Suicide has affected so many people, but there is nothing like listening to the heart of a mother as she speaks about being a survivor. I have known and loved Sheri Friemel most of her life as she is the best friend of my own youngest sister, Keri, since they were old enough to have a best friend. My heart goes out to her and to all the parents, family and friends whose lives have been forever changed. My prayers are with you always. “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4
Sheri’s has agreed to share her post on our site entitled #Shoes for Drew – #An Awareness Post
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Bittersweet for some. Yes, I love the awareness and the work being done for prevention. However, I am also reminded that I personally, couldn’t prevent it. It’s an odd mix of dark and light. I thought I’d reflect on a different kind of awareness. An awareness of the survivors. I can’t speak for all. But I’ve an inkling as a surviving mother. I believe that if we can move closer to awareness of the survivors, then maybe we can get closer to the prevention.
1. We don’t mean to try your patience. Survivors process deeply. It takes us a bit longer to get our thoughts out. Every word, thought, idea, smell, color, taste is more pronounced now. We stare a lot.
2. Survivors have been pushed beyond any limits they ever wanted, at the news of the suicide. The urgency and pushing of others upon us, seems irrelevant. We have it somewhat together, just not at warp speed.
3. Survivors are not motivated by hype, pep rallies, or extreme adrenaline shows. It’s not that we aren’t motivated. The depth of motivation, to daily carry on, surpasses the momentary hoopla. Our excitement looks different now.
4. Survivors are “Claritin Clear”. A film was removed, without our permission, invading our personal boundaries and space. We can’t go back. We can’t un-see. Rose colored glasses were destroyed. We don’t mean to destroy yours as well. Sometimes it just happens.
5. The depth of suicide pain awakens the senses. All senses. Especially the detection of unhealthy boundaries and manipulation. And the detection of injustices. Sadly, some of our relationships change.
6. It’s not personal if survivors avoid something about you. You are simply a trigger. If you have a swing in your back yard, I’m likely to not visit your BBQ.
7. Survivors tend to have a jaded sense of humor. An openness about the raw reality of life. Our hearts have experienced “blunt force trauma”. Candy coating seems fake and such a waste of time.
8. Sadly, survivors now understand the why. The “pull of the other side” is extremely real some days.
As a survivor, I never wish to shatter illusions of grandios positivity or shed a ray of light on the harsh realities of our earthly world. I simply believe that suicide prevention must include a level of courage to look at all realities of life. If we could walk together, in the Shadow of The Valley of Death, I think we’d be on to something in the realm of prevention. The strength to look at life’s struggles is a must! It’s awesome to “envision” our way through life. We must also save room for the grounding effects of the extreme circumstances. These circumstances birth the positive fruits of patience, peace, understanding, compassion, mercy and grace.