Suicide Survivor's Top Ten Things To Do (or NOT Do):
SHARE YOUR STORY
I realize I already said, "Keep a journal." That's the place where you include every single detail, down to the miniscule. Write all the goriest details of your journey in your journal/diary.
Figure out your "safe people." These are the people you can say anything to. You can cry, scream, cuss, confess and pray with these people. These people are the ones who don't judge you, no matter what. You'll probably only have one or two of these people in your life during your loss (or ever). They can handle your grief. They will process it as a listener and they'll only guide you when you ask or when you're sinking so low that a rescue is necessary. You can over-share with your people, your tribe (as the hipsters say).
At some point you'll over-share with someone who isn't your BFF. You'll meet for coffee and you'll end up spilling the beans. You'll feel a little sick to your stomach for the diarrhea-of-the-mouth that just happened in the conversation. Over-sharing is uncomfortable, for you and for the person you're sharing with. You have to edit to decide what is helpful to others, to meet their current need. Yes, our darkest places can be a light shining on other's paths keeping them from falling into the same holes we've inched our way out of. Sometimes sharing an inch of the story to help the person standing in front of you in loss and need is better than sharing the ten-mile-journey. You might share your ten-mile-journey with them over time, but when they're only into their journey a quarter of a mile, you don't have to point them to mile marker seven. It might send them into the fetal position sucking their thumb in the corner of Starbucks. And no one wants that.
I inched my way into sharing. First with my BFFs. They're the only people I talked to for the first several months. Then with my Pastor. Then with a few close friends in my church family (small group tribe). Then with my grief counseling group. Three and a half years after Dad's death, my Pastor asked me to share my story on a Sunday morning, two services, over a thousand people. I edited. I shared. I cried. But I told the story. Best of all, I got to tell the story of how God brought me and my family through it all. HIStory. (Yes, you just got punned.) I told them about how faithful God was during every twist and turn. I told them that without my heavenly Father, I'd never get to see or hold my earthly father again. I got to share the Gospel. I shared the greatest story ever told, the story of Jesus. Oh how I love to tell the story!
This Sunday I get to share that story again with my friend's church across town. I'm so excited that I get to offer them the hope of the Savior who conquered death. I'm so humbled that God lets me open my mouth and offer Him praise. If you're willing to share and bear your heart, He'll give you a captive audience. Be ready for it!
Share your story.