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When It Takes a Village After a Suicide Loss

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My conundrum: I need Steve now more than ever to help me get through his suicide. In the past, during major emotional upheavals in my life, specifically the passing of my parents and my cancer diagnosis, I was always comforted by my pillar of strength, Steve. He was always able to gently remind me to live in the moment, show me the power of humor or just give me a huge bear hug with his massive swimmer’s shoulders that enveloped me like a protective cocoon. Steve always instinctively knew what I needed from him to help me deal with my emotional pain.

I will never forget the last time I saw my mom alive before she passed from incurable, progressive brain cancer. Steve and I were visiting my mom at her assisted-living facility in Florida and were in the community room with her, where an entertainer was singing the Frank Sinatra classics from my mom’s generation. As I watched my mom in her wheelchair, she was smiling and singing along. Of course, I started crying, wondering how many more days she had left and if I would ever see her again. Steve gave me a big hug and gently reminded me at that moment, my mom was so happy. He said when we get old and were in assisted-living, the entertainers will be singing Rolling Stones and Aerosmith songs.

Now, as I reflect on the huge void Steve’s loss has left in my life, with gratitude, I realize others have helped me fill some of that void. My good friends for many years, Judy, Kathy, Mike and Terry, have been rocks of support for me and do not hesitate to drop what they are doing to help me in any way they can. I have my yoga teachers, Gina and Lauren, to help me focus on breathing and living in the moment. There are my new friends, Anne and Joe, who can make me laugh and smile. Then, I also have my new veteran friends, Ron and his Airborne Tri Team, who continue to inspire me with their positive, can-do attitudes. Finally, my rabbits, who always live in the moment and crack me up with their antics. At times, they give me bunny kisses to soothe my tears (if it suits them.)

Yes, Steve and I will never be able to hear covers of rock and roll songs together in our later years. However, I am so thankful for the people in my life now who will hug me, give me a shoulder to lean on, make me smile or remind me to be present when I need it the most. They do have big shoes to fill, but sometimes, “it takes a village…”

Follow this journey on Slipped Away.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

Image via contributor.

Originally published: September 27, 2016
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