Life After Suicide: Reflections on Healing & the Suicide Epidemic March 21, 2014 • 2 Comments The news has been full of rather grim stories lately. Although I’m not one to watch much television, I got hooked a couple weeks ago trying to learn a bit more about Oscar Pistorius. After a week of obsessing over the mysterious disappearance of the Malaysian jet, my thoughts have turned to the family of L’Wren Scott. I have to admit I had never heard of her before the news of her death. Now I will never forget her. There is a strange sense of deep knowing when I hear of a suicide now. It isn’t news that bounces off my radar because, sadly, I’m familiar with the indelible question mark cast over the lives of those left behind. It creates a shadow that is difficult to escape. In the blink of an eye, life is forever defined by “before” and “after,” leaving one to wander endless trails of unanswered questions and navigate frightful mental landscapes. Trying to make sense of a most senseless act is an arduous journey, and the news of Scott’s death dropped me right back in those first few days of trying to comprehend what it all meant. Even now, nearly four years later, I can instantly recall the leaden heaviness that filled my body and how hostile and foreign the world suddenly seemed. It was as though I had slammed into a plate glass window that didn’t shatter and I remained plastered against it while the rest of the world swooshed right on past me. I cannot imagine having to grieve under the intense scrutiny of the social media presses and complete invasion of privacy the way her family will have to do. The aftermath of suicide begs for solitude and reflection. It is an inner pilgrimage requiring travel to places that most of us would prefer not to explore, and making sense of it comes in microscopic pieces, and takes as much time as it takes. I don’t know that one ever arrives at complete understanding of everything that led up to the choice to end a life and one of the best tools I have found is the practice of open hearted compassion towards all that remains unanswered. Coming to terms with a loved one’s suicide can be complicated by our need for certainty in an uncertain world, as well as the tendency to label traumatic experiences and then box them up in neatly packaged stories so they don’t threaten our equilibrium. Unfortunately, these tendencies halt opportunities for healing. Perhaps, what this suicide epidemic holds up to the mirror is what we fear most: we don’t have all the answers and it is quite possible we don’t know the deepest, darkest truths of those we love. Uncomfortable possibilities to ponder, but I think suicide shows us that they exist. What I hope for anyone whose life intersects with this confusing tragedy is that they grant themselves the space to heal in their own way and on their own time. What I wish I had known was to listen to my own heart and let other’s interpretations be just that: their interpretation. I believe this epidemic is trying to reflect something invisible to the naked eye, something buried deep in the fabric of our interconnected souls. I am certain some of the threads are love, connection and self-compassion. It is a message I have yet to figure out, but continue to explore with great love and curiosity. My journey thus far has led me to believe in the words of Richard Feynman, “I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong.” If your life has been touched by suicide, I am sending you strength. May you be loved, connected and cherished. -db Who is Dianna Bonny? Hi, my name is Dianna Bonny. It’s my mission to candidly share my journey with you. For me, it’s all about the healing: to create a radiant healing energy for others who have befallen a similar fate. Together, we can forge beautiful lives of belonging and connection. Thanks for joining me today! I look forward to hearing from you.