by Catherine Greenleaf
When we learn we have lost a loved one to suicide, we hit a level of despair few people will ever know or understand. That's why I refer to suicide loss in my book as high-voltage grief. Suicide loss tears every fiber that makes up the tapestry of our lives. The suddenness, the lack of warning (even with a history of previous attempts), the self-inflicted violence and the profound aftershocks (like depression, anxiety and PTSD) can put us into a state of mental anguish that makes day-to-day functioning very difficult.
However, there is one silver lining in this very dark, grey cloud. And that is the gift of desperation.
Now why would I call desperation a gift? Because it forces us to our knees. It forces us to admit we are sinking and don't know what to do next. It forces us to realize we cannot travel this path of grief alone.
It forces us to ask for help.
In a society that prides itself on the concept of rugged individualism, asking for help can be seen as an act of weakness or even cowardice. But what do we do when faced with suffering beyond our capacity to resolve? We become humble. We surrender. We ask for help. Asking for help is our saving grace. Turning to others for support, help, information and encouragement is our way through and out the dark tunnel of suicide grief. Attending a suicide loss survivor support group, seeing a sudden loss bereavement therapist or participating in suicide loss group therapy are just three ways of reaching out and getting the guidance we need.
People who need people, are, indeed, the luckiest people. It's where love begins.