When A Voice Goes

So I found out yesterday that Amy Bleuel died.

You may not have heard her name before, but it’s likely you know what she did. She founded the Semicolon Project. You know, the movement where people who have dealt with suicide, or self-harm, or mental illness of any kind, where a semicolon represents the choice to keep going. Instead of a period, full stop, a semicolon is a pause; it joins two thoughts and keeps on going.

Only Amy full stopped.

This is really hard for me.

My daughter identifies with the rich symbolism of the semicolon. And so, I do, too. For her.

I’m sending my deep condolences to her family and friends, and to the millions of people who have taken comfort in that little punctuation. She did so much, and her project was a lifeline to many.

So what do we do when someone who was a voice of hope, is silenced, and when there are strong suggestions that the voice chose to be silent? If she died by suicide, how do we reconcile that with the message she shared?

I read a beautiful post this afternoon on The Mighty that speaks to this. We keep going. We try harder.

IMG_6474

I feel so strongly that we have work to do. When families suffer the loss of someone they loved so deeply, when people feel like breathing another breath is just too much agony, when there is this pain, we have work to do. When someone who convinced others to hang on lets go herself, it shows us that we still have a long road to walk in combatting suicide.

I’ve been playing with some ideas in my mind about how I can do my part. I still don’t know what that part is, I don’t know what role I’m supposed to play, and I don’t know what it’s going to look like. But for a long time, I’ve felt like I just have to, in some way, work on suicide prevention. I’ve been so lucky. No one I love has died by suicide. But, to borrow another line from another article I read recently (that I can’t find the link to), the difference between being touched by suicide and not shouldn’t come down to “luck.”

We need to do more. I need to do more. I will figure out what that “more” is. Amy’s death is one more that shouldn’t have happened, and has left so many people broken-hearted and questioning, left to figure it out.

And I’m left counting my blessings, counting the love around me.

 

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2 thoughts on “When A Voice Goes

  1. Thank you for your words. By writing your blog, you are doing something. Perhaps there is more for you to do, only you can know this.

    I have only read this blog so far, so I don’t know your full story, but it sounds like you are a strong beacon of hope for your daughter and that IS so beautiful and so important.

    My son has struggled with suicidal thoughts and during his darkest days, I remember feeling so incredibly helpless to help him. For us, talking was crucial. I am still learning how to hold space for his emotions, which can be seemingly all consuming at times. Much too much for one person to keep bottled up inside.

    As for Amy. We can never know her full story or the internal struggle she fought. What we do know is the confusion, pain and sadness that is left in the wake of her death.

    We each have a choice every day. Amy’s semi-colon was a representation of that choice for me. Sometimes it can feel as though the choice does not exist and what a lovely reminder (the semi-colon) that there are brighter, clearer days ahead.

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  2. I did not know who she was, and I regret that. I’m so saddened to hear of her passing 😢 Your piece was a beautiful tribute, though – her passing may not be in vain because of beautiful souls like you 🌺 Sending you comforting thoughts ❤️
    ~The Silent Wave Blog writer/Laina 🌟🌟

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