It’s still September. We’re still talking about Suicide. We’re doing this because the experts tell us that the more we talk about it – the more we bring it into the open – the less likely it is that people will go through with it.
And yet – people still do…
Doesn’t matter if you’re a 30 year old pastor at a megachurch in southern California who founds a mental health advocacy group and works with at risk teenagers – or you’re a 52 year old writer, poet and musician self diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression – both these people were beloved by their congregations – and yet – it still wasn’t enough to keep them taking their lives by their own hands.
You can follow the links to reads more about these two extraordinary people but as we’ve referenced several times over the years – their stories are not unique – oh sure their lives were – but the manner of their endings aren’t – and it strikes me that there are two aspects to these tragedies:
What can we do to stop the people we love killing themselves?
What can we do to alleviate the grief experienced by those left behind?
I’m at a loss in answering the first question – it’s an incredibly complex subject and something for the medical community to address. However, as we wrote about last week – as friends of lovers of people at risk – there is information out there to help us – there are things we can do – go google: “what should I do if I think my friend is thinking of suicide?”
But it’s the second question that is more pertinent to a music playlist concerned with grief. How do you process the fact that someone you loved – someone who perhaps loved you back – was able to be so unreachable that they took their own life? There’s a whole host of emotions that go with this experience, normally predicated by the nature of your relationship.
If it is someone close to you – someone who did indeed love you back – I highly recommend reading The Grief Diaries: Surviving Loss By Suicide by Lynda Cheldelin Fell and Sharon Ehlers – while the grieving process is going to be unique to you – this is a good companion to have along the way.
If however it is someone you loved but whom for them – you were part of their fanbase so they didn’t know you – someone like an artist or a public figure – someone like an Avicii or an Anthony Bourdain or a Chris Cornell… – the list is depressingly long – then perhaps may I suggest listening to this track? While it was written specifically for David Berman – its message is universal and of course – it is delivered beautifully.
Thank you to Jon at Music to Fight Evil for bringing it to my attention.
Here’s the number and link to The Samaritans UK
From any phone just dial – 116 123
Here’s the link to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
1-800 273 8255