Individuals bereaved by suicide

onion skins (for irena)

we were all once stars, matter layered inside stars,

the projected dust of some super nova

touched by a butterfly’s wing.

each dust shell is the edge of star mass projected

by helium flash once every fifteen hundred years.

if these are the final drawn out gasps of a dying star

then did you shed shells of yourself

in those first motions of death?


as i peel back each familiar skin

i come closer to the fundamental you

and the emergent possibilities of our eternal symmetry.

i look to your discarded shell and understand

that you leave me with more

than just these layers of memory.


walking alone on towradgi beach

i see waves that are water slices

shaved in succession

by the continental shelf,

the next one forming over as the spent one recedes

and I know that our past motion is your energy

stored inside of me.

Light on a Hill

Ten years ago Alex lost her son to suicide, he was 18 years old. Here she talks about her lived experience and how music and in particular song writing has helped her. Alex has generously and courageously agreed to share the song she wrote for her son Rowan ‘Light on a Hill’.

‘Anniversaries are never easy, but somehow we manage to get through as a family, and the grief has slightly shifted over the years. Anger, guilt and feeling out of control have dominated at times, but I have sought help from various organisations which have eased the pain.

I have also had catharsis from song writing and performance and have been a professional entertainer for 25 years. I feel it is vital to share our stories in order to understand each other’s perspective, and to bring a sense of hope and healing to all those affected by suicide.’