Forgiveness: A Survival Guide for Suicide Loss

You’re about to head down a dark, wallowing hole into the icy waters of grief. It’s frigid there and the air is thick and heavy, making it hard to inhale and even harder to swim. This forced slowness enables the process to take the time it needs to.

You’ll wade through a series of pools called Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and an extra for us chosen ones: Guilt. Each one is deeper than the next until you’re treading water in the last pool, which is filled with Shame and Regret.

Swim forward until you feel the rocky bottom and then pull your weary body out on to the pebble beach of Acceptance. Lie there for a moment and catch your breath. Breathe into this surrender.

Once you can breath steadily again, find a rugged stone to hold and join the other travelers on the beach. Share the scariest parts of your story with them and remember to also listen to theirs. This community bond will light a flame in your heart to remind you that you still have one.

Notice when you have worn down the sharp edges of your story stone and it has become smooth. Be careful not to get stuck here. The more you rub it, the deeper the groove and the more it molds to your hand. Although the pity it holds is soft and inviting, there is no warmth in that stone. It is not capable of love.

Now build yourself a fire of Forgiveness.

Understand that you are not responsible for anyone but yourself. Not anyone else’s thoughts, and especially not their actions. You have as much control over others’ journeys as you do on the tide. For as powerful as you are, you are not the moon.

Sink into your inner wisdom that knows there is no amount of penance you can pay, nor level of sustained pain, that will change her decision or the finality of her death. This will be your kindling.

Give yourself what she could not. And then forgive her as well. Notice who else you may be blaming and judging – and forgive them, too. This is your spark.

Now connect to the deepest part of yourself that knows you are Love. Root into that wellspring of Love through Gratitude and Self-compassion and light your fire!

Warm yourself with Gratitude for the people, lessons and the gifts that float into your life on the wind to fan the flames (and they will come). Find Compassion for the younger you that didn’t know what you know now.

You’re ready – Ignite your torch in these flames and come on out!