The first blog I posted on this website, A Year of Firsts, was about good coming out of bad with a quote from actress Delores Hart: “One’s deepest wounds integrated become one’s greatest power.” Actress Mariette Hartley shared those words at a conference for long-term survivors of suicide loss when I was just opening up about my mother’s death and developing the idea for The Silent Goldens documentary.
It crystallized my feelings upon discovering how the tragedy of my mother’s death left me with a story to tell and the power to help others that have been affected by suicide. Everything I went through, everything I learned along the way (including television production) came together and will allow me to, hopefully, make a strong impact advocating for survivor support in a way that is unique to and comfortable for me. But it did take 30+ years to get here.
Our current coronavirus crisis has left me, like so many others, flat broke and unemployed and I have no idea what’s on the other side. I watch too much news and continue to be crushed by the number of people dying alone and in pain and the stories of relatives who didn’t get to say goodbye and now are grieving alone. I also fear the suicide rates will be increasing dramatically when the crisis passes, especially for those who were thrust into the front lines.
My goal in sharing my family’s story on film is to get people talking about the bad stuff and, though it specifically focuses on the unique burdens suicide loss survivors face, I think it will be a helpful guide to approaching tough conversations in general. It feels particularly urgent now to get it done.
So I am taking the “gift” of time in lockdown to begin a rough edit on the documentary with the interviews I’ve already filmed. Doing so has not only made me feel productive, but watching all the conversations makes me feel like I’m spending time with my family. Hearing about my mom in general has me reminiscing about the way better times of my childhood.
From July 30-August 2, the AFSP is holding their second national summit in Cleveland and I am schedule to give a workshop about breaking the silence. I have not yet heard if it is cancelled and I’m not asking because I don’t want to know. It was at the first one that I was convinced this documentary path was the one to take. I think with the trauma surrounding this virus will have a deep affect on many for years to come and I feel like this film will be a helpful tool as everyone everywhere tries to regroup and move forward.
I think it will take a long, long time for many to find a gift in this pandemic, but the spotlights on the people out there sharing and caring and the stories of how medical staff and communities everywhere have pulled together are evidence it is already happening. People are finding such touching and inspiring ways to help and show support for others that it does give me hope for humanity. We just need really to keep the lines of communication and our hearts open.
Wishing you good health!
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