top of page

Healing From Suicide

It's taken me a long time to be able to write about this. My first experience with suicide was when I was 14. A student in my younger brother's class killed herself with her father's gun. Everyone was so incredibly confused, heart broken, and also angry. At first, the finger was pointed to her parents for having a gun in the house. Then it was pointed at her classmates for bullying her. It was all so awful. I remember riding the bus home thinking, "Why is no one pointing the finger at her?"

While a student in college, a dear friend of mine sat across from me one evening in a crowded bar and said, "I don't want to live anymore. I don't want to live without her. I'm going to kill myself." I did not accept this statement and replied, "No you're not. She's not worth taking your life over, Mike. She's not worth it. Please don't say things like that." He looked at my and nodded his head like he understood my words, but five minutes later he left our table to go get drinks for me and our other friend without saying anything to us again. Sadly, he didn't come back. The bar was busy and there was a line of people getting drinks. I thought only five minutes had passed, but it could have been ten when we realized he wasn't in the bar. We went on a mad hunt for him all over our college town, but I knew what was happening. This surreal moment in time when I felt he was leaving us, and I couldn't do anything about it. I was running towards the bridge when I heard sirens. It was too late. He jumped off of the Westover bridge and drowned. In one evening, I went from being a happy go lucky teenager to blaming myself for the death of my friend, not knowing how I could ever accept the role that I played in this tragic outcome. The irony of it all was that a year prior to his choice of location, I lost a dog in the same way. My sweet little Sydney had ran away from home with my roommates dog and we couldn't find him. They got caught in traffic, crossing the bridge and didn't know where to go. The bridge towered over a river and a park that had a beautiful trail along the river for people to ride their bikes or walk. There were flower boxes everywhere with tulips and daisies, peonies, and poppies. Apparently, onlookers watched in horror as two dogs, one Shar Pei mix jumped first, and then a small black and white collie mix, Sydney, jumped after her. Somehow, she made it. He did not. Sydney hit one of the flower boxes and died instantly. I'm so thankful he didn't suffer.

For thirty some years, I couldn't talk about it. I blamed myself for not stopping him. He was right across the table from me. I could have said something different. I could have went to get the drinks myself. I could have called his family. I could have went with him to get the drinks, or at least checked on him earlier than the ten minutes it took us to realize he wasn't getting us the drinks. I could have got up and went around to the other side of the table and hugged him so he knew that other people cared for him deeply, that he deserved better. I could have, I could have... I could have done a thousand other things than what I did.

Death is always hardest on the living. I've said this many, many times as I navigate how much death I've endured in my short time on this planet. In the 51 years I've been here, the death of people and animals close to me and even those not so close to me seems to stick to me as if I'm supposed to know what to do with it. I'm working on that part of my life and also how to help others flow through the loss of someone they love. Grief work is powerful, freeing and oh so life changing. I know because I did my own grief work. I was finally able to speak about Mike's death after spending two years working through a certification program (Just google Melisa Pearce). I was finally able to slide up against my vulnerable side, the one that was so ashamed of what I thought I should have done. I thought I was supposed to save him because he was my friend and we were so close. A woman broke his heart. An older woman who was using him and manipulating him, but he fell in love with her. He felt he was only worthy of her dysfunctional love. The kind that kept him yearning and heart sick over his own decisions. Then, without warning, she left him. She went back to her husband and family. She said, "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have had an affair with you. I don't love you. I don't want to be with you anymore." His heart broke into a million pieces. He had never been in love before. He didn't know how amazing the ride was and then how you could be chewed up, destroyed and then left to heal on your own. He wasn't able to give himself enough time to sit with that broken heart of his and heal. He felt like he couldn't live without her. I often wonder why I said to him, "She isn't worth it." I often wonder if that was what I shouldn't have said because in his mind, he said, "Yes, she is. And I will prove to her how much I love her."

Imagine how hard it was for me to live with that every day. I said something that could have been the reason he took his own life. Through my own depths of personal work, I came to the conclusion that I am only responsible for my own choices. I cannot be responsible for someone else's choices. I still feel like I am put in these unique situations for a reason which is why I wanted to get certified in trauma informed care and become an Equine Gestaltist™. I know now that I NEED my horses to be present with me - because their awareness of a person's energy, where they are stuck, and how that person is REALLY feeling, is so much more powerful and accurate than I could ever be as a coach. I listen deeply to my clients and to my horses. My horses pop things into my own awareness that I don't always understand, but when I speak them to my client, it makes such a profound difference to their own healing, I am confident that I must continue to SPEAK even when I might not understand the outcome.

Suicide is rapidly becoming a pandemic in our world. I am part of the population that lives with the ripple effect of it's consequences. My story is common these days, but my story has also brought me to this point in my life. I've met with so many mothers, fathers, friends, siblings, and coworkers that are effected by the heartbreak and confusion that comes with something so earthshattering. I understand. I'm here for you when you're ready to speak. If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please call 988 to speak with another person. A real person. There are MANY ways to heal through the trauma of suicide. There are also so many ways to prevent it. Educating ourselves and listening - slowing down and listening could be the difference between who's with us today and who's not. If you're interested in learning more about suicide awareness please visit one of my favorite non-profits:

20 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page