In honor of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, I am posting another installment of my YouTube series Talking About Suicide Loss With… The backstory to how I met this interviewee shows how the things we struggle with most are the things that can truly connect us.
Last month, my good friend and mindful meditation teacher, Brian Shiers, who has been of great support in all my endeavors since I meant him 20 years ago, sent me a posting for Awakin Call, a free ‘weekly global series of deep conversations with inspiring change makers’ on Zoom. The speaker he thought I’d be interested in was Dr. Nandini Murali, a South Indian journalist and author, who had just released a book, Left Behind, published by Westland Publishers, about facing down the stigma, shame and secrecy around losing her husband to suicide in 2017, rebuilding her life, and the importance of opening the conversation around this taboo topic.
Obviously her story and her push to get people talking piqued my interest, given my continued work on The Silent Goldens documentary, but her name also rang a bell. Last September after I gave an interview to an Egyptian website, Masarawy, for Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month, the reporter asked if I knew anyone internationally that could also participate. I didn’t, but contacted author Carla Fine, who I befriended a number of years ago at a conference, who supplied the contact information for – you guessed it – Nandini Murali.
Carla’s book, No Time To Say Goodbye, was written in 1999 when she was unable to find any books to help with surviving the loss to suicide of her husband. Nandini faced the same problem finding resourced in India, but found Carla’s book and reached out to her, forging a quick and close friendship.
Her talk was very powerful and her ability to process the tragedy and move through it very purposefully and thoughtfully was incredibly moving for me, especially since it’s only been four years since her loss. She also spoke about wanting to collaborate with other loss survivors in spreading our mutual message, so I immediately wrote to introduce myself and let Carla know of the coincidence.
A few days later the three of us were on a Zoom call, and a few days after that Nandini and I re-Zoomed to do her interview, which I am proud to post for Mental Health Awareness Month. Carla’s interview was one of my first episodes.
As I read Nandini’s book I find myself nodding along to her pain, but so impressed with her resilience. A must read for anyone dealing with suicide grief and a great read for those mired in any type of grief.
Nandini has also established SPEAK – Suicide Prevention Postvention Education Awareness Knowledge – an initiative of MS Chellamuthu Trust and Research Foundation, Madurai, which fosters safe and supportive spaces to change conversations around suicide and promote mental health.