Sunday, August 24, 2014

I'm Not Afraid to Talk About Suicide

One other interesting speaker I was able to listen to at the national conference was Nan Zastrow, whose son Chad died of suicide 21 years ago. She has authored five books on healing from grief, and at the TCF conference gave a workshop titled, “Ask me—I’m not afraid to talk about suicide.” This is Part 1 of 2.

She suggested “18 Ways to live with loss.” Here is her list that I think will help anyone in this situation.

1. Ask questions and seek answers for as long as you feel a need. It helps you to accept the loss.

2. Suicide is just death by another name.

3. Expect emotional disorder in your life for months and years. Imagination will be your worst enemy.

4. Don’t make excuses for your loved one’s choice. We don’t know what was in their mind.

5. Some family and friends may express disbelief or shock. Allow them to share feelings. Allow them to grieve in their own way.

6. Don’t try to salvage friendships that imply judgment based on the suicide. Friends should not judge.

7.Talk to others with similar experiences, but don’t expect your experiences to be the same. It gives comfort and support.

8. Tell personal stories about your loved one to anyone who will listen.

9. Accept that you will all grieve differently.

10. Let God in when you are ready. Traumatic death can change your belief system.

11.Turn away from guilt.

12. Use social media responsibly. Once it’s on, you can’t take it back.

13. Get professional help if you need it. There is no shame in it. Make sure the person is certified. In addition, join a support group.

14. When you are ready, speak the word “suicide.”

15. Learn everything you can about death, grief, suicide and healing. Read books, attend seminars.

16. Live vicariously in honor of you loved one. Do something that honors their legacy.

17. Teach others about suicide. Shatter the myths. Share the facts.

18. Live your life deliberately. Don’t allow the taboo of suicide ruin your life.

Part 2,  I will cover next Sunday: "How a Survivor Stops the Silence"

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