Confessions of a Suicide Survivor
Inside a candid support group dedicated to helping New Yorkers cope with the crippling emotions that arise after a loved one takes her life.
I was the newcomer to the group, along with Elizabeth. I guessed she was in her late forties, but sorrow has a way of making age indeterminable. Elizabeth had just lost her son, Charlie, that month. She found Charlie after he hanged himself in her garage. (All names used in this story have been changed to protect subjects’ privacy.) Before the meeting, we were both escorted into a side room off the hall, away from the group. A counselor explained to us how the system worked, and asked about our loved ones and ourselves. Elizabeth had a hard time speaking through her tears. We were given name tags and ushered into the group. Everything I had anticipated and concocted in my mind about what was next to come turned out to be wrong.
I have known five people who have committed suicide. The first was a college friend who hanged herself when we were both in our early twenties. She was the ultimate overachiever, never satisfied with her performance. In my thirties, …
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