We, i.e. the Lake County Coroner’s Office (my executive secretary) and the Lake County Suicide Prevention Task Force, set up a local site for a group viewing of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) National Survivors of Suicide Day program webcast last Saturday. One of over 130 sites that offered that service.
The bulk of the webcast consisted of a panel of individuals who were survivors of suicide (i.e. they had lost a loved one to suicide). These individual’s talked of their experiences, how they coped, and how their lives had changed. They brought various perspectives and were at “different places” with regards to working with their grief and life changes. It was a profoundly affecting experience. There was not a dry eye among the viewers at our site.
The webcast will be available for viewing on the AFSP website for the next year. I highly recommend it. I think its greatest messages were how many lives are touched by suicide (20% of families and 60% of individuals know someone who has died by suicide) and along with that, the message that you are not alone in your life experience of death by suicide and that you, like the others, can survive. One other point that comes to mind as I type this is that everyone deals with the grieving in their individual way (not in stages, but in “floods”) and that that grieving does not go away, but you cope and you survive.