The excerpt above is the beginning of my new book, Surviving Ben's Suicide: A Woman's Journey of Self-Discovery. When my college love from Sarah Lawrence, Ben, took his own life, I was left in the wake of his suicide. I found that there was tremendous silence surrounding suicide, and that others could not or would not talk about my loss with me. I wanted desperately to read someone else's true story of how he or she had lost a girlfriend, boyfriend or spouse to suicide and had gone on to rebuild his or her life. To my astonishment, there were no memoirs about surviving a partner's suicide. They simply did not exist! In fact, there was very little literature about surviving a loved one's suicide. Years later, Carla Fine's groundbreaking book, No Time to Say Goodbye: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One was published, and it opened the doors of communication on the subject of being a survivor of suicide.
But until my book was published, there were no full-length literary memoirs on the subject of surviving a partner's suicide. That upset me, because I knew that there were millions of suicide survivors in this country alone and hundreds of thousands of those were people like me, who have lost lovers to suicide. In my view, the single most important thing for suicide survivors to do is to talk to others about their experiences and read about other people's journeys, rather than endure their personal misery by themselves.
The process of publishing my book and talking to readers about it has made me want to discuss some of the subjects surrounding my experience in my own blog. I am really looking forward to sitting down most days with a cup of coffee--and probably a chocolate or two, because I can't live without chocolates--and pondering a new question.
While doing radio interviews for Surviving Ben's Suicide, there have been important and thought-provoking topics that have come up again and again. I would love to explore some issues in future blog posts such as:
- whether suicide is selfish or not
- is there a finite time in which one should grieve?
- why is guilt and shame such a tremendous part of surviving a loved one's suicide?
- why is suicide the second leading cause of death for college students in the USA?
- why does society not have an easier time helping survivors of suicide work through their grief?
- why is there such silence and stigma surrounding suicide?
- the importance of balancing control in our lives
- and so much more...
My hope is that you will comment or ask questions so that we can have some discussions on the issues above in the weeks and months to come. Please join in or email me at email@example.com. I'd love for you to visit my website, too: http://www.comfortshields.com/. It is partly under construction, but there is still some info available there.