I’ll never forget being in the car with my mom who was driving us home one afternoon when she heard the sirens of the fire trucks. “Oh my God, oh my God, I hope it’s not our house!” and she stepped on the gas and floored it. It was like she was in a panic and couldn’t get home fast enough. I told her I doubted it was our home, but I don’t think she even heard me – she just wanted to get home. It wasn’t our home, and when she pulled up and saw it wasn’t, she breathed a huge sigh of relief and gave a shaky smile. I was a teenager then and thought most of her behavior was suspect, but this incident stayed with me.
Eventually I pieced it together. Five years after my mom was born in Germany, Hitler came to power. She was 17 when the war ended. If you google top ten bombing raids of WWII, my mom’s hometown, Kassel, is ranked number nine with 80% of its population gone by the end of the war. She lived through many bombing raids,...
The recent death of Kate Spade has once again put suicide front and center in the news. I’m happy to see better reporting – at least what I saw on TV was good – they didn’t mention the method and they provided the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s number at the end of the segment. But all of this still affects me.
I’m not only an attempt survivor, I’m a loss survivor as well. I lost my brother, two uncles, a cousin, a high school friend and a college classmate to suicide. Not to mention all the people I knew in recovery who took their own lives, usually after a slip of some kind. So whenever I hear of another person dying by suicide, I am deeply, deeply saddened. I know what the journey for those bereaved by suicide is like and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. The pain, the guilt, the anger and anguish, the always wondering if you could have done something differently.
I’ve likened my grief and...
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