a moment, check out the website SurvivorDay.org.
Fifteen years ago, I too, became a survivor of suicide when my father made his transition. That is why I am a supporter of AFSP and National Survivor’s Day. It is healing to know that I am not alone and it is heartbreaking to know that others have experienced this sort of heartache, too.
My father was a caring, devoted, loving, and helpful person. He would be the one to call when you are having a hard time figuring something out or needed a hand in getting something done. Even now, fifteen years later, there is someone within the family – immediate or extended, who may be in a pinch or experiencing something unpleasant that will say, ‘I wish Dave were here …’
The AFSP’s Survivor’s Day allows for survivors of suicide to further heal and process their heartache of losing a loved one to suicide. This is my contribution to Survivor’s Day, honoring my father who will ALWAYS be thought of and who will ALWAYS be missed.
For those of you who are like me, and are unable to attend the events headed by AFSP’s Survivor’s Day program, there is still an opportunity to honor and remember your loved one. I will be doing is a meditation where I send my father all of my love, positive energy, and peace for fifteen minutes, one minute for every year that he has been gone. Some people release balloons, others write letters – the possibilities are unlimited.
To the survivors, the pain of losing a loved one to suicide is sad, confusing, heart-breaking, and it creates a series of complex, complicated emotions. I encourage you to consider connecting with others who have gone through this experience. If that is not available to you, someone who is there to listen and support is just as helpful.
While this sort of pain may never truly disappear, it may transform into something different … for me, it has and having memories of my loved one eventually became less sad than they once were.
I am sending you positive energy and lovingkindness.
If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, please contact the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1.800.273.8255. Also, check out resources on the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website, it is a great place to gain knowledge and resource information about suicide, as well as contribute to the prevention of suicide.
If you have been considering therapy and have questions about the benefits of therapy, please call me at 702.980.5036 for a free fifteen minute phone consultation. I am happy to provide additional support.