Friday, November 20, 2009

I am a survivor

November 21st is National Survivors of Suicide Day. A day for those who have survived losing someone to this horrible disease. When I first heard of a "Suicide Survivor's Support Group" I was confused. Why was I labeled a survivor. I didn't attempt suicide, I didn't pull the trigger and survive. I certainly was not a survivor. I was a sister who lost a brother, I was traumatized by the very act of his death, I was living in the aftermath. I was not a survivor. Or was I?

The dictionary defines "Survivor" as any of the following:

1. To remain alive or in existence.
2. To carry on despite hardships or trauma; persevere.
3. To remain functional or usable:
4. To live longer than; outlive.
5. To live, persist, or remain usable through.
6. To cope with (a trauma or setback); persevere after

Maybe I was a survivor? That was a very big maybe. I still wasn't convinced. After all I didn't have cancer and beat it, I didn't walk away from a car crash, I didn't narrowly escape a burning building, I didn't survive a damn thing! My brother died at his own hands. He did not survive. My brother suffered pain, depression, loss, despair. My brother found that he could not go on. My brother thought his only resort was to end it all. My brother did not carry on despite hardships, he found he could not remain functional, he felt useless, he didn't outlive any of his siblings, he could not persist, cope, or persevere. He was not a survivor.

November 21st is not about those who died. At least not directly. It is about the people who are still living. Still living with the pain of losing their loved ones existence. It is about the people who are carrying on despite the trauma of replaying that very act of me when I tell you just because you didn't witness the act your mind will play it like a movie anyway. It is for the ones who function when they just want to crawl under a rock. It is for the people who cope, who live, who persist, who persevere. It is for the people who use their loved ones tragedy to continue to spread the word about suicide prevention, for the ones who refuse to let the memory of their loved ones die when their life was taken by this horrible disease.

National Survivors of Suicide Day is for those who have survived this goddamn awful disease we call suicide. It is a day when millions of people will unite in spirit & strength, in prayer & hope, in telecasts & teleconferences. A day when millions of people who have never met will come together to beat down this awful disease. Suicide is the cancer that we will beat, it is the car crash that shatters our lives, it is the fire we will put out.

I WILL live in the existence of suicide, I WILL carry on despite this devastating loss, I WILL persevere, I WILL function & be useful to this cause, I WILL outlive the pain, I WILL persist, I WILL cope, and I WILL do all of this because I am a survivor!

My heart is with all of those who are amongst those that this day honors, you may not feel this day is for you, you may feel you are not worthy of being called a survivor, you may not feel like getting out of bed on this day...but you WILL. You WILL survive this!

If you, or someone you know, is in suicidal crisis or emotional distress please call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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