|Survivors Of Suicide (SOS) started in October 1982, after the conclusion of the Fox River Valley Conference on Suicide held at Aurora College in Aurora, Illinois. Eight people were in attendance at the first SOS meeting. Today, people continue to join us for our monthly meetings, and the mailing list for the SOS newsletter, mayday, continues to grow.
SOS Retrospective and Invitation
by Stephanie Weber
I don’t think I can improve on my feelings from other years. SOS grows and moves forward. God bless us all.
I quote from one of our own, Evelyn Roberts, when I say, “membership in this group comes with a stiff membership requirement.”
The price for membership in SOS is too high. None of us would have been willing to pay the price if we’d been given that choice. The “dues” to join SOS are not measured in dollars and cents: the dues are measured in the loss of a life and our attempts to make sense out of that loss.
It has been 27 years since eight of us joined forces and held that first SOS meeting on October 26, 1982. Five had lost daughters, one a son, one a husband, and one a mother. All had taken their own lives; they died by their own hand; they died by suicide. Not one of those women would have chosen to pay the dues to be part of that group.
They did choose, however, to exercise their rights as a part of the group. They came together out of a need, out of a bond that formed at a suicide conference. Though membership in the group was thrust upon them, they decided to take what was left of their shattered lives and see if, in sharing their pain, they could heal.
Twenty-seven years later, there are meeting nights when our circle of chairs seems to be almost pushing out the walls of the meeting room.
Twenty-three years later we began to give two books – free – to each new survivor. Those books are purchased with donations made by other survivors and friends.
We continue to come together to celebrate the fact that SOS works. We celebrate the fact that there is healing in sharing. We celebrate the fact that we, as a support group, have survived.
October’s is the only meeting of the year that I consider an “open” meeting. If you are a friend of SOS but you have not paid the ”membership fee,” feel free to join us anyway for October meeting. We will welcome you and rejoice with you that you are not eligible for membership.
If you have not been with us for a while, come back to visit that night. Help us to remember our roots.
Yes the price of membership in SOS is too high. Yet, we take what we have been given and we do the best we can with it. We did not choose for someone to die, but we did choose how we would live in the wake of that tragedy. We have chosen life.
Let us join to celebrate our personal victory over death. Through the death of someone we loved, we resurrected the “life” of SOS. We arose like a phoenix out of the ashes. We have survived. We are survivors!
Out of the ashes.. A Phoenix
Survivors of Suicide Rises to the Need
“Suicide.” You hear that word spoken of a friend or loved one – and now you-feel-as-if-you-just-want-to-die!
Survivors of Suicide (SOS) is a support group open to anyone who has experienced the loss of a relative or a friend through suicide. We share the common trauma.
Survivors Of Suicide exists because surviving the death by suicide of a loved one, a family member, or a friend is different from a terminal illness, accidental causes, homicide, sudden illness, or natural causes. Why is this so?
SOS can help you through your grief, your ache, your struggle to wholeness.
SOS: A Safe Place
Survivors need a safe place to explore their feelings of grief and anger, to raise questions and doubts.
Some survivors have attended an SOS meeting the day of the funeral. Others have come a few months after; some, a few years later. There is no timetable for grief.
Excerpts from the opening words of SOS meetings
“Welcome to this circle where we hope you may find space to grieve, to search, to listen and reach out.
Each one of us brings here a story: the story of our brokenness and sorrow, the story of our survival, our need to get more out of life.
We come here to be with people who understand our struggle and our hurt: they too have tears in their hands and pain in their hearts.
This is a sacred place where we can explore our feelings: our loneliness, our shock, our anger, our guilt, our sadness or whatever is hurting us inside. This is a place where we can share our humanity and find strength and inspiration in each other . . .
Although we remain deeply wounded people, let us find comfort and healing in what we believe and in our ability to care for each other.”
— Father Arnaldo Pangrazzi, Chaplain
St. Joseph’s Hospital
Learn More about SOS
Contact us for more information about the Survivors of Suicide support group.