Daniel has done all the writing to date about our Institute. I (Gary) have started to write several times but have stopped after being unable to decide what it was I wanted to say here. We started the Institute with the idea that it would be a non-profit to help families but the IRS rules require us to give control to a Board of Directors that are not involved in the Institute's day to day activities. This requires us to give control of the Institute to outsiders - something we are reluctant to do. Since we have not been willing to do this and we will soon reform the Institute as a for (very small) profit organization in order to retain control of the Institute.
I have been wanting to write something about how to survive the loss of a family member to suicide for about a year. Every time I start to write I slip back into that black hole where depression (and sometimes despair) come so easily. It's hard to feel confident writing about how to survive a family suicide when you are not at all sure you have, as yet, survived it yourself. After 3 and 1/2 years you would think it would be time that one could be mostly healed and move on but so far that is not the case. This is not to say that I'm not better than I was 3 years ago, a year ago, or even a couple of months ago. I have come a long ways towards healing and am doing tremendously better than I have in the past. I am making progress but it is a long road - some days it seems like a very, very long road. My greatest progress has come as I have tried to help others who have experienced the same loss. As the Master has said - we can find ourselves only when we lose ourselves in service to others. The longer we spend searching for ourselves the harder it is to find us. We need to be in service to our fellow man in order to find out who we are. Nothing else will give us the peace we seek.
This brings me to my request. At the Institute we are seeking the stories of those who feel they are far enough along in their recovery that they would like to share the story of how they have survived (or if not survived at least dealt with) the loss of a family member to suicide. We would hope to use the stories (anonymously if desired) to help us and others learn more about the path that others have trodden. Questions that we have include: 1) What feelings have you dealt with - fear, anger, a feeling of loss of control of your life, depression, etc; 2) What has helped you in your recovery/survival; 3) What would you recommend to aid in the recovery process; 4) What has been most helpful to you; and 4) any other recommendations you might have for coping or recovering that have worked for you or others. In your stories you might, if you desire, touch on what happened to your loved one but primarily we want to focus on the healing aspect and how you are moving forward. We hope that this knowledge of how others have been impacted and survived this trauma will help all of us better understand the path and how to continue to move forward.
I have come to suspect that this process can take a lifetime - we certainly know our lives will probably never be the same as they were before. It is readily apparent that our priorities are different, our views are different, our hopes, and our dreams are all different. Our life is distinctly divided into two parts - before and after. I want to write about my experience but before I taint the waters, as it were, I want to hear from others about what they have experienced on this path.
If you could send your stories to us at firstname.lastname@example.org we would appreciate it. You can also call us at (480) 275-5077 if you want to talk with us prior to sending your story (or if you want us to help you with your story).