Tracey Sherman writes about the loss of her brother, Rick Prince
During the month of November, I celebrate the life of my brother and also mourn the loss of him. It is both his birthday month and the anniversary of his death. Nine years have come and gone without him. When I reflect on these past nine years, I realize how far I have come in my own grief process. When I first lost my sweet brother to suicide in Nov 2004, I was distraught, traumatized, horrified, paralyzed and devastated beyond words. I could not imagine ever feeling any differently than the way I did. I truly believed that I would feel that intensity of emotional pain for the rest of my life. I was riddled with anxiety that I would feel that way forever.
I needed to take action so I wouldn’t stay stuck in that horrible, painful state of mind forever. I felt compelled to learn everything I could about suicide and depression. I could not accept something (suicide) that I couldn’t understand. So, I read every book I could to help me with my understanding of how this could have happened to my family. This was my way of coping. We each find our own ways of coping and as I always say in group, “there is no right or wrong way to grieve”.
Several years after my loss, I began facilitating suicide loss groups for Family Service Leagues program, Joe’s Project and then for COPE as well. The combination of my own loss, all my gained knowledge about depression and suicide and my social work degree helped me to help others who were experiencing a loss due to suicide. The more I helped others, the less I focused on my own loss. Without a doubt, the intensity of my grief has lessened significantly over the past nine years. Whether it is through a job or volunteer work, giving to others is a powerful coping skill that cannot be underestimated.