by Nina Bingham
In 2013 my daughter committed suicide at age 15, because she’d become severely depressed after the death of her father. My daughter hanged herself in her room while we were sleeping. I’ve lived almost two years without her now, and I swear, it does get easier. Though my heart will always ache, I've been rebuilding my life, which is what you have to do when a storm demolishes you.
Since I’m a “wear-your-heart-on-your-sleeve” kind of gal, and since I’m a writer, I decided to journal about my journey through grief. The journal turned into a whole book, just published: Once The Storm Is Over. It’s an autobiographical confession of my struggle to come to terms with being unable to save my daughter, and learning to love myself again.
My life came to a screeching halt the morning I discovered her body. I wanted so badly to hold her tiny lifeless body before they took her away, but I couldn’t. I wanted so badly to scream, "You knew better than this--you were loved!" I began to wonder if the world would be better off without a mother like me, who had failed so miserably, even though I had tried so hard. Like many survivors, I considered suicide.
As many of us who’ve lost a loved one this way also do, I pored over details of my life to try to find what could have led us to this horrendous event. I took a hard look at my own painful past: an abusive alcoholic father, a failed marriage, the rejection I suffered after coming out as a lesbian. The work of writing my book was healing and it brought about a transcendent experience, a three day visitation from my daughter who caused inexplicable and sensational phenomenon to occur. My daughter as ghost writer and I have a message for anyone facing depression with suicidal tendencies.
Now I’m glad I stuck around to see how my life would end. I have changed. I have grown, and I have learned that I am not a bad person. I am just a person with weaknesses and faults like anyone else, and it’s okay to be a counselor and still be human. But I had to learn this, because I was taught in counseling school to have all the right answers, and my life had to look perfect in order to help anybody. I found out that was not true. I’ve helped more people than ever before, because now I’m not hiding behind the façade of a “know-it-all.”
You may be wondering how to get through your own storm. I can only tell you that you will--that time heals, and you will find yourself again, and find a new life waiting there for you, once the storm is over.
Your sister survivor,
Nina Bingham is a Life Coach in Oregon and the author of several published books. Her new book is available for purchase here: Once the Storm is Over,