Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, and never far from my thoughts, is my beautiful brother Dan. I speak about him often, recount his life with love, and his death with sadness.
I have previously spoken about surviving suicide, but not on preventing suicide. It is the one topic that literally makes me feel nauseous. How do I possibly contribute to a discussion on prevention, when my brother chose not to continue with his life. How do I have a seat at the table when I still, to this day struggle with the belief I failed this beautiful, amazing individual. I know it is not my fault. Yet on days like this, that overwhelming wish, that the outcome was different, trickles to the surface.
Today on World Suicide Prevention Day, the theme is to take a minute, change a life. So how would I spend one minute.
My first reaction, my very first thought, is that I would take a minute to connect. My biggest and darkest regret is that I did not take my brothers calls on the night he died. Busy with life, I let the phone ring. Like most evening, I was juggling dinner preparations, helping the kids with their homework, tidying the home, getting kids to bed, catching up on work emails…….. it all could have waited. Not for a second do I think that this was the reason for his death. In my blog on surviving suicide I quoted “I remember someone saying to me “you could have sat in a concrete bunker 24×7 with your brother, and the one time you walked out to go to the bathroom, it would have happened”. You cannot blame yourself for the decision taken by another to stop living. It’s not your fault.
But not hearing his voice, not taking time to connect with my best friend haunts me. That one phone call could have given him peace, calmed his trouble mind for a moment. I could have let him know he was loved. Always loved.
And so, if I were to take a minute of time, I would make that phone call, respond to that call or message, send that text or email, and connect with a person who needs it. Ask if they are OK, let them know you care, let them know that they are not alone.
And for those of you, like me, who continue on the journey of surviving suicide, today is a day to take a minute to light that candle and honour the love your loved one gifted to your life. To honour their memory.
And then, to take one minute more to check in on you. This is a lifetime journey of grief and survival. It is a lifetime journey of surrendering to the memories of happiness and love, and letting go of the sadness that envelopes your heart like an open wound. It is a minute of time to remember you are going to be OK and that this life is worth living.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Michelle Zamora is a Marketing Leader with a passion for business strategy, data, content, customer insights and engagement, and developing awesome talent. Views expressed are her personal, individual and unique perspectives, and not that of her employer.