I Am Not a Suicide Loss Survivor
(c) by Emily Boller
Photo credit: Yaro Photography
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and for the next thirty days my Facebook newsfeed will be inundated with articles related to the topic.
Unfortunately, I automatically joined a club several years ago that I never signed up for—and somehow through the algorithms of Faceook my name was added to the spam list for suicide loss survivors. (There’s even a day set aside annually as “National Survivors of Suicide Day.”)
And I get it. I truly do. There is strength in numbers and help in awareness.
However, I attended a suicide loss survivors’ support group a couple of years ago. I was looking for hope—encouragement that I’d eventually get through the incredible pain. Instead, I walked away from the gathering feeling even more discouraged and hopeless.
I recently heard a woman speak on the radio who was labeled a “breast cancer survivor,” because she had valiantly survived the onslaught of a radical mastectomy, chemo, and radiation—and was still alive today due her victorious fight combined with God’s supernatural healing.
Then she realized one day that she didn’t want to wear the label of ”breast cancer survivor” anymore. She didn’t want to wear the pink ribbons, pink pins, and pint t-shirt as everyone had expected her to after such a courageous battle and eventual cancer-free diagnosis.
She was grateful and overjoyed to be cancer-free, but she didn’t want to stop there and focus only on being a survivor for the rest of her life.
Instead, she wanted to focus her energy on living again. She had places to see and adventures yet to experience.
And, I feel the same way today about surviving a suicide loss.
On the day my 21-year-old son died, he wasn’t scheming, How can I shatter my family’s hearts into a million pieces and make their lives as miserable as possible?”
No, I guarantee you that his very sick mind succumbed to: How I can I stop this excruciating pain as quickly as possible?
It. Was. One. Terrible. Day.
Trying to piece back our lives, one miniscule shard of glass at a time, has taken and will continue to take focus and grit—along with God’s help and a tribe of prayer warriors—in order to completely heal from the entire ordeal.
But I’m not going to embrace the label of “suicide loss survivor” for the rest of my life.
I’m not going to let one terrible day define me.
A death by suicide happened . . . but it is not who I am.
In fact, I refuse to wear any affliction as my badge of identity.
On the contrary, my name is Emily. I am a fighter—a Princess Warrior of the Most High God.
I contend daily for freedom, optimal health, and well-being in all areas of my life: spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional.
I thrive today, because I am confident in God’s goodness to me; that He has the best plan for my life, and I have a future that is full of hope in Him.
In other words, I have dreams to follow and mountains to climb with God!
Here’s to scaling mountains and viewing breathtaking summits ahead!
Note: I eventually found The Compassionate Friends; a community of support for grieving parents. They provide a safe place for parents to grieve the death of a child, but they also offer tremendous hope and practical tools for getting through the dark valley.