Saturday, November 22, is International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day

Throughout the  fifteen years since our son took his life, I’ve met many folks in person and through  groups on Facebook who like me are survivors of suicide loss. So, I thought I’d remind all of us that tomorrow, Saturday, November 22, is International Suicide Survivors Day, an event always falling on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. I did a little research about how this day started and found out that Senator Harry Reid introduced a resolution to the United States Senate which led to the creation of National Survivors of Suicide Day in 1999. Senator Reid is a survivor of his father’s suicide. Every year since the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention sponsors the International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day. The AFSP website says:

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day is the one day a year when people affected by suicide loss gather around the world at events in their local communities to find comfort and gain understanding as they share stories of healing and hope. On this 16th annual Survivor Day, suicide loss survivors will attend events at more than 265 locations across the US and internationally to watch AFSP’s compelling new documentary The Journey and to find strength in the knowledge that they are not alone.  

AFSP invites you to:

*Get involved

Learn more about AFSP’s Survivor Day program at SURVIVORDAY.ORG.
Explore this MAP to find and register to attend an event near you.  These local events are open to the public. 

*Watch The Journey

AFSP’s new documentary tells the stories of a diverse group of suicide loss survivors. It’s a compelling film that shows how each survivor is weathering the loss of a loved one, and how they are finding their way back to a life rich in meaning and even joy. WATCH THE TRAILER.

*Contribute to AFSP’s Digital Memory Quilt

On Survivor Day, AFSP will launch its new Digital Memory Quilt program.  Suicide loss survivors everywhere are invited to share personal stories honoring the loved ones they lost using videos, photos, and words stories that will serve as squares in our electronic quilt.  Contribute your story at SURVIVOR DAY QUILT.

*Join Survivor Day LIVE

For those who cannot attend a Survivor Day event in person on November 22, AFSP will host an online screening of The Journey, a moderated panel discussion, and a Q&A about the film as well as the challenges of living in the aftermath of a suicide loss.  Join us online for SURVIVOR DAY LIVE.

New eBook Cover

New eBook Cover 

To find out how my family and I survived our son’s suicide, please read my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On: A Mother’s Memoir of Living with Her Son’s Bipolar Disorder and Surviving His Suicide (Dream of Things, 2012) A recent reviewer wrote: “This is an amazing book, on so many levels. It is a loving and honest tribute to the author’s son, Paul, who committed suicide at age 27. It is beautifully written and highly readable; after the first few pages I was hooked. It is wonderful how she takes us along on her journey of surviving such searing pain and hopeful the way she ends it with her other son’s wedding in the garden. The pictures and poetry throughout the book enhance the whole experience. As a therapist, I would especially recommend this book to other parents of children who have killed themselves, but the author’s courage and truthfulness were deeply inspiring to me and would be to anyone.”


  1. Thanks for sharing this Madeline. No doubt I thought so much of you the other as to seek on how to purchase Paul’s music. I am doing that this very morning. My one big wish is that someday the term “committed suicide” is changed to reflect reality. They take away their lives and not commit a crime. It is no crime because they can’t be punished period! It is the survivors like you and the thousands others who are left behind to tell pale tales all your lives!

    • Madeline Sharples says

      I agree with you, Marie. Someone actually used the term suicided instead. Unfortunately, whatever the term the result is the same – the death of someone we love very much.

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