The loss of someone we love or care about is difficult to bear in any circumstances. Grief is complex enough, and to be bereaved by suicide is another thing altogether. Certainly in my 6 years as a Community Celebrant, working with families to prepare and deliver farewell services and life celebrations, everything about the experience feels different.
Until less than 60 years ago, committing suicide was a criminal offence. Many religions still condemn it. Little wonder then that there is an element of taboo around the subject in our society. People do not always know the steps to walk in or what to say when talking to someone who has been bereaved. This is amplified when the death is by suicide.
It is therefore perhaps no great surprise to find a recent study, the largest ever undertaken in the world, has identified various adverse affects in response to being close to someone who takes their own life, many on-going, and a lack of appropriate support resources available.
Performance poet Jenny Berry has used her talent to highlight some of the issues raised in the study. This one “They Say Nout” focusses on the stigma experienced by those bereaved by suicide.
The report from the study, “From Grief To Hope” can be read in full here.
It’s a grim and painful subject to contemplate, but nevertheless an important one. The report does make some recommendations and so it seems approriate to end with another poem by Jenny, this time a message of hope.