For me and many bereaved parents, grief is overwhelming. The weight of its pain and sorrow is too much to bear. We can't breathe. Our mind is consumed with uncontrollable thoughts. We just want to curl up in a fetal position until it all goes away. The problem is grief never goes away. It is always there, waiting for those special days, or to surprise us, unexpectedly, with a wave of tears. We cannot get over grief, or move on from grief. We have to do something else with our grief. I like how author, Megan Devine, describes what we must do with our grief. We must learn to carry it.
I have been carrying my grief for eleven and a half years. It is not as heavy as it was for the the first few years. Then, I had too many unanswered questions, and the stigma from Mark's death by suicide was very heavy. I should have seen the signs. What should I have done differently? I was an emotional wreck and I did my best to just make it through the day. It was difficult to carry this grief. I didn't know how to carry this grief. The best thing I did was to talk about my grief in a safe recovery group, but no one in the group understood my grief.
Then I found people like me. I was made aware of International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day. I attended and found other parents who understood what I was going through. I felt sad that we were all in this group, but I was happy to know that I was not alone. I joined a suicide awareness coalition that day, and became a suicide prevention advocate. For me, that brought some meaning to Mark's death, and I've been able to help many other people over the last seven years by telling Mark's story. Telling Mark's story helped lighten the weight of my grief, and allowed me to get my arms around my grief and carry it.
I get to tell Mark's story at a local International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day event again this year. Preparing for a talk always brings back memories, both good ones and some I would rather not remember. When I tell Mark's story there is healing for those listening, and healing for me. For those who have lost a loved one to suicide, International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day always falls on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, which is this Saturday, November 19th. You can find an event near you by going to https://afsp.org/international-survivors-of-suicide-loss-day.