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Suicide: The Public Exploitation of a Private Tragedy

Earlier this year, I wrote about a personal experience that my family and I went through; it involved suicide. Losing someone you love is always horrible; but death by suicide usually adds a host of other complex emotions to the already considerable grief.

Even if a loved one has what is thought to be a terminal disease, there is still hope — advancements in medicine, a miracle of healing … something.

When a loved one completes suicide, hope evaporates entirely.

On Monday, the world lost Robin Williams, a beloved artist. But, what is so often overlooked by the media in particular is that right now one family is utterly devastated, suffering unimaginable pain. This family lost a husband, a father, a brother, a friend.

These family members may be reliving final interactions with him, repeatedly asking themselves what they might have done differently in order to prevent their current reality.

I know I did.

I endlessly asked myself how this could have happened; were there signs I had missed? If I had been closer to my nephew, spent more time with him, could this life have been saved?

I experienced many emotions after he died: guilt, sadness, pain and anger as well as profound gratitude for who he was. Only through the love I am shown by family and friends was I able to resolve this issue in my heart, soul and spirit. And only with the understanding that he is in the hands of God, now, do I find peace with how his life ended.

I can’t imagine going through that period of my life, my family’s life, with stories of my nephew’s death and life publicly displayed on every news channel, radio station, website or newspaper.

In this current situation, I pray for two things: first, for this family to be surrounded by a compassionate and supportive circle of true friends; and second, for another event to transpire in the world in order for the media to move on, thus ending the hoopla and exploitation of this tragedy.

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