This is a Really Real Widow Post.
Yesterday was 2 years and 6 months since Parker died.
It was also the first 8th of the month, in quite some time, that I didn’t commemorate by posting something about suicide awareness.
I’m only about an hour late though. The day was super busy and it got away from me, and honestly, I was too busy living to sit down and write about death.
I’m not really sure what great advice to give about suicide awareness this month.
There’s not one grand theme I want to write on. I guess there are a few little things.
It’s the holidays, and while a lot of people think the holidays are the hardest time of the year, they actually aren’t, typically, because people have access to more social interaction, activities, and distraction. (Spring and Summer have the highest suicide rates.) But even one suicide is too many. The more of us that are trying to help reach out, the better. At the risk of sounding like a cheesy commercial, you can make a difference.
Here’s a short list of things you can do.
1.) Check on your friends that are hurting.
Don’t count on someone else to check on them, and don’t just assume they’ll be okay because they’ve been okay before. Just say hi, tell them you care and are there for them.
2.)Shut up and listen. Don’t try to fix their problems, just be an ear.
3.) Don’t tell people that they have to stick around because of how much they’d hurt you if they died. Don’t try to guilt them into living. Instead, point out that they are loved and cared about and that you want them in this world.
“I love you and care about you and I want you in my life.” is worlds better than “How could you think about doing that to me, you would hurt me so much.” Suicide isn’t about you.
4.) Ask how you can help. Sometimes there are specific tasks that would be helpful, sometimes there aren’t. Sometimes it’s as simple as “Don’t leave me alone right now.”
Ask, because sometimes reaching out for help is the hardest part. When someone reaches into my darkness with an offer of help, it bridges the gap.
5.)Just be there.
You don’t have to do anything. Just climb into their blanket fort with them and be present. Show them they aren’t alone in this fight.