November 17 is International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day—a day when people who’ve lost a loved one to suicide come together at over 360 gatherings around the world.
Here, in the words of past attendees, are ten reasons to attend a Survivor Day event.
1. Because you will find connection.
“It was incredibly helpful to hear about the losses that others have experienced, and share my own. It’s not often that I am able to connect with others on that level, and it was very comforting to be in the company of those who truly understand what it means to lose someone to suicide.”
“In the group sharing, I found a connection that I’d never experienced before, outside of my family. It was the first time I’d been in a group of survivors, other than my own family, since my dad killed himself 25 years ago.”
2. Because you will find a safe, supportive space.
“Simply being in the same room as so many other survivors was incredibly helpful. The space felt very safe and I felt like I could express any and all the painful emotions that I was feeling. Everyone was so supportive and comforting.”
“The Survivor Day event was the first time I have been able to let down my guard.”
“It was especially nice to sit together and have a meal like a normal group.”
3. Because you will learn that your feelings are normal.
“It gave me a chance to talk with other people that have gone through or are going through the same thing as I am. By doing so, I got to find out that the things I am thinking and feeling are actually quite normal, and that there is nothing wrong with me.”
“Hearing everyone else’s feelings made me feel like I wasn’t crazy for feeling the way I do.
4. Because you will find hope.
“You can enjoy life again. Survivor is a great word and I feel like one.”
“I attended with much sorrow in my heart, and today I feel a little lighter!”
“The group sharing was beneficial and uplifting. Ultimately I left with a feeling of encouragement and hope.”
“Attending Survivor Day has made it possible for me to carry on. Seeing how a room full of people dealt with their losses, and had the same questions I did for decades, I felt hopeful for the first time since it happened.”
5. Because you will learn things to help you cope and heal.
“I didn’t learn just one thing to help me move forward in my grief: I found many, many things.”
“It was so helpful to realize there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way of dealing with suicide loss. I have learned to be less judgmental and have more empathy.”
“Important topics were addressed, and even though I am a long time survivor, hearing each person’s perspective in their own words went a long way in helping me to further define my own feelings.”
6. Because you will find resources.
“I learned about programs and resources I had no idea were available.”
7. Because you will help others.
“I felt like I was able to offer some help to a recent survivor this year. This is the first time I realized I had something to give back.”
“As I was the person in attendance who had been surviving suicide the longest, I was able to share with more recent loss survivors that although the pain and grief remain, you can make it through.”
8. Because it can bring you and your family closer.
“I learned a lot about how to speak better with my children about the loss of my sister.”
“I think this was a big turning point for my husband.”
“It helped me and it helped my husband to understand me better.”
“My brother and sister attended Survivor Day activities in other parts of the country, and it was comforting to me that we could debrief on the same content.”
9. Because our Survivor Day films tell stories that resonate and inspire.
“I really enjoyed the film. It touched on everything that I was feeling at this very moment in my grieving. It shows that the sadness and anger do not last forever. Life does go on in time.”
“I felt as if I knew the people in the film. Some of the things they described about their loved ones were exactly what I had thought or felt about my daughter.”
10. Because you will find comfort.
“Everything had a wonderful, fuzzy feeling of comfort like a big, enriching hug! I enjoyed and valued every minute.”