September 10th of every year is World Suicide Prevention Day, and while most of us would rather not think about suicide at all, it has increasingly become everyone's problem. The World Health Organization predicts that by 2020, someone will die by suicide every twenty seconds. Forever changed we survivors are, and charged with the greatest of challenges~how to harvest the pearls beneath the turbulent waters of catastrophic grief and help reduce suicide's horrible numbers.
Our remembrances of our loved ones lost to suicide can be tinged with guilt, remorse, regret, gratitude, love, confusion~the entire gamut of human emotions. If we are willing, however, to look beneath the surface of our deep sorrow, our grief comes bearing gifts. Such as the gift of affirming the preciousness of life. The gift of learning and practicing forgiveness, toward ourselves and others. Realizing the dire need to treat ourselves as well as others with gentleness and lovingkindness. The gift of learning what's important and what isn't. And the potent reminder of our need to de-stigmatize mental illness, and to help make this a more compassionate world for all, as we come to realize how profoundly connected we are with one another.
We can dream of a time when there is no longer a need for World Suicide Prevention Day, but until such a time, we can and must harness our authentic power to learn and share the lessons of grief and loss. They are also the lessons of love, joy and gratitude. The human experience encompasses all that is, and we cannot receive one set of experiences without the other.
May we all stop and take pause on September 10th, wherever we are, and wherever we might have been, to light a candle, say a prayer, or simply remember with humble appreciation the silent ones who have entrusted us with the sacred task of learning and teaching suicide's lessons. It truly is a matter of life and death.
**If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the Suicide Prevention Hotline @1-877-727-4747. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger of harming him or herself, call 911 or go the nearest Emergency Room in your area.**