Following article provided by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
"One learns to live with the loss, the tragedy, the waste, and the gaping hole in the fabric of one's life. There is no closure, not would I want one. I want to remember him all my life, vividly; his laughter, the smell of his sneakers under his bed, his moments of joy, his humility, and his integrity."
Susan Storey Lyman, Survivor; Boston, Massachusetts
Coping with the loss of a loved one
Each year, more than 32,000 people in the United States die by suicide. It is this country's 9th leading cause of death. It is estimated that for every suicide, at least six other people - family members, friends, co-workers - are intimately affected, left to survive the terrible loss
These survivors are often left stunned and troubled by the powerful reactions they experience:
What becomes of these intense, relentless feelings? They usually diminish as months and years pass, although some residual feelings may remain unresolved
"The death of one's child by whatever cause is devastating. In the case of suicide, the agonizing sense of personal loss is compounded by suddenness. and the act itself, which is unfathomable. The bereaved must struggle not only with terrible grief, but with the anguish of relentless self-doubt as to what responsibility may rest with oneself."
Lyman Treadway, Survivor; Cleveland, Ohio
AFSP AND SURVIVORS
Since its inception in 1987, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has reached out to survivors for help in accomplishing its mission of preventing suicide through research and education.
Survivors play a vital role in shaping the Foundation and gathering support for its programs and research. Survivors often become volunteers with the Foundations' chapters; some have founded chapters in communities where none existed.
The Foundation trains the leaders of suicide survivor support groups, and it continually updates its state-by-state directory of these groups located throughout the country. Articles in the Foundation's Lifesavers newsletter help survivors understand suicide and share how others have learned to cope with their loss.
Many survivors establish memorial funds at the Foundation, with the proceeds used to underwrite educational programs and research to prevent suicide indirectly helping other families avoid the pain of this tragic loss.
To learn more about membership in the Foundation, memorial funds, survivor groups in your area, or opportunities to volunteer your services, please call their toll-free number for survivors, (888) 333-AFSP, visit our website at www.afsp.org, or write to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 120 Wall Street, 22nd Floor, New York, NY 10005.
For more information or to register with the Hampton Roads S.O.S. group, call Chris Gilchrist, L.C.S.W., a member of the American Association of Suicidology, at (757) 483-5111.