We are a non-sectarian group of suicide survivors who have lost a loved one to suicide and survived.
We have met on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month since 1988. Our meetings are open and a place to share your experience with people who will listen and share their own story.
Suicide loss is very complicated and each of us grieves differently. As we gather as a group we listen and share our stories in the hope of helping one another on a most complicated and difficult journey.
“To make the last millisecond of a person’s life so supremely important is to misunderstand both the worth of our lives and the forgiveness of God. Our lives aren’t games of high-stakes poker, where one final hand can wipe you out.
God judges our lives in their totality. If we accept the premise that God’s nature is one of steadfast love and mercy, then we must say with Barth:
”If there is forgiveness of sins at all, there is surely forgiveness for suicide.”
A favorite quote from the pamphlet
“Mourning After Suicide”
by Lois Bloom (taken from “After Suicide”
by John Hewitt)
“You may feel rage at the perpetrator,
while your heart breaks for the victim.
The irony is that they are one and the same.”
~ Author Unknown
“I will remind myself the choice was not mine, and no one person has sole influence on another's life"
SOS Meeting Dates for 2019: Jan 6, 20 ~ Feb 3, 17 ~ Mar 3, 17* ~ Apr 7, 21 ~ May 5, 19 ~ Jun 2, 16* ~ Jul 7, 21 ~ Aug 4, 18 ~ Sep 1, 15* ~ Oct 6, 20 ~ Nov 3, 17 ~ Dec 1, 15*
Please note that occasionally there are 5 Sundays in a month; the asterisk* shows where there will be a three week wait between meetings.
First Baptist Church of Garden Grove - Crosby Hall - 12761 Euclid Ave, Garden Grove, CA 92840
Jeri Livingstone (714) 539-1429
This website is dedicated to the memory of Joe Rosenblatt, a fellow survivor, webmaster, co-facilitator, and inspiration to all of us. Joe passed away on October 28, 2016. He first came to SOS early in 1999, shortly after the death of his son, Chris.
Had Chris not died by his own hand, I would have never known Joe, nor would he have crossed paths with so many people – through SOS, through Yellow Ribbon, New Hope Counseling, through the Crystal Cathedral and Shepherds Grove congregations.
The loss of his son altered forever the trajectory of Joe’s life, and brought him into so many of ours … and the ripple effect continues as the examples he set for caring and comfort carry forward..
Joe truly turned his scars into stars. In his quiet, kind way, he helped literally thousands of suicide survivors navigate through their tremendous sorrows, and put his exquisite listening skills to use as a New Hope counselor and trainer.
He was a tireless volunteer for other causes related to suicide prevention and postvention. Several times he accepted speaking engagements to talk about suicide, and once appeared at Camp Pendleton – Being an Army vet who served in Vietnam, he was amused to find himself addressing hundreds of Marines and commanding their full attention.
As my co-facilitator at SOS for 17 of my 28 years, he was such a comforting presence, and known by countless people for his quiet wisdom and constant encouragement … both at group or by phone.
Joe knew the nature of bereavement, the roller-coaster of emotions, and he acknowledged the sorrow coming and going by saying “there is a hole in your heart, and some days the wind will blow through it.”
Since the news of Joe’s passing raced through the telephone and social media networks, I have heard over and over how Joe personally touched wounded lives and helped them heal. Linda Andreason, one of our long time group members recounted how much Joe helped her and her daughter Dana after their loss.
She stated “Joe taught me how to grieve and still breathe, that I could tell my story and eat See’s candy at the same time.”
See’s Candy was just a small part of the sweetness Joe offered to all of us. Rest in peace, our precious mentor and friend.
~ Taken from caring words read at his funeral by Jeri Livingstone ~
Donations in Joe's memory may be made to Catholic Charities of Orange County, 1820 E 16th St, Santa Ana, CA 92701 Attn: Tita Smith.
Your family has been touched by tragedy.
You can survive this tremendous sorrow … please believe that.
From the very first day, make caring for yourself a high priority.
Although you may have enough adrenaline to rise to the occasion … even making arrangements, spreading the word, caring for other family members, receiving condolences, etc, you must safeguard your physical and mental health
to the best of your ability.
Accept offers of help.
Surround yourself with loving, competent friends
who are quick to listen and slow to give advice.
Tears are extremely healthy.
Drink a lot of water and keep them coming –
they are nature’s way of washing away the toxins that build up from stress.
Then, eat bananas to replace the potassium that you lose from crying.
Get as much sleep as you can, but avoid excessive use of alcohol or medication.
If you must drive a car, BE SO CAREFUL!
You are distracted and forgetful, and as such, very much at risk
when you get behind the wheel of a car …
as are other drivers who share the road with you.
MAKE A CONSCIOUS EFFORT to put your grief on HOLD
when you fasten your seat belt.
Postpone it until you get where you are going!!
Similarly, if you find you are being overcome with sadness and tears that interrupt your work or other necessary activities, try this: Say to yourself, “I can’t do this right now, but will make an appointment to do this at ____ (7 PM, Bedtime, etc.)” It just may allow you to get through the rough spot, since grief cannot be IGNORED but may allow itself to be POSTPONED. Then keep that appointment – at 7PM, go to your room, lay down, and cry until you can no longer cry. In this way, you will have taken control of your grief, instead of vice versa. This may be easier said than done, but is worth a try.
Reach out for help. Although you may not be ready to go for counseling or attend a support group, make initial contacts … it may be comforting to know what kinds of help are available when you are ready. If seeing a counselor, find one who has experience with trauma and grief issues. If a counselor makes you uncomfortable,
find another one immediately.
The Garden Grove SOS Group meets twice a month at the First Baptist Church of Garden Grove - Crosby Hall - 12761 Euclid Ave, Garden Grove, CA 92840 and is both free and non-sectarian. We offer a website, a lending library of books, video and audiotapes, pamphlets and numerous handouts as well as immediate and
ongoing telephone support.
A word about sharing details or answering questions … you may want to freely communicate to others the “story”, or may feel very protective of this information. Remember – this information is yours to disseminate, or to keep as private as you wish …. You may instinctively know how much to say, to whom, and when. If you are very open about the manner of death, you may be surprised to hear that many others have experienced suicide in their own families, and that information
will be readily shared with you.
From Iris, I borrow and repeat the following: Be patient with yourself. Wear out the “why's?”, the anger, the guilt … know that whatever you are feeling is normal. Don’t let anyone tell you how to feel or what to do.
Grief is as individual as a fingerprint… find your own way through it
and don’t let anyone “SHOULD” on you.
One final thought …many people who are contemplating ending their lives are able to do so by a thought process of de-valuing their own existence.
They may perceive themselves as a burden, and – although we may see it very differently!!– Actually feel they are doing what is best for the family.
If your loved one has been very troubled, has led a chaotic existence of physical, mental and/or emotional problems that led to hopeless despair, you may take comfort in knowing that his or her suffering has surely ended and they are now at peace.
This sounds very obvious, but is worth a reminder as you go through the days of your new reality. Try to turn the energy spent caring for that person toward caring for yourself….. one day, one hour, one minute at a time.