Welcome to the
Pennsylvania Adult/Older Adult Suicide Prevention Coalition
AOASPC is a resource, not a hotline or counseling center
In Crisis? Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Support For Survivors
AOASPC is dedicated to providing support to individuals who lost someone to suicide.
Remember, you are not alone. Click here to read My Brothers Legacy...
- The Survivors of Suicide, www.survivorsofsuicide.com
- Survivors of Suicide web site helps those who have lost a loved one to suicide resolve their grief and pain in their own personal way. The website also contains local meeting lists in the tri-state Delaware Valley area, and other helpful contacts and information. http://phillysos.tripod.com
- The Dougy Center National Center for Grieving Children and Families, www.dougy.org
- The mission of The Dougy Center for Grieving Children is to provide support in a safe place where children, teens and their families grieving a death can share their experiences as they move through their grief process.
- Friends for Survival, Inc., www.friendsforsurvival.org
- Friends For Survival, Inc. is an organization of people who have been affected by a death caused by suicide. The organization is dedicated to providing a variety of peer support services that comfort those in grief, encourage healing and growth, foster the development of skills to cope with a loss and educate the entire community regarding the impact of suicide
We encourage you to share your story with others, and to find support in those who understand what you are experiencing. The following account of survival was not written by someone who decided against suicide, but rather by someone who has struggled with a family members decision to take his own life.
It was Saturday, two weeks after Christmas and the day after my mother's birthday. My brother had been fired from his job as a nurse in the local hospital the day before and had received a speeding ticket on the way home. He took his wife to work in the morning, promising her he wouldn't do anything and that he'd be OK. He was supposed to take his 7-year-old daughter to a birthday party in the afternoon --- they were at my mother's house (he worked nights for years and slept during the day). He didn't show. He was supposed to pick up his wife at her job. He didn't show.
He was found in the backyard, having shot himself. I remember thinking, if you could be considerate enough not to do it indoors and mutilate yourself, couldn't you take it a step further and not do it at all???
He left behind a wife, whose first husband died in a tragic accident and whose own father completed suicide, plus two young children, a 7 year old girl and an 8 year old boy. I remember one of the first things I said to them was that it had nothing to do with them and it wasn't their fault. I know they'll struggle with this for a long time. Along with our mother, whose brother completed suicide, another brother, and me.
In the following days, I was amazed by the lack of acknowledgments or condolences or anything. Of course, being a sister, I was the "forgotten mourner" and the attention rightfully belonged to his immediate family. But nobody would say anything at all to me when I would run into them. I could count the number of sympathy cards and phone calls on one hand. It was as if my brother never existed.
I still struggle to understand this. Does suicide announce to the world that something was wrong, somewhere, somehow and we just want to avoid that? Are they afraid of bringing up the subject and upsetting you? Can you possibly be more upset? I don't know, but I do know it robs the survivor of the opportunity to talk to somebody, to try to make sense out of a senseless act, to cry, to scream, to grieve.
I was astounded, and I still am, by the ripple effect his death had. It was like a rock that is dropped in a lake, with a concentric circle of family, friends, and coworkers who rocked with the news. Every single person his life touched was affected by his death. Perhaps he felt his life was insignificant, I know there have been times when I have felt the same way. I must confess there were numerous times when I considered suicide and thought it was an option. I no longer do. I don't want my legacy to be guilt, self-doubt, sadness, shame, a feeling of failure. I don't want people to be afraid or unwilling to mention my name. By having witnessed this, I now know that no life or person is insignificant or invaluable. And that one life interacts with countless of other lives; if you kill yourself, none of those lives will be the same, and you kill a part of them too.
I have relived that weekend thousands of times. I cannot begin to count the variations I have played in my mind, along with the "what ifs, why didn't I, how could I have, if only, I should have. . ." I don't know if a few words from me would have changed the outcome. But I would have liked to try. I wish I had been given the chance to at least try to change his mind. Instead in a clouded moment he made hasty decision. A moment that will last a lifetime.