My guest on this week's episode was Gabrielle Doucet, RN, Energy Healer, Survivor of Suicide Loss and Author of Let Go & Let LOVE: Survivors of Suicide Loss Healing Handbook. When her son Drew, took his own life, Doucet plunged into grief. The earth shattering grief left in the wake of suicide is multi-faceted with emotions, unanswered questions and social stigma, the weight of which is immeasurable. In her book, she shares her journey forward, the steps that helped her navigate towards health, gratitude and love while moving away from anger, resentment and regret.
"I found the way to keep from endlessly trying to comprehend the why of losing Drew to suicide, and instead I managed my life in response to it. That still small voice in my soul told me that I did, and still do, have choices that I can make that meet my needs and move me forward every single day. Tools of survival existed that helped keep me from the crumbling. Tools I still use today - years after Drew's passing. I am stronger now than ever before."
Love really is at the center of it all. Grief and love are inexplicably tied together, for there would be no grieving if we didn't love those we have lost. Gabrielle highlights the importance of love from all angles, especially inward. In the midst of grief, trauma and stress we always have a tendency to put ourselves last on the list of priorities. We need to remember - even if it's only for five minutes a day - that we are the most important thing in the world. Yes, even you! Starting inward is key to healing and finding the strength to move forward.
On the show, Gabrielle expanded upon the Seven Tools for Survivor Healing, that are very eloquently explained in her book:
1. Intention: a simple statement that captures what you would like to have, become, achieve or be; a positive desire that you are working on, but not yet worked out. It involves your thoughts, emotional input and mindset - not your muscles.
2. Deep Breathing: by breathing deeply, you allow your body to engage the stressor coming to, or at you, decrease your physical reaction to it, and allow the brain tissues to get the oxygen and nutrition you need to get through to the other side of it.
3. Gratitude and Appreciation: Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive. Find a way to be thankful for your troubles and they can become your blessings. Gratefulness can give you a perspective 180 degrees away from anger, fear and pain.
4. Silence, Meditation and Release: Silence and meditation calms the mind and allows us to have a voice from the inside out, when most of the voices we receive are bombarding us from the outside in. Release is purposefully and immediately letting go of anything that no longer serves us.
5. Allowing and Zero-judgment: When we Allow we are recognizing, through deliberate action and understanding, everyone's given right to have a thought, opinion or personal declaration. Done perfectly, this process includes Zero judgment - no one is right or wrong - just different. I don't have to own yours and you don't have to own mine.
6. You manifest what you think: "The mind is everything. What you think you become" (Buddha) Words are so important - what you think and say is exactly what you get. This is the basic philosophy of the law of attraction.
7. Be in the Now Moment: This is Mindfulness; where you are being very present in what you are thinking and feeling, using absolutely no energy toward judgment. Your thoughts are not concerned with the past or concerned with the future - it is only Now.
The conversation speaks for itself, but having the opportunity to share a room with Gabrielle, I can attest to her incredibly genuine, loving nature and healing presence. To anyone seeking guidance in their loss, you can get information on Let Go & Let Love, read her blog and are welcome to reach out directly to Gabrielle at survivorhealing.com
We discussed many elements of the social stigma that seems to always come with suicide. This stigma especially is a topic that I have personally vowed to keep bringing up until the stigma is shed. Gabrielle has a lot of insight on all of the dimensions of stigma associated with suicide and offers this list of 10 Things You Can Do That Will Help A Survivor of Suicide Loss:
- Always look the survivor directly in the eyes.
- Tell the survivors that you love them, and that you loved their loved one.
- If you don't know what to say, tell the survivor that you are without words, but you possess honest loving presence and support for them.
- If words fail you, touch. Hold hands, hug from the heart, stand with them, stand behind them, touch shoulder to shoulder.
- Remember, this is not about you; If you feel the need to vent, you should choose someone other than the survivor to spill any angry and hurting thoughts, as righteous as they may be.
- If the survivor wants to talk, be quiet and listen. Speak when asked - your silence is not a bad thing.
- Reflect when invited to do so. Walk down memory lane when they say they are ready.
- Please don't be curious and ask questions everyone will regret.
- Accept humor. Humor on the part of survivors is not a bad or irreverent response. It is very healing.
- Remember the survivor, long after everyone has gone home. Their pain and isolation remains, often for years. Continue to reach out, even offer tangible invitations - the attempts will remind them you care and one day they will accept.
The Silva Lining is thankful for our wonderful sponsor, St. Anthony of Padua Credit Union. We are proud to be sponsored by such an incredible bank, that in an age of conglomerate banks treating people like numbers, maintains a relationship with its members based on trust, friendly service and loyalty. With competitive rates for savings accounts and various loans, St. Anthony of Padua can handle all of your financial needs. Convenient online banking and more information at www.stanthonyofpaduafcu.com