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When someone takes his or her own life, it is a tragic event, leaving many loose ends. For those surviving a loved one's suicide, life afterward is a perilous matter, to say the least. As the authors of The Unbearable Sorrow: When Suicide Hits Home write, "One of the most difficult things we must acknowledge as survivors of those who have taken their lives is that some of our questions may not find a satisfactory resolution." Questions like "How could this happen?" "What more could I have done?" "What more should I have said?" are the earnest pleas of suicide's survivors—those left in the tumult of emotion and confusion after a loved one has ended his or her life.

This sensitive subject is the topic of a new booklet from Project Connect. The irrevocability of suicide leaves people reeling in its wake, searching for answers, desperately grabbing for anything that makes some sense of the event. A whirlwind of emotions, along with the debilitating mental funk that ensues, can put survivors into their own sort of tailspin, searching desperately for answers that may never come.

Opening with a recollection of a final conversation between friends on the eve of a suicide, The Unbearable Sorrow follows this exchange, until the friends say good-night—and one of them ends his life. Sadly, this tragic finale is more frequent than we would like to imagine. At least four suicides occur nationwide every hour in the United States. Those surviving these deaths, it is estimated, include at least six other people; chances are that number is much greater. You may know a suicide survivor; you may be one yourself.

Compounding the questions and the struggles for explanations, survivors experience anger, shame, depression, hopelessness, and the nagging fear someone else they know might commit suicide too. These hurdles can be overwhelming. "Being alone with the memory of your loved one's suicide is a dark and lonely place where the suicide can become an all-consuming obstacle to move forward," one of the authors writes. Addressing this, the booklet seeks to provide spiritual insight on the topic of suicide, citing biblical accounts of individuals who took their lives. It also offers help to those who themselves might be considering suicide as an option to their present circumstances.

Written by Suzie Sallee, coordinator of witness tools, and Rev. Wayne Palmer, theological writer and editor for LHM, this Project Connect booklet examines the complex phenomenon of surviving a loved one's suicide. It concludes with spiritual insights into how God works through all things—even the devastating act of losing a loved one to suicide. You can find this and dozens of other Project Connect booklets at

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