Jill’s Blog - February 2023
Photo of Jill and Max - Watching a Canadian World Junior Hockey Game ( circa 2006 )
You’ve suffered a traumatic loss by suicide: Now what ?
Please know that I am so very sorry you’re here. It never gets easier to meet people, because they too, have lost a beloved one in this tragic way. I am proud of you for looking into options of support. This is the first step in what is, a life-long journey of learning to live with your grief and joy, hand in hand. It takes a lot of courage to reach out to strangers in your time of great need. I understand this. I remember after the first couple of pain-filled months had passed after loosing my son, Max by suicide, and standing outside of the room where a group of survivors were meeting once per month. I must have looked at the sign and the word “suicide” on that sign for a full ten minutes before I pushed that door open. I felt as if all the blood in my body had somehow risen into my face, and head, and heated up about 50 degrees. I was so angry….this was now my life. I belonged nowhere in the world, except in a room full of strangers. How would I possibly be able to listen to their losses, when I was barely ( BARELY …… ) hanging on ??? I was at my ultimate limit the moment I realized my son had not survived that most terrible of nights, and now I was supposed to connect with other survivors for support ?? What exactly was my counsellor trying to suggest with this madness ??
I walked through the doors of that first meeting; my head was down, and I peeked up just enough to see a table of refreshments. “ I will make a cup of tea. That’s a normal thing to do. If they see me making the tea, maybe they won’t see the depth of pain I am in.” I took a place around the table, and looked down at the flat surface directly in front of me. I was a few minutes early, and people were still gathering. I went alone; my husband was convinced that this would be step backwards. I began to notice people casually chatting together, with ease……
I noticed a woman, maybe twenty-ish years older than myself. Her hair was neatly done, she was wearing some pretty make-up and she had a blouse on that had a cheerful floral pattern. How was she doing this ? She wasn’t gasping for breath as she spoke, and she was smiling with friendliness. She looked like this was just a regular Tuesday night, and not at all like the gapping chasm of hell on earth that was my Tuesday; my everyday ! The meeting began, and I learned she had lost her 21 year old son by suicide, 15 years prior to that meeting. She was one of the facilitators. I met a sister survivor; she had lost her sister 7 years ago, and was also now one of the group leaders. I was hopeful to connect with another mother, and a sister survivor, because I need to ask some questions on how best to support my two surviving children. I don’t remember much of what was said, or shared during those two hours. I do remember the feeling though. I felt my very first faint, spark of a very fraction of hope. I was not alone in this loss, and if they have found a way to survive, then maybe, so too, could I.
Fast forward to the launch of our wonderful new community of hope and healing. I am indescribably grateful for all the people I have met along my own journey of healing ! I continue to learn from, and collaborate with, some of the world’s leading experts in the suicide grief and loss space, so that I can be that beginning spark of hope for my fellow survivors. I am sorry that you are here, and I wish we were meeting for any other reason in the entire world. I am honoured to walk beside you in your time of great need.
WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS MONTH ?
We are always working hard behind the scenes to ensure we are offering a variety of branches of support for our fellow survivors ! First up this month is the launch of this website ! Thank you, Krista Nakonechny of “My Creative Life” for your time, expert advice and guidance, your flexibility working around my busy schedule, and mostly for the on-going support ! Myself and the team are thrilled with your vision !!
Please do register to become a member of our community, and receive all the updates on current support options and upcoming events !
We have three branches of “Healing Together” happening this month:
Healing Together is our drop-in style support option, which is lead by our trained facilitators through the lens of narrative therapy.
HEALING TOGETHER - All types of survivors of a traumatic loss by suicide. AGES 18 +
Thursday, February 2
7 PM - CST
HEALING TOGETHER - Youth and Teen Group
AGES 11-18 years
Sunday, February 19
10:30 AM - CST
MEN’S ONLY GROUP - A group that is designed by men, and facilitated by men, to share the unique experience of male grief.
AGES 18 +
Tuesday, February 21
7 PM - CST
We have on-going support options available as well to scheduled programming. You can contact us to request a one-on-one mentorship session, or have a crisis counselling session at any time.
We are are also working on our Suicide Prevention Project designed for High School Students, teachers and support staff, this month. We will be announcing soon how you can honour your loved one in this historical project, on our website and all social media outlets !
Anything donated in the month of February will be going directly to fund our on-going branches of support and “Gone Away Ones”. Click on that link to learn more about this project, and how to bring it to a school near you !
I few more personal THANK-YOU’S I would like extend are to: Payton Mackintosh - you will find the logo for Payton’s photography business, PM-PHOTOGRAPHY, on our website, and I highly recommend her for capturing all your special moments with her creative talents ! Payton is a student at The University of Saskatchewan, and don’t let her youthfulness be a deterrent to booking her ! When I hear that iconic song by Alicia Keys, I think of Payton ! She is a “GIRL ON FIRE”, and you will love her work as much as our team does !
THANK YOU, to another local young person-legend, Elizabeth McGrath ! Elizabeth is also a student at the University of Saskatchewan, and agreed to be our summer student, with the important task of writing grant funding
applications. Elizabeth was successful in her very first grants, and has secured critical funding for our suicide prevention project designed for High School Students, their teachers and support staff, “ Gone Away Ones”. Elizabeth’s professionalism, business know-how, and impactful, emotional writing skills far surpass any expectations we held ! She dreams big, and she goes for it; and what a result !! Well done, Ellie - we couldn’t be more grateful, or proud you’ve lent your time and talents to our organization !
THANK YOU, Darren Anderson and the entire LOVE MY MIND team ! The connections you are making for mental health initiatives are making a huge impact, and myself, Anjeanette and our team couldn’t be more grateful for your on-going support ! We can’t wait to see what 2023 will bring, with our combined visions, and efforts to help support our fellow survivors, and our new work in the arena of suicide prevention !
THANK YOU, Eric Anderson for helping spread the word on Healing to The Max, Inc. by featuring myself on your podcast, YXE UNDERGROUND. We are so grateful for the connections to helped to make, which in turn, helped
us spread the hope and healing father and wider ! I have been keeping a journal of creative adjectives, for when next we connect on future episodes: Beautiful:
Admirable, Alluring, Angelic, Appealing, Attractive, Beauteous, Bewitching, Charming, Classy, Cute, Dazzling, Delightful, Devine …….. ;)
I have many other thank you’s to extend, but I will keep them for future Blog Posts to share around the gratitude in the coming months of 2023 !
I will be taking a small break at the very end of February to connect with Brian, and practice some self-care prior to the anniversary of Max’s passing at the beginning of March. One of our team is always standing by, 365 days a year, to help lend support ! I will be available to connect until February 28th, and will return on March 9th. I will share a photo or two from my break in the blog for March. It will either be a scene from a tropical paradise, or a winter wonderland ! Air travel in the part of Canada I live in is always a delightful surprise ! Weather can be extreme ( imagine having to wear googles so that your eye balls don’t freeze, kind of extreme ), and that is where we live !
Welcome to this compassionate community. I hate it for you, but you won’t be alone, as you navigate your own journey’s of hope and healing.
Sending much care,