Sharing grief and Preventing death by Suicide

The last several days have rocked the hearts of many as two student survivors and the father of victims of the Newtown and Parkland school shootings have died by suicide. It’s no secret that grief is a horrible emotion that is difficult to recover from. Having been personally affected by the emotional toil of death by gun violence, it has taken me years to reconcile the violent deaths of my mother and nephew by gun violence and my brother by stabbing. Even after receiving legal justice against those who committed the crimes, the grief was and is still somewhat overwhelming.

I recently shared with student survivors and family member survivors of the Parkland school shooting and was moved to tears as a father lamented a US Representative’s attempt to link the heinous act of violence committed against his child and other students to that of crimes committed by persons who were deemed to have entered this country illegally in a clear partisan attempt to garner support for a border wall. This of course was not well received and considered by me as a very disrespectful and dishonorable act. This makes the deaths by suicide of those whose loved ones were taken in senseless acts of gun violence more tragic. Many Americans wrestle with the issue of gun violence reform but every American should be engaged in the issue of gun violence prevention. We can no longer allow this demon of gun violence to terrorize our homes, communities, cities, states, and country. We can provide support to those who have been impacted by gun violence. We can show as much love and passion for those individuals as we may have towards our position on the gun issue.

Grief can be difficult and challenging even for the most emotionally intelligent and spiritual individuals. If you or someone you know might be at risk of suicide, or would like to speak with someone about how this news has impacted you, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers help 24/7/365. Anyone can call and talk with a crisis line specialist at 1-800-273-8255.