Today, September 10, is World Suicide Prevention day – a day dedicated to bring focus on how we can prevent the tragedy of suicide and all the grief and devastation it leaves in its wake.
Last year I read a book that I got through NetGalley and though I was supposed to share a review of it a long time ago, it somehow didn’t happen. However, the book and its author have stayed in my mind and I would recommend that you read it too.
Standing on My Brothers Shoulders: Making Peace with Grief and Suicide
Tara Lal is a full time fire fighter with Fire and Rescue NSW based at Woollahra fire station in Sydney. She was born in North London in 1971 to an English mother and an Indian father, but moved her life to Australia twenty years ago.
Tara Lal’s childhood was battered by her father’s mental illness and by her mother’s death when she was thirteen. Caught up in grief and despair, she developed a deep, caring bond with her charismatic and kind older brother Adam, though he struggled silently with growing anxiety and depression. Four years after their mother’s death, Adam committed suicide.
Grief and insecurity threatened to engulf Tara, but eventually she found, through a dialogue with the words her brother left behind in his diaries, her reason to live.
Ever since her brother’s death Tara held onto his diaries with the intention of doing ‘something’ with them. She remained acutely aware of the tragic beauty in his writing and an overarching sense that he wanted them to be read. Some twenty odd years after his death, the time finally seemed right and Tara began transcribing his diaries. The break-up of a relationship in her late thirties combined with a call to a suicide at work thrust Tara into reliving her teenage grief. So began what felt like a vomit of words onto the page. As the writing unfolded she began to feel an overwhelming sense that somehow by telling her and her brother’s story between them they could shine a light for others as they navigated their darkest days.
An honest and insightful book
Tara loved and hero worshipped her brother and when he took such an extreme step, he left her totally devastated. The book is honest, insightful and I was totally caught up with Tara’s story of loss and survival and how she broke the cycle of grief and despair in her own life.
Follow Tara Lal on Twitter.
Read these articles in Huffington Post and Mail Online to get more insights into the book.
The book includes an Afterword on the possibilities for recovery and growth following a tragedy, written by Miriam Akhtar, author of Positive Psychology for Overcoming Depression.
Buy Standing on My Brother’s Shoulders: Making Peace with Grief and Suicide – A True Story on Amazon
Let’s work towards #suicideprevention
Tara and Adam’s story is unfortunately one that is repeated around the world. Just recently, I wrote about a young girl who commited suicide and how communication and a little more attention to her might have prevented the tragedy. Today, let’s rededicate ourselves to connecting, communicating and care to prevent suicide.
Please read these two posts from bloggers I admire :
Katie Paul – whose significant other commited suicide writes a post for those left behind.
Roshan Radhakrishnan – who writes a post on suicide on this day every year. His post today is here.
Thank you for sharing lovely Corinne x
You’re very welcome, Katie. I had to share it.
Thanks for adding my link to this wonderful post.
The message we share every year seems straightforward – and yet, it needs to be repeated. Because people suffering from it need to come across it at the right moment in time. It may not mean anything today, but a year from now, under trying circumstances, they will value the words they see.
Respect to Tara and Katie for baring their soul on such a strong topic.
This book sounds inspirational to me and the story seems to be thought provoking. Thanks Corinne for bringing it here. Would love to read it.
It’s not an easy book to read, Nikita. But I’m glad I read it. I hope you get a chance to read it too.
Thanks for sharing, Corinne. It would be difficult to read a book like that, but I would like to do it sometime.
Hard to read, even harder to write, I’m sure. But I would recommend it.
It is a difficult subject to read and talk about and therefore the need to talk about it more often. Sometimes a little thing from our part may help prevent someone from taking such an extreme step. Will check the two posts you mentioned here. I had recently reviewed Sriram Ater’s Story of Suicide and it, although fictional was difficult to finish.
It looks like a hard book to read but that’s how life is, isn’t it? And like a book we don’t have a choice when it comes to life. I’d like to pick this one up to read ..
Thank you for sharing Tara’s story and her journey. Life is so hard but only a few choose to not let it go out of their hands.
Darla M Sands
I think I need to read this. Thank you for sharing.
Let me know if you do read it, Darla.
I had once come across another book review, I don’t remember the name, it was something like ‘Why I choose to forgive my daughter’.. it was a mother’s tragic memoir dealing with her daughter’s death.. she had committed suicide.. just reading the review and the excerpt I was so moved..
Every soul needs to be reminded its worth time and again..
Thanks for sharing this post !