Today, September 10, is World Suicide Prevention day – a day dedicated to bring focus on how we can prevent the tragedy of suicide and all the grief and devastation it leaves in its wake.
Last year I read a book that I got through NetGalley and though I was supposed to share a review of it a long time ago, it somehow didn’t happen. However, the book and its author have stayed in my mind and I would recommend that you read it too.
Standing on My Brothers Shoulders: Making Peace with Grief and Suicide
Tara Lal is a full time fire fighter with Fire and Rescue NSW based at Woollahra fire station in Sydney. She was born in North London in 1971 to an English mother and an Indian father, but moved her life to Australia twenty years ago.
Tara Lal’s childhood was battered by her father’s mental illness and by her mother’s death when she was thirteen. Caught up in grief and despair, she developed a deep, caring bond with her charismatic and kind older brother Adam, though he struggled silently with growing anxiety and depression. Four years after their mother’s death, Adam committed suicide.
Grief and insecurity threatened to engulf Tara, but eventually she found, through a dialogue with the words her brother left behind in his diaries, her reason to live.
Ever since her brother’s death Tara held onto his diaries with the intention of doing ‘something’ with them. She remained acutely aware of the tragic beauty in his writing and an overarching sense that he wanted them to be read. Some twenty odd years after his death, the time finally seemed right and Tara began transcribing his diaries. The break-up of a relationship in her late thirties combined with a call to a suicide at work thrust Tara into reliving her teenage grief. So began what felt like a vomit of words onto the page. As the writing unfolded she began to feel an overwhelming sense that somehow by telling her and her brother’s story between them they could shine a light for others as they navigated their darkest days.
An honest and insightful book
Tara loved and hero worshipped her brother and when he took such an extreme step, he left her totally devastated. The book is honest, insightful and I was totally caught up with Tara’s story of loss and survival and how she broke the cycle of grief and despair in her own life.
Follow Tara Lal on Twitter.
The book includes an Afterword on the possibilities for recovery and growth following a tragedy, written by Miriam Akhtar, author of Positive Psychology for Overcoming Depression.
Let’s work towards #suicideprevention
Tara and Adam’s story is unfortunately one that is repeated around the world. Just recently, I wrote about a young girl who commited suicide and how communication and a little more attention to her might have prevented the tragedy. Today, let’s rededicate ourselves to connecting, communicating and care to prevent suicide.
Please read these two posts from bloggers I admire :
Katie Paul – whose significant other commited suicide writes a post for those left behind.
Roshan Radhakrishnan – who writes a post on suicide on this day every year. His post today is here.