Let us be who we've become -- people changed by tragedy. Just try to "be there" and support whatever form our grief takes. Trying to understand is okay, but just caring is enough. Realize that you can't pos-sibly relate to what we are ex-periencing. You don't have to.
Mourning a death by suicide is a lengthy, intense and confusing process. It is also unique; each of us experiences grief in our own way.
Because suicide is a sudden, unexpected and often violent loss, the grief it causes is excruciating, prolonged, and still often stigmatized. This may cause us to withdraw socially. We may even feel responsible for our loss. Those who witness the suicide or find the body may suffer post traumatic stress.
We don't "get over" a suicide. The effects may stabilize, but the loss is forever felt. Our personal values and beliefs are shattered and we are changed emotionally.
Every suicide survivor needs im-mediate support at the time of the loss. Individualized or family coun-seling, medical care, and parti-cipation in on-going support groups can be extremely helpful.
To read a heartbreaking first-hand account of the aftermath of a loved one's suicide, click HERE.
A suicide survivor is an individual who has lost someone he/she cared for deeply to suicide. The victim may have been a parent, child, spouse, sibling, other relative, partner, or friend. It is estimated that every suicide leaves six to eight "survivors."
It's okay to talk about "it" because that's all that's on our minds. Let any statements we make about respon-sibility, blame, or guilt just flow. It will sort itself out over time. Please mention our loved one, whether it was a child, spouse, sibling, parent or other loved one. Avoid setting any timetable for recovery as there isn't any.
Some suicide survivors find it uncomfortable to speak about the loss. With this in mind, it's wise simply to ask, "How are you feeling? Can we talk about it?" And then be willing to listen.
Taken in part from lifegard.tripod.com.
A letter from Ram Das to parents who lost their child
I think I felt that I would never get past the pain. The pain would always be there, and there would be no future. And that our kids would be damaged, and Anita and I would be damaged. And our whole family life would be ruined, and there would be no future, no place to go to, nothing to hope for. And I think Ram Dass's letter was like a catalyst.
"Steve and Anita: Rachel finished her brief work on earth and left the stage in a manner that leaves those of us left behind with a cry of agony in our hearts as the fragile threads of faith are dealt with so violently. Is anyone strong enough to stay conscious through such teachings as you are receiving? Probably very few, and even they would only have a whisper of equanimity and spacious peace amidst the screaming trumpets of their rage, grief, horror and desolation. I cannot assuage your pain with any words, nor should I. For your pain is Rachel's legacy to you. Not that she or I would inflict such pain by choice, but there it is, and it must burn it's purifying way to completion.
You may emerge from this ordeal more dead than alive, where something within you dies when you bear the unbearable. And it is only in that dark night of the soul that you are prepared to see as God sees, and to love as God loves. Now is the time to let your grief find expression. No false strength.
Now is the time to sit quietly and speak to Rachel, and thank her for being with you these few years, and encourage her to go on with her work knowing that you will grow in compassion and wisdom from this experience. In my heart I know that you and she will meet again and again, and recognize the many ways in which you have known each other. And when you meet, you will in a flash know what now it is not given to you to know, why this had to be the way it was.
Your rational minds can never understand what has happened. Your hearts, if you can keep them open to God, will find their own intuitive way.
Rachel came through you to do her work on earth, which included her manner of death.
Now her soul is free and the love that you can share with her is invulnerable to the winds of changing time and space. In that deep love, include me, too. So much love, Ram Dass."
I think we spent the next six months working with all that was in that letter.
And I heard the truth in the letter, and it was just very, very meaningful. It was the light, a light at the end of my tunnel, I think. I thought, if I could work with it, if I could work with some of these ideas, if I could work with some of that, I can go on.
"There are things we don't want to happen but have to accept,
things we don't want to know but have to learn,
and people we can't live without but have to let go."
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We all need nutrition to support our bodies. A poor diet equals poor health, contributing to obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes - conditions that many people living with mental illness are at a high risk of developing. Nutrition is important for everyone. If you are living with mental illness, eating well is especially important for you, because what you eat can affect your daily life, mood and energy level. Healthy eating is not about being thin or deprivation. Healthy eating is about feeling good, having more energy, participating in your recovery and mapping out your future. Simply put, healthy eating is one of the best things you can do to improve wellness. Dietary guidelines set by the USDA state that a healthy diet is one that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat free or low fat milk products. A healthy diet should include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts. Be sure to limit saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium and added sugars. Lear more about the U.S. government's guidlelines by reveiwing the food pyramid: mypyramid.gov.