By Debra Stang
Author Eric Marcus is the first to admit he can't answer all the questions. What he does do in his newly revised and updated book, Why Suicide? is take on some of the most challenging questions, the ones that tend to haunt survivors. (Was it my fault? Could I have stopped her?) Marcus's responses seamlessly blend research, expert opinions, and the voices of those who have attempted suicide or lost a loved one to suicide.
The language is straight-forward without sensationalism and each page is filled with empathy, kindness, and a deep understanding. For instance, Marcus is quick to provide reassurance for those feeling guilty about a loved one's death. After explaining that suicide is rarely the result of any one event, he describes it as "the perfect storm at the worst possible time."
Perhaps he is able to write with such deep compassion because Marcus himself is a suicide survivor. His father took an overdose of pills when Marcus was just 12 years old. His father ultimately lingered in the hospital for a few days before passing away. The death certificate listed pneumonia as the cause of death, thus allowing some family members to remain in denial about the suicide.
The book is written with several different audiences in mind. There is material here for people who have attempted suicide, people with a loved one who has attempted suicide, people interested in suicide prevention, suicide survivors, and people who are interested in the subject matter for other reasons. Although each chapter of the book contains valuable information, readers of this blog may want to skip directly to Chapter 7 which is written specifically for suicide survivors. Here, Marcus catalogues the wide range of emotions common to survivors and offers hope for healing and finding peace.
If you're new to the whole subject of suicide and want bite-sized chunks of accurate, easy-to-understand information, Why Suicide? (available in the Alliance of Hope Bookstore) is probably one of the best resources you can find.
You can read more from Eric Marcus on his website.