Samaritans on Cape Cod and the Islands is proud to announce that on September 15th our center will begin a collaboration with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to assist in answering the large volume of calls the NSPL receives. Don’t worry! We’ll still be the same Samaritans you’ve always known with the same phone numbers and wonderful volunteers. But now we’ll be able to provide support to more people who are struggling with loneliness, mental health issues, and suicidality. Many thanks to our wonderful staff, volunteers, and countless others for working so tirelessly to make this a reality. Samaritans on Cape Cod and the Islands Crisis Lines: 508-548-8900 and 800-893-9900 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline : 800-273-TALK (8255)
Managing Grief During a Pandemic
- There are different ways to say goodbye. Unexpected endings tend to bring strong emotions, often anchored in both the present and the past, when we may have felt abandoned or left behind. There are different ways to say goodbye. Write a letter to your loved one, even if you end up being the only one who sees it. If your loved one has died or is in a place you can’t visit, hold an intention for them in your mind, and say it aloud as you think of them throughout the day. One of my favorites is, “May you feel my love for you and be surrounded by peace.”
- “The last sentence of the book doesn’t rewrite the entire story.” Years ago, following the loss of someone dear to me, a wise person shared these words with me. It reminded me that even though I was unable to be with my loved one when he died, I had a book full of lines to draw upon that were the story of our life together and of our relationship. Many of those lines were expressions of our love, moments we shared together, conversations and memories. Remembering these feelings and these moments is how we get a sense of who the individual was; who we were with them; and what the relationship was—all of which surpasses their final moments. Right now is a good time to reflect on those earlier, better memories as best as you can, to remind yourself of the full picture of their lives and your connection.
- Connections can deepen over time, even after loss. My father died 14 years ago this week. In the early days and weeks following his death, all I could remember was the image of him sick, and the trauma I associated with that. As time passed, my memories of him unexpectedly became richer and more accessible than they were in those early days. The images of him being sick began to fade away. I can now more easily remember his laugh and his jokes, and recognize the similarity between my daughter’s eyes and his. I also feel more connected to how he must have felt as a parent, now that I am one, myself. These are newer, deeper connections to my father, ones I couldn’t have anticipated at the time he died.
- You are not alone in your grief. Know that others are also experiencing grief right now, and that there is support available. Online grief support, and grief support provided by mental health professionals, hospice centers and faith groups are all accessible to you, many via telehealth and other virtual platforms. You can learn about options for grief support by connecting to your local mental health providers, faith organizations or hospice, or through one of the following national resources: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1800 273-TALK (8255); Crisis Text Line: text TALK to 741741. If you are struggling with the loss of a loved one to suicide, even one that occurred prior to COVID-19, AFSP has our Healing Conversations program, which provides peer-to-peer phone or video contact and resources for those struggling with suicide loss.