Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Wednesday Wonder: HOPE AFTER SUICIDE

Today's Wednesday Wonder features Hope after Suicide: One Woman’s Journey from Darkness to Light, a book written by Wendy Parmley who experienced the death of her mother by suicide. This book shares her story, her insights and what she is doing to help prevent suicide and help others cope with the devastating loss resulting from suicide.

About the Book:

We all have a story—hidden secrets buried in dark and rocky earth. Our task is to unearth—to release the pain and discover the good, discover the healing, discover the love. Uncovering the darkness makes space for the light.
After her mother took her own life, Wendy Parmley learned firsthand the heartache, despair, and loneliness that accompanies losing a loved one to suicide. At one point she even contemplated taking her own life as well. In this uplifting true narrative, you too can discover how to:

    Forgive yourself and others
    Open your heart
    Seek help when you need it
    Draw closer to the divine

Embrace the light and learn how to heal your soul and overcome loss as you read this touching and tender account of a woman opening her heart years after her mother’s suicide.
 Q&A from Wendy Parmley:

Why did you write the book?

  • I was unable to return to work following  a bicycle accident and traumatic brain injury
  • I knew what my new work would be – sharing the story of my mom’s suicide death and my own healing journey
  • God spoke to my heart and told me to write –

How did your congregation support you through your mom’s death?
  • Outpouring of love from adults in the way of casseroles, babysitting, etc.
  • Police chief and wife cleaned house
  • Pastor’s wife took us to their home
  • Youth leader loved me
  • But no one talked about how she died – she died of a heart attack is the story we told
What were some of the difficult things you had to face as a twelve year old whose mom ended her life?
  • Returning to school – I didn’t know anyone whose mom had died, let alone died by suicide
  • Trying to be normal and yet I felt so different
  • The bathroom, the ghosts in my dreams, the haunted house
  • Hiding the truth – I wore a glass mask and pretended everything was OK
  • Wondering where mom was – heaven or hell?
How did you cope with the loss - ?
  • I wrote music and poetry and wrote in my journal
  • I cried alone in the bathroom where no one could see
  • I covered my heart with rocks – a wall that no one could penetrate
  • I tried to be perfect so that if mom was in heaven, I could make it there some day
  • Work (school, home, work) became my drug - workaholic
How did your mom’s suicide change you?
  • It toughened me. I was “in charge” of my siblings, I was my dad’s right arm, I could do anything because I had lived through this
  • I became angry – not at mom, but at everyone else. Over the years, I got pretty good at suppressing that anger, but it would come out every now and then when I didn’t want it to. (PTSD)
  • It shattered my heart and I felt broken – so I protected my heart with rocks and dirt
What were the keys to your eventual healing?
  • A willingness to look at the pain that was underneath the layers of anger
  • A therapist who utilized a variety of techniques – EMDR, talk therapy, exposure therapy – but more importantly, believed in God and helped me see his hand in my life
  • Music, writing, mountains, friends – heaven’s blessings
  • My mom – my guardian angel who led me on a journey to discover the truth about her and about her death – I interviewed family and friends and the Chief of Police and felt her presence giving me courage
  • A Savior who I came to know in a personal way
 What do you hope to accomplish by the telling of your story?
  • I hope to encourage others to seek help for mental illness, to not be afraid to ask a depressed friend if they are thinking of ending their life, to tear down the stigma of the word “Suicide” – talking about suicide saves lives.
  • I hope to give voice to those who have experienced suicide loss and give courage to others to unashamedly share their stories – it is in the sharing of our stories that we can begin our own healing journeys.
  • I hope to unashamedly share my belief in God and in my Savior who can make all things right.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK, 1-800-273-8255

About the Author:

Wendy Parmley suffered a disabling bicycle accident in September 2011. Unable to return to her 20 year nursing career because of the continued effects of a traumatic brain injury (TBI), Wendy began the slow and painful penning of her angel mother’s story and Wendy’s healing journey following her mom’s suicide death. Twelve-year-old Wendy’s mom took her life when just 31 years old, leaving behind her husband of thirteen years and their five young children.

Author of Hope after Suicide: One Woman’s Journey from Darkness to Light, and suicide survivor of 39 years, Wendy has long advocated for suicide prevention. She participates on various professional and community based groups dedicated to that end, including Hope4Utah and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).
Wendy also recognizes the need to unashamedly support those who must continue to live in the painful aftermath of a loved one’s suicide and passionately lends her voice to that cause. Wendy was a favorite speaker at the recent Salt Lake City National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) annual conference and at the Chainbreaker Foundation. Speaking to both large groups and small gatherings, Wendy’s riveting and heart-felt story leaves the audience filled with an abundance of love, understanding, and hope as she shares her own journey from heartbreak to hope and, finally, to healing.

Hope after Suicide has been endorsed by Hope4Utah’s executive director, Dr. Gregory Hudnall. It is also listed on AFSP’s list of resources and has received a positive review from the American Association of Suicidology. Wendy has been invited to represent her work as a panelist at the 2015 Virginia Festival of the Book.

Prior to her bike accident, Wendy worked in nursing leadership for 14 years, earning her nursing degree from Utah Valley University in 1991. Wendy graduated with her MBA from Brigham Young University in 2007 and was honored to be the convocation speaker. Wendy and her husband, Mark, have three sons and daughters-in-law, one daughter, and two beautiful grandchildren who fill their life with sunshine.

May is National Mental Health Awareness month so this is a perfect opportunity to spread awareness and HOPE. 

Hope after Suicide has been endorsed by Hope4Utah’s executive director, Dr. Gregory Hudnall. It has also been listed on AFSP’s list of resources and received a positive review from the American Association of Suicidology. Parmley was invited to represent her work as a panelist at the 2015 Virginia Festival of the Book.

Purchase Links for Hope after Suicide: One Woman's Journey from Darkness to Light 


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