8 Years in Heaven
Today, the 33rd anniversary of my daughter's birth, my editor asked me to write a forward to my book. She wants me to explain why I wrote this book now and what I want the audience to get out of it.
Here is what I have so far:
I'm writing this book as a retrospective diary to honor - and reflect upon - my grief journey thus far. As with any diary, some entries are boring while others are powerful and enlightening. Some are angry. Some hopeful. All are mine: my thoughts, actions, and feelings - then and now.
I hope that parents who've lost children to suicide will find some solace in my diary. I hope that attempt survivors will stay to tell their stories - because they are the key to finding a cure. I hope that readers who might be considering suicide will be able to find something within the pages to help them stay alive.
In part I simply want to get my grief, and the thoughts and feelings that come with it, out of my head and onto paper. I also want to leave an artifact in case anyone ever seriously studies suicide loss survivors in years to come. Because other mothers books have helped me so much, I want to let other mothers see inside my journey and maybe feel a bit less insane. Writing this is my way to tie up my years of learning about mental illness, suicide, postvention, and advocacy in a neatly wrapped package to store on a shelf. I want to move on to practicing resiliency full time and leave this hard work to younger people. I want to garden, play with my grandkids, crochet, and write stories. I feel selfish to want out of what I've been doing since my daughter died, but I do. That's what is real.
I hope for the book to be helpful, hopeful, informative, and cautionary. I want people to know that healthy other-care and self-care is essential. I want them to know that grief comes from love and it is forever.
My research reasons for writing Green Beans:
I believe that neoliberal market-capitalism drives suicide in supporting profits over people and is responsible for the total lack of life habits research on attempt surivors.
I believe that the church drives suicide by adhering to nonsensical dogma that was instituted 1,500 years ago during high level councils. There is far too much scientific research into physical causes for suicidal thinking for the church to continue to shush and shame the suffering and their families.
I want to honor the astonishing contributions of peer advocates in their struggle to advance what they know is healing. I want to acknowledge that the field of suicide prevention needs to be turned over to survivors, both attempt and loss survivors, because these are the experts.
I want to make sure that the costs of suicide are what is finally driving the government freak out of losing 45,000 Americans every single year.