The International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day originated in 1999 in the United States. It is celebrated the Saturday before (American) Thanksgiving. This is typically the third, but sometimes the fourth Saturday in November. In an article on Global News, Joy Pavelich mentions how isolating it can be to lose someone to suicide. It is easy to fall into the idea that it was somehow your fault. That you should have noticed ‘x’ or stopped ‘y’. It isn’t your fault. There are many, complex reasons why someone may die by suicide. It is normal to grieve and it is normal to struggle with figuring out why something happened, but you don’t have to do it alone.
There are many organisations that offer support for people who have lost a loved one through suicide. Organizations such as the Canadian Mental Health Association, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and many more around the globe seek to support you as you work through your grief. I know you want answers, you want to understand what happened, and why. I can’t promise that you will ever get all the answers you seek, I can’t promise you will ever completely recover from your loss. But I can tell you it is a journey, and journeys are better when you have company. Access the resources in your area, talk to others who have dealt with loss as you have. It can help in a big way.
Don’t be afraid to talk about your loss. Death by suicide is no less deserving of grief than any other death. Remember the things you loved about the person you lost. Remember the time they learned to ride a bike as a child, the day they proposed to you, the time they helped you. Remember them for who they were and what they meant to you. Let yourself grieve, but don’t be afraid to get back on your feet when you are ready to.
This Saturday, International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day, let us all support those among us who have been touched by suicide loss.