Flourish After a Suicide

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day and would have been my dad’s 60th birthday.

My dad died by suicide in January of 2015.

My life was forever changed by suicide that January, though my family was not able to openly talk about suicide until we received the coroner’s final decision in March 2016. I don’t have anything amazing to report about the life insurance and I would strongly suggest to people to think twice before modifying a policy, regardless of the reason, because there is a two year suicide clause on most (if not all) life insurance policies. Life insurance uncertainty is not what you want to be dealing with after an unexpected death.

But today, I want to talk about well-being. Just before school began, my principal lent me a copy of  Flourish by Martin Seligman. I ended up buying it as an audiobook and every time I had to pause it, because real life was interfering, I found I was smiling and making connections to what was being discussed. Shhh, don’t tell my family, but I plan to buy it for everyone on my Christmas list!

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I like the quote by Jonathan Haidt on the back cover of Flourish. He said,

“No psychologist in history has done more than Martin Seligman to discover the keys to flourishing and then give them away to the world. Seligman teaches you how to look at life and see possibilities, rather than constraints. If you lead people, work with people, or know any people, you should read this book.”

The idea of positive psychology makes so much sense to me and is exactly what I needed to learn about right now. Seligman’s well-being theory is based on the goals of increasing positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishments (PERMA). This is a theory I can get behind.

Seligman also spends a fair amount of time talking about PTSD in relation to post-traumatic growth and how people can bounce back following a traumatic event. I consider myself fairly resilient. We have dealt with my dad’s suicide and with Kane’s medical issues in stride (usually). I know a lot of hospital parents who would probably also connect with the idea of post-traumatic growth. I know I am a stronger person because of the challenges that I have had to face.

Recently, all my little grade 1 kiddos showed up for their first day of school with their new shoes and school supplies. This time of year has always been a new beginning for me… fresh start… a time to set new goals. This year is no different. I will be making an effort everyday to talk about what went well with my students, with my boys, with my husband, and with myself.

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If all of this is of interest to you there is also the Pursuit of Happiness website that is worth browsing through. I would have liked to show my dad.

Happy birthday.

6 thoughts on “Flourish After a Suicide

  1. Kristy Dear…thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and positiveness…you are, indeed, very special, strong and resilient …I’ll get the book right away and start reading it……Much love, B

  2. Thank you Kristy, I have been looking for something for a person in the family who is trying to get back on her feet and function following a suicide this may be the helpful step she needs. You are an amazing person, and one of the strongest people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

  3. Love you, Kristi! Your Dad and I are the same age… and I am now 2 years older than my mother was when she committed suicide. Happy to say that I am flourishing. Teaching young children and having strong family relations help us get through the tough days. I will check out the book. Sounds like the perfect gift for my sister who still struggles. (I’ll read it first! )

  4. Sending you a big hug and thinking of your Dad today on his birthday .i remember in high school going through stress and your Dad always focused and planning on being a Doctor.I believe he is looking over you and his family .Wish he was still here with you .—Judy Warford

  5. Pingback: Gratitude | Kristy Wolfe Photography

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