The Console Celebration of Light held at St Oliver’s Church in Clonmel heard a personal reflection on the profound impact that suicide has on those left in its wake.
“Suicide is a death like no other; and we that are left behind to struggle with it must confront a pain like no other.
We are left with the shock and the unending ‘what ifs’. We are left with anger and guilt. We are left with questions from others, both asked and unasked, about why we are left to the silence of others who are horrified, embarrassed or unable to cobble together a note of condolence, an embrace or a comment, and we are left with the assumption by others and ourselves that more could have been done”.
Those words were spoken by Paddy Cummins, the deputy chairperson of the Community Suicide Awareness Workers in South Tipperary (C-SAW), which was formed by a local group of people bereaved as a result of suicide.
He said the challenge they faced every day was to accept the reality of the loss; to find a way to process that special pain and those awful questions; to try and adjust to a world without our loved ones; and to find an enduring connection with the deceased in the midst of trying to embark on a new life so full of challenges.
“Every one of us grieves and mourns in very different ways. We speak about closure, and some of us struggle to find closure because of personal or family circumstances, or circumstances surrounding our loved ones’ death. We are all human, and that means we feel pain and have anxiety and mental torture about all the challenges we face in this life. Learning to cope is a struggle of magnanimous proportions that takes a lot of our precious energy. Sometimes we are good at coping and sometimes we are not so good. We all have our good days and bad days. The most important thing to remember is that the pain of loss that we are now experiencing is included as part of our journey of life and does not become our focus of life. This extra road should not become the only road we travel, but should become part of all the other roads we include in our journey as we make our way through life”.
Paddy Cummins said that coming together on the wonderful occasion of the Celebration of Light gave all in the community an opportunity to support each other and walk beside each other, so that we all know that we are not alone in our personal and challenging journey.
“All of us should stand up and hold our heads high, be that key player in our life’s journey; don’t be a spectator, get fully involved in our future, celebrate our loved one’s life and hold their memory in that special place in our heart forever. Time will put distance between us and the pain we now feel, but the fond memory that we have of our loved ones will last for ever. Make this memory a very special memory and celebrate this memory as part of our life, without making this memory our entire life”.
One third of the C-SAW committee has lost a family member to suicide over the last number of years. This committee works tirelessly on behalf of the local community in raising awareness of all aspects and elements of suicide and its aftermath by delivering information, material and key rings with specific emergency information contact details. C-SAW is facilitating the HSE Safe Talk Programme of training, which is free to all who attend in the Clonmel Park Hotel. Anyone interested in taking part in this training should contact C-SAW’s Breda Hewitt on 087-9702291. The group will also host the Cycle for Suicide in Clonmel next May.
C-SAW invites the public and in particular young people such as Transition Year students to bring forward any constructive ideas they have in the area of suicide awareness and prevention. This will enhance the support services provided by the group to the community.
C-SAW may be contacted though chairperson Joe Leahy on 086-2606988 or deputy chairperson Paddy Cummins on 086-9371030.