I highly recommend the book by Judy Zionts Fox and Mia Roldan, Voices of Strength: Sons and Daughters of Suicide Speak Out(Far Hills, NJ: New Horizons Press, 2009), to all survivors of suicide (especially the suicide of a parent), those who live with them, those who want to understand and be supportive, and anyone who may be contemplating suicide.
This is a compassionate book that gives the survivors a voice. Listen to them, please. I found the book painful to read and yet the affect of its—sometimes raw—honesty was helpful. I wanted to keep reading. Hearing these survivors puts one’s own pain in perspective which, while nothing can relieve the pain, can help give it the respect it deserves.
The book offers no answers, which is something that I like about it, but it does provide acknowledgement and understanding, not of the suicide so much (we might never understand this), but of what we as survivors feel and go through.
Because survivors often do not talk about the suicide and are discouraged from talking about it, they are deprived and may be depriving themselves of the recovery they need. Their grief needs special attention because it is not like other kinds of grief. Voices of Strength explores this. That part of us that hurts so much does not deserve to die and does not have to be hidden or suppressed. We do not have to let it—or force it—to wither and dry up. (That part is our heart!) We can begin to understand ourselves and this can get us back in touch with life again.
Strive for recovery. The cessation of pain is not possible but the recovery of your life is. Though broken, your life can become meaningful and fulfilling after this happens to you. Something even good may come from this brokenness, insight about what matters and a unique sensitivity, love and even a lasting, authentic contentment. The effort to recover is a long road and takes time. Though some people might continue to hurt you, you still need the support of others. But you are not alone and you do not need to stay silent. This book helps you realize that.
If, like me, you have been on this road for a long time, paying constant and close attention to the lethal and bleeding wound of your heart, you will still find this book a blessing, as I have. I found the chapter on forgiveness refreshing for it too offers no answers. The authors, though, did find a powerful quote from Beverly Flanigan with which to begin the conversation: “Forgiveness is the accomplishment of mastery over a wound. It is the process through which an injured person first fights off, then embraces, then conquers a situation that has nearly destroyed them” (Forgiving the Unforgivable: Overcoming the Bitter Legacy of Intimate Wounds). How appropriate! At least I found it so.
May you find some solace here. And may our parents find peace.