The loss of a loved one through suicide is one of the greatest adversities a person can endure.
The emotional aftermath has no defined longevity nor clear point of closure. The ability to handle this adversity and use it for the benefit of others should never be underestimated. Such people are unique and should be treasured, recognised as champions for life and recognised for their tenacious ability to live life to the full in spite of the adversity life has thrown in their way.
Nearly 10 years back, I lost a friend and mentor to suicide. It was a terrible loss, but one which, ironically, I found I could manage through my role as a strategic lead for Suicide Prevention in the Health Sector; I had an outlet…a duty…a defined function…a framework that I could hang my corporate hat and make a difference with.
In 2012, the corporate hat found a new but very similar framework to rest upon when I was handed the opportunity to set up my own forward thinking company; to make happen at a grassroots level what I always hoped for historically from a strategic standpoint and I have never looked back since with the core belief that one suicide is one too many, and there are opportunities across our communities to support people to realise that there are reasons for living.
Many people have said to me that I was brave to jump ship and set up Forward For Life – but I really don’t see this. For me it was the next natural step towards making a difference in an area that I had by chance fell into some 15 years back, an area that effects huge swathes across our communities yet was, and still is deemed by many, as an act that is rare and of little significant consequence.
So what is brave to me in the world of suicide and suicide prevention?
It’s quite simple really – I was lucky. I had a framework, I had a knowledge base, I had connections…I had a “fallback” position. But for most this isn’t the case. Over the years I have worked in this field, It has never ceased to amaze me just how many people have not only been touched by suicide at such a personal level, but how many of those individuals have gone on to utilise this adversity in their life to make a difference for others…to wave the flag of life and all the amazing things life can still hold for us…to be there for people in their darkest most despairing moment…and just be. These are truly brave people – these are our champions for life and the value of it should never be taken for granted but acknowledged for all that it is worth.
So who are these people?
There are so many but just as a starter here are a few…..
Hectors House – Hector took his own life on 20th April 2011.
His friends and family work tirelessly to prevent suicide after their loss. http://www.hectorshouse.org.uk/1.html
Robert Stringer of Hectors House after completing his 10K run to raise money for the national suicide prevention charity CALM – 2014
Suicide Crisis – a voluntary organisation in Cheltenham set up by a woman touched by suicide and supported by volunteers that offers support to people in crisis – all on a voluntary basis http://www.suicidecrisis.co.uk/
Suicide Crisis Volunteers in Cheltenham receiving the SOS Award from Forward For Life and Common Unity (2014)
Cadi Lambert – https://cadi2014.wordpress.com/ who rode the Coast To Coast cycle route (August 2014) in memory of her partner Bob.
Cadi Lambert enjoying a break from the bike training!
Company Director – Forward For Life