María Robertson

The Silence of Suicide Grief

Initially, in the aftermath of your death, in those mornings that felt so heavy that my chest hurt and breathing was almost impossible, I would open my eyes and long for slumber to take me again back to that place where you were still alive and the three of us were together. In that oneiric world anything was possible-even undoing your death was possible. But then morning came with the heaviness of the truth. It came with the painful realization of the tragedy that befell you, that befell us as a family, and it was often times too much. The pain was always coupled with the isolation of my grief.

Isolation and Shame

Suicide grief brings isolation coupled with shame. I am not ashamed of you or your suffering. Silence can cause trauma and often times complicates grief. I refuse to be silent about your death. I refuse to be complicit and hide in the shadows of “shame.” That is why this project, this movie that tells the story of your undoing is a matter of life and death. It is a celebration of your life and an attempt to help those that suffer in silence.

Suicide is a silent epidemic

Suicide is an epidemic and it is a silent killer. We must change that. Since I have come to live here in March, I have met seven people who have had a family member complete suicide. Those statistics are too high. The year that Alex died by suicide so did Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade. Alan Krueger, who was the Assistant Treasury Secretary For Economic Policy to Obama and Alex’s professor at Princeton University, took his life in 2019 at age 58.

These cases are the ones that we heard about on the news because they were high profile cases, but what about the others? How many family members became survivors of suicides in 2018? We must break the silence that surrounds this epidemic and we must have difficult conversations about treatments, and medications. Ignoring it, not talking about it doesn’t make it go away; it makes it worse.

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