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How We Make It Through the Anniversaries

Significant dates such as holidays, birthdays and anniversaries can be emotionally challenging when our loved ones are no longer celebrating with us. How do you get through those days? Share your stories with us.

Rembember You Are Not Alone at Thanksgiving

I’m sure I’m not alone when I share the overwhelming sadness I feel as the holidays loom large. Of course there is much in my life for which I am deeply grateful, but it’s so hard to ignore the gaping wound in my heart knowing that Erik will not be sitting with us tomorrow at our Thanksgiving table.

There is a rawness that is exposed to the cruel dig of every sad reminder of a loss that will only find its resolution at the end of my own life. With that knowledge, every day, every hour, every minute seems to drag on at an unbearably slow pace as the flames of grief leap and dance vigorously. The stark contrast of my sorrow to the festive mood this time of year only intensifies the misery. If only those flames didn’t burn so. That said, I shower my love on all of you who suffer like me as I hold you in my heart tomorrow. The tears I shed  are not only for my own loss; they are for yours, too. So remember, you are not alone.

- Elisa Medhus, who lost her son Erik on October 9, 2009, channelingerik.com

Halloween

 

It's the Halloween Season, 2010 – why aren't you here Steven,

Laughing and spending it with your family and  friends?

Your favorite holiday of the whole entire year,

Even though you are gone, we  still feel you near.

~

It's  your Birthday,  your Christmas,  your  Easter and more,

We're listening – waiting for you to walk through the door.

Every time we see a pumpkin, a mask, a ghost or a skull

It touches our hearts, as we remember it all.

~

You'd think and plan what to do the next year,

What pranks you would play on people  -  to instill fear.

But your smile and your laughter made all of it fun,

We all learned to love Halloween - because of you, my son.

Happy  Halloween  Steven

Written in loving memory especially for you, by your Mom

(Marianne Ford  - 10/23/10)

"Hi, Mom!"

CHRISTMAS was only two days away. The countdown had dwindled rapidly and I still had too many things to accomplish in too little time. I selected a CD by Josh Groban to listen to as I worked in the kitchen, baking cookies and making gifts for the neighbors. My son Landon had been a Groban fan and loved to sing along. He had a strong, beautiful voice, and many times when his roommate would yell at him to turn the music down, Landon would retort, “It’s not the stereo, it’s me!” I loved hearing him sing, usually coming from the shower when he didn’t know I could hear him. Tragically, his life had ended a year earlier when he succumbed to the darkness of mental illness and suicide. A recording of him singing Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up” was played at his funeral, and it was startlingly beautiful. Since then, listening to his favorite music helped me to feel close to him.

As I baked and listened to the music, I thought about Andy, Landon’s roommate, boss, and good friend. I wondered if he was at the shop working on last minute orders and gifts. I recalled how a year earlier, Landon spent this day before Christmas Eve working on a large granite-framed mirror for us. He had saved scraps from our new kitchen cabinets and granite counter tops, fashioning them into the heavy frame. When unwrapped on Christmas morning, it was sadly tilting to one side, perhaps the result of being wrapped and delivered before the glue had set. The look on his disappointed face when he declared, “It’s crooked...” was heartbreaking.

Remembering that moment and the following, turbulent days leading to his death, I burst into tears. He had tried so hard to help, to make us happy, but when the illness took over, it became increasingly difficult for us to understand each other. I sobbed and sobbed, missing him, wishing so much to turn the calendar pages back and do those last few months over. He was so beautiful, so talented, so witty. Did he know how much I adored him? The invisible, yet gaping hole in my chest still hurt unbearably. It is said that for a parent, there is no pain greater than losing a child to suicide.

In the midst of my tears, the phone rang. An unfamiliar, out-of-state number displayed, and when I answered, I heard an enthusiastic, “Hi, Mom!” I didn’t recognize the voice, but the timing nearly took my breath away. After a pause, the voice asked cautiously, “Oh, this isn’t my mom, is it?” “No,” I choked, “but I am a Mom and you can call me that anytime you want!” The caller apologized and wished me a merry Christmas, hung up, and I cried even harder.

Moments later my husband walked into the room, putting his hand on my shoulder as I leaned against the counter. Between sobs I told him what had just happened. “That Landon, he never fails to find a way to reach you,” he pointed out. He was right, Landon had done so many things to get my attention, to tell me that he was okay now, to let me know that he’s still nearby.

“Hi, Mom!” The Christmas gift was unmistakable, a random event which was no mere coincidence, a wrong number at the right moment wasn’t wrong. Merry Christmas, Landon.

- Lisa Potter, whose son Landon Hatch took his life on April 20, 2008

Landon singing "You Raise Me Up": Landon_You_Raise_Me_Up.aiff

The Day After

 

Today is “Thanksgiving Friday,”

Yesterday was a wonderful day.

However, my Darling Steven,

The hole in my heart will forever stay.

~

As I thanked my Heavenly Father

For all my blessings from above,

I could not stop crying within my soul

Because you weren't there, my love.

~

Thanksgiving is such a special time

To spend  with family, laughter and good food,

But I had to fight the heartbreak and tears

Put on my happy face, and be in a good mood.

~

Today – all is quiet, and I am here alone

The empty feelings of loss that I feel

Make me wonder and ask  my Heavenly Father  

If my heart and soul will ever heal.

~

On Thanksgiving Day, and everyday

I find gratefulness within my heart,

As I thank God for all my many blessings,

My son, how I miss you, and it is with you that I start.

~

I'm also so blessed with my special family

And for the thirty years together that we had

However, time went too fast, it was not enough - 

Not for me, not for your brother and not for your Dad.

~

Your father and I share our broken hearts,

And we  cry our tears together

We know we were blessed to have a son like you.

But each moment, each day, each year were too few.

~

Everyday should be like Thanksgiving Day

And I should constantly praise my Father above,

For my prayers were answered, and my dreams came true

When I was blessed to be a Mother to you.

~

Written by Marianne Ford ~ November 26, 2010 , In loving memory of my Son,

Steven Allan Ford  ~ April 7, 1980 - September 7, 2010

What are some of the needs of Suicide Survivors?

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 possibly relate to what we are experiencing. 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 immediate support at the time of the loss. Individualized or family counseling, medical care, and participation 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.

Suicide Survivors

"There are always two parties to a death; the person who dies and the survivors who are bereaved."
-Arnold Toynbee

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."

ShatteredHeart

 

More YouTube Videos:

Dedicated to Suicide Survivor's

Katie Couric's Notebook: Teen Suicide

National Survivor's of Suicide Day

Lidia's Story: Suicide Loss Survivor

Survivor's of Suicide Day

Clip from AFSP's National Survivors of Suicide Day Program (2009)

Abraham: Son's in Non-Physical

"One often calms one's grief by recounting it." ~ Pierre Corneille

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.

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If you have an emergency, please call 911 and ask for a CIT officer. If you are dealing with an urgent situation, please call the Behavioral Health Authority Crisis Line for your county. The Salt Lake County UNI Crisis Line is 801-587-3000. 

Suicide Prevention

If you or someone you love is in need of suicide prevention support, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or visit the website for more info.

suicidepreventionlifeline.org