Check out Frame of Mind

heart and homeThe wonderful editors of the Huffington Post Canada blog have put together a month-long series on teens and mental health, entitled Frame of Mind, which you can access here. There are a number of first person-stories and many focus on suicide.

As you know, suicide is a global epidemic that calls for our awareness, education and compassion. This series is a great start in that direction. Do check it out. New articles will be added regularly.

“For Grief” by John O’Donohue

This beautiful poem is by the late, great poet, philosopher and holy man, John O’Donohue. His words safely and soulfully wrap the tear-stained in understanding and comfort. In his inimitable way, John blesses those who know all too well the deep well of grief.

For Grief
     by John O’Donohueleaves water light

When you lose someone you love,
Your life becomes strange,
The ground beneath you becomes fragile,
Your thoughts make your eyes unsure;
And some dead echo drags your voice down
Where words have no confidence.

Your heart has grown weary with loss;
And though this loss has wounded others too,
No one knows what has been taken from you
When the silence of absence deepens.

Flickers of guilt kindle regret
For all that was left unsaid or undone.

There are days when you wake up happy;
Again inside the fullness of life,
Until the moment breaks
And you are thrown back
Onto the black tide of loss.

Days when you have your heart back,
You are able to function well
Until in the middle of work or encounter,
Suddenly with no warning,
You are ambushed by grief.

It becomes hard to trust yourself.
All you can depend on now is that
Sorrow will remain faithful to itself.

More than you, it knows its way
And will find the right time
To pull and pull the rope of grief
Until the coiled hill of tears
Has reduced to its last drop.

Gradually, you will learn acquaintance
With the invisible form of your departed;
And when the work of grief is done,
The wound of loss will heal
And you will have learned
To wean your eyes
From the gap in the air
And be able to enter the hearth
In your soul where your loved one
Has awaited your return
All the time.

When you are the survivor of suicide

sad young man

Suicide is not an easy conversation. Period. It is weighted with the feelings of real or perceived judgment and taboo.

Survivors search and seek for answers and clues about the thinking and feeling behind their loved one’s choice to irrevocably end it all. How could this be? Why did this happen? What caused this? What was the tipping point? Didn’t you love me and the kids enough to stay? What could I have done differently? Why aren’t you here? You know it was their choice, but you still feel responsible — in a conflicted, connected way — and wonder if you could have done anything to change the outcome.

For the survivor, suicide is unbelievable and surreal. It is a game changer. Your life is permanently altered. It is the day time stands still. It is the day you stop taking a full breath. It is, alas, the day people can avoid you; talk about you; and, even, blame you.

Continue reading here:

Love and courage in today’s world

Given the world events — be it terrorism, sudden deaths, weather disasters — everything feels terribly fragile right now. The world feels smaller and scarier. Who knows what will happen next? We hold our breaths and wait with fear tightening our hearts.

Whether we like it or not, each and everyone of us are connected as we share this one great blue-green planet bobbling in the multiverse. And now, we need each other more than ever. St. Paul reminded us “to fight the good fight” and I suggest that means holding the light and not succumbing to the depths of fear and panic that can erode our spirits.

So let’s take a walk on the wild side. Let’s be gutsy and brave. Let’s be counter-intuitive and open our hearts. Let us unite in the courage, tenacity, and fortitude of love and peace.

May it be so.