Bereaved by suicide

Waves cause gradual transformations to the shoreline by flowing, rolling and crashing. A gentle surge smooths out yesterday’s undulations and footprints. Ebbing swell, destination anticipated. Breakers thieve off with meticulously deposited sand grains.

And then there are tidal waves. The kind that emerge, unpredictably and escalate. Towering up and hurtling down. Lack of regard for their destination and impact. Overwhelm breaking above, undertow hauling you, from beneath, to the murky depths. And the aftermath. Shoreline eroded beyond recognition.

She had survived storms of loss and endured waves of grief. What struck her hardest was not the physical, emotional or mental anguish of miscarriage, death of a soul mate or her marriage imploding. Loss of her brother by suicide was far worse than any tidal wave. It obliterated the shoreline and changed her so dramatically her former self was unattainable.

She had grown to respect something about loss. Grief was inevitable. Avoiding, denying or ignoring grief produced an illusion of comfort but escape was fleeting. Loss stretched deep and grief permeated into every chasm, entwining deep within to unfamiliar places.

Well acquainted with grief, hindsight warned that this grief would upwell eternally. It refused to release its grip, forcing her to tread water. Supports strongly encouraged her to move on but evaded the magnitude of her emotions. They did not understand you could not go under or over a grief that had seeped to such depths. To reach the shoreline she accepted she had to go through it, at her own pace, in her own time. And that was perfectly fine.

Still half submerged by the pull of grief, a conversation about suicide emphasised something in the whitewash. It seemed foreign, forbidden, taboo but she fought the echoes of stigma and myth. The waves impelled her. A perfect yellow rose lay on the shoreline, glistening. She gently explored each velvet petal. The rose signified suicide prevention and she embraced the thought of learning more. Her involvement cradled her grief and now she can support others bereaved by suicide.