Mosaic by Margaret Almon and Wayne Stratz of Nutmeg Designs.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Book

Some of you know that I've been trying to put the writing I did in the first couple of years after Josh's death into book format.

One of the stumbling blocks has been the difficulty of maintaining a sense of balance in life while delving into that material.  A solution finally occurred to me, one which only summer weather and daylight savings time could provide.  For the past week or so, I've made The Book the first hour's project on most days; then at 7:30 or so I head out for my walk and prayer time.  Thus I'm able to  complete the transition from the darkness of those first years into the realities of everyday life as I experience it today, and to get on with my life without becoming mired in the past.

This morning, a quiet and stiflingly hot Memorial Day, I switched my plans around a bit, knowing that I needed to get some outdoor garden work in as early as possible.  I ended up making a lot of progress with the writing and revising once I had returned to the Great Indoors, and even finished the current draft of the book proposal and sent it off to a couple of friends.

I'm not sure what to make of this Book Project.  My life would be a good deal simpler if I were to shelve it for good.  And it's certainly no la-de-da contribution to the memoir genre. 

But I recall how I nearly inhaled everything that came my way on suicide loss in the first months, how desperate I was for someone to put my anguish into words.  And I remember how much I longed to read that someone else was persisting in prayer despite the evident disappearance of God.  

My situation verged on the extreme, as it was in a seminary dorm that I would awaken in the morning to the certainty that God had vanished, but I am fairly certain these days that other bereaved parents sense the same breaking news, regardless of where they are waking up or what their days hold.

Perhaps The Book has some value.

Places of No Healing

I've been reading it and feeling deeply saddened.

I know that this blog is designed to focus on hope.

But there are places carved into our lives for which there will be no healing, aren't there?

There are wounds that cannot be proclaimed holy.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Suicide Prevention Education ~ AMDG

A bill has been proposed to the Ohio Legislature that would mandate suicide prevention education for teachers and school counselors, people who are often in a position to glimpse warning signs ~ if they but know what they are seeing, and to intervene ~ if they but know what to say.  The Jason Flatt Act has been passed in various forms in ten states so far.  In Ohio, it was introduced to the House by Representative Marlene Anielski, who lost a son to suicide two years ago.  It passed the House unanimously yesterday ~ now, onto the Senate.

As a field advocate for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, I did a tiny bit of work on this, contacting friends and asking them to call or email their reps for support, and sending a few emails of my own.  My brother, who is active in state Republican politics, texted all the reps on his phone.  He called to ask whether I wanted to attend the hearing and meet some folks, but I declined; other people have done all the background work, and I did not want to intrude.  My brother and I tend to cancel each other out where our votes are concerned; after the vote yesterday, he wrote gleefully that there are issues on which we can all agree.

This afternoon I watched the video of the hearing.  When Representative Anielski ended her presentation by referring to her son as "a man for others" and concluded with the words, "AMDG - Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam"  ("To the greater glory of God") ~ Ignatian code words ~ my ears perked right up.  I googled her son's name, which I had not known before and, sure enough, he was a student at the Jesuit high school here in Cleveland when he died.

I wrote to his mother this afternoon to thank her, and to tell her that she is truly a woman for others.

Monday, May 21, 2012

About This Blog

This is a space for those of us who have lost loved ones to suicide.  When I created this blog, I wasn't sure where it might lead, but a number of conversations, emails, and other encounters over the past few weeks have led to me a sense that it might be time for me to host a place for conversations among suicide survivors (defined as those who has survived the suicide of a loved one). We'll see how it goes.

I am a wife of 38 years, a mother of three, a newly-ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and a spiritual director.  That means that I spend most of my time following the activities of a computer architect husband, a law student son, and a daughter who's just completed grad school and works in community development; pastoring a small, rural church; and meeting with people who seek companionship in deepening their spiritual lives.  Our family lost a 24-year-old twin son to suicide three and one-half years ago, and so now I also do some writing, speaking, and advocacy work on parental bereavement and on suicide prevention.

If you have somehow found your way to this place, I am deeply sorry for your loss, and hope that you will find here a place in which to sit still as we reflect upon the past and move toward the future.