A single letter can speak a million words.
When a loved one is lost to suicide, those of us left behind constantly think about what it is we should have said, could have said, want to say now, will want to say in the future, will never get the opportunity to say. The words that we will never share with those we have lost pile up and weigh so heavy on our hearts. The gravity of suicide presses down on those of us who have to carry the burden of a life without a piece of our souls and causes a kind of pain that cannot be fathomed unless one is unfortunate enough to be inducted, involuntarily, into this terrible club. The number of members grows by the day, by the minute. Each of us would give anything to be able to say what we needed or wanted to say to our loved ones.
Project 488 is an outlet for those of us who have unspoken words to be able to say what we our piece and try to gain peace. A way for us to reach out to those we have lost and explain what it means to be left behind. A way for anyone who is considering suicide as an option to realize that their pain doesn’t end with the ending of their life, that it only transfers to those who love them.
The mental illness suffered by people who consider, attempt or succeed at suicide convinces the unwilling victim that they are a burden, worthless, nobody would even notice they are gone, the lives of their loved ones would be better off without them. I am putting this project together to prove to these people that no matter how they feel at the moment, their life is worth living and their loved ones need them in their lives and that above all, they matter.
These feelings are raw, painful, beautiful, emotional, angry, guilt ridden, sad, depressing, confusing, full of questions…the list goes on and on. No one emotion can describe the grief experienced by the survivor of suicide and the process is arduous and lifelong. It is a constant struggle and an exhausting one at that.
I have invited other survivors to share their feelings, to say what they need to say and to share with the world what it means to be a survivor or suicide. I have invited them to tell their stories, to share their grief in hopes that even just one suicide can be stopped. I hope that one less life is taken in vain. I hope that even one person who is contemplating suicide will see these letters and realize that their life matters, that they are important, that they are not a burden, that they are loved and that suicide is not the only option. If even one suicide is stopped, we have all succeeded.
Please read these letters and consider them. That’s all I ask.
*The title “Project 488” is an homage to my husband. He always said we’d be together for the 88s. He said each eight represented an infinity and that we would be together for multiple infinities. Forever. For infinity. 488. Project 488 is dedicated to him. I love you, my husband.