No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less….
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.
month I’m visiting my daughter on the island of Kauai. Perhaps that is why Donne’s words popped into my head. I’m in an “island state of mind.”
I visit Kauai every year or so and thanks to the miracles of technology, usually continue to work while on island. Earlier today, I spoke with two survivors via Skype. Each had called to seek support following the recent death of their sibling. One had lost a brother … the other a sister. Each was devastated and struggling. Swept away by anxiety and daunting emotions, each had taken time off following the death and was now a bit concerned about returning to work.
Anyone who’s ever lost a loved one to suicide, will recognize their plight. Funerals had taken place. Friends had gone back to their lives, but grief was still raw. Pain was severe and realty was sinking in. Someone dear had died by suicide and as a result, their own lives now seemed unrecognizable.
New survivors almost always ask: “What can I do?” “How does one get through this?” My ex-husband and I asked the same questions during a visit to our minister the day after my stepson died in 1995. We desperately searched for something, anything to change the realty and ease the pain. During our visit, I recall thinking that our minister who’d lost a son three years earlier, should have had something “more helpful” to say. I understand his silence better now. Sometimes there is little to say other than “I am so sorry.”