Lessons in Surviving Suicide: A Letter to my Daughter


When I first became bereaved in 2005, after the suicide of my daughter at age twenty-two, more than anything I wanted another bereaved parent to tell me exactly what I could expect from my grief. What would it be like? Would it ever end? Critically, how could I possibly live without my child? I was terrified. I had thousands of questions and no real answers. The future looked bleak.Fifteen years later, I am that parent I so desperately wanted to learn from. This book is to help newly bereaved parents who have lost their child to suicide navigate early grief and be aware of the issues that can complicate grief.The body of each chapter has been written as a personal letter to my daughter. In a raw and candid sharing, I recount the difficult emotions and issues that have challenged my efforts to fully heal from her suicide. The lessons learned at the end of each chapter are the result of the introspection that only time can give us. They are intended to help every parent reading this book find comfort and healing on their journey from all that I’ve learned looking back on my own.While all bereaved parents have thousands of questions related to the death of their child, suicide presents its own unique questions and challenges. Not knowing the reasons for their child’s death can create lasting suffering for grieving parents and complicate their grief.Time is bittersweet. The more it passes, the more it can challenge bereaved parents to accept the finality of their child’s death. It can also trap us in only surviving the trauma and pain we experience after our losing our child, rather than being able to embrace truly living. But time also gives us the increasing courage and ability to reflect on our loss and pain, which is necessary to heal.I remain optimistic that we can heal from what is perhaps the toughest loss for anyone to bear. This book comforts and encourages every bereaved parent to contemplate the difficulties that will challenge them in their grief. It also serves as a compass to guide them to the destination they want and that does await them when they believe and trust that they can and will find their way.

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