Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Aftermath of a Suicide

Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Aftermath of a Suicide

Article excerpt

Aftermath of a Suicide THE RIPPLE EFFECT: Invisible Impact of Suicide By L. Savoie 2014, Laurie Savoie

REVIEWED BY MARITA DELANEY

The Ripple Effect refers to the ongoing impact of suicide on families, friends, and colleagues who have lost a loved one to suicide. This compilation of letters, essays, poems, and songs that were developed at the request of 19-year-old Garrett's mother, explore not only the stages of grief but the depth and breadth of psychic pain engendered by this loss. The disorientation and confusion of survivors is palpable on the page: rage, sorrow, despair, and self-questioning, as well as wisdom that emerges in surprising places. Garrett's teenage friend comments in his letter that death is "very likely the single best invention in life ... It is life's change agent."

The Savoie family was shattered by the loss of their 19-year-old brother and son. He was a child with challenging behaviors, and it is revealed in the letters that his mother had a prescient sense of how ill-suited he was to live in the world. He had a neurodevelopmental disability (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and addiction struggles, but neither explains his death. This is the chasm of understanding that the book's many contributors point to repeatedly. Garrett's deeply attached and compassionate family is unable to explain his death. An agonized "Why?" exclaims his devastated mother to her friend after his death. The mystery of death, amplified by a human being's deliberate choice, pervades the text as the voices reveal the ripples, the waves upon waves of attempts to understand and give meaning to his act of self-destruction. …

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