February is the month we think of love and hearts – but if your heart is broken this is a difficult time of year. I read “Hope after Suicide” by Wendy Parmley to learn more about how to support and comfort those who are left behind after suicide and found it very helpful.
In the United States more than 40,000 people a year commit suicide. How can we support those that have experienced the tragic loss of losing a loved one? How can we get through this experience if it happens to us and heal those wounds?
“Don’t let anyone in the bathroom,” her father screamed as he ran out outside in pajamas. As 12-year-old Wendy sat holding her baby sister and keeping the other 3 young children away from the closed door, she was not prepared for the shocking news that her perfect mother had left them.
Most of us have had someone close to us, even in our own family, who has chosen to end their life. There are many reasons for suicide and as the author urges, we must never judge or condemn the person who makes that decision. She learned many years later to forgive her mother who shot herself in 1975 leaving a husband and 5 very young children to deal with her violent death.
She wrote, “How could I go on living when my mom, the woman who gave me life, was gone? How would I grow up and become a mom myself? How could I ever smile again when I felt like running away…?”
After many years of running away and burying the experience deep inside, she decided to open her heart and share her story.
The author hopes to encourage other survivors to forgive themselves and others, open their heart, seek help when needed, and draw closer to God. Her personal journey is painful to read at times, but her triumph will give courage to others who are on that same path. One step at a time through darkness and into the light.