Skeptic: Conversations with My Dead Mother

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Why We See Signs & Omens in Everyday Events

Shortly after my mother died, I began to experience certain events that challenged my otherwise skeptical beliefs about the afterlife. To any objective observer, these events wouldn’t seem particularly profound; some were in fact so subtle and mundane that they wouldn’t have even registered in my consciousness under normal circumstances. But in the wake of my loss, my mind freighted with grief, these banal happenings took on special significance. It was as though my mom — or rather, her spirit — was attempting to part the veil between this world and the next, intent on communicating with me, her stubbornly atheistic child.

Slate: Sometimes, You Won’t Feel Better Tomorrow

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We’ve gotten too used to discussing suicide as a fleeting, temporary side effect of mental illness. We might better serve people in need if we could acknowledge the messier reality.

Suicide,” goes the popular expression, “is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” The provenance is murky, but the internet attributes the saying to 1980s media personality Phil Donahue. (I was going to write “of all people” but there’s no particular reason that something so profound cannot find its origins in the mouth of a schleppy-yet-endearing daytime talk show host from Ohio.)

Aeon: When a Parent Dies by Suicide How Are the Children Told

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The Telling: When a parent dies by suicide, how the children are told casts a permanent shadow on their understanding of life and loss

A frayed leather wallet. A broken watch. Some coins. A ballpoint pen missing a screw. For 11-year-old Maddy Reid, this was all that remained of her soft-spoken accountant father … an assortment of 59-year-old George Reid’s meagre belongings emptied onto the kitchen table. ‘It’s gruesome, I know, but I think they still had his blood on them.’

RadioWest: Why We Kill Ourselves

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Why we do we kill ourselves? It's a tough question, but the science writer Jesse Bering says that if we can answer it, we stand a better chance of thwarting a tragic act.

When it comes to suicide, the questions are never easy. What is a suicidal person thinking and feeling? What could we have done to help? Why, in the end, do we kill ourselves? Tuesday, we’re talking about this most human of problems. The writer Jesse Bering is among our guests. He says that if we can tap into suicide’s psychological secrets we stand a better chance of thwarting a tragic act. We’ll also discuss a local effort to address the troubling link between guns and suicide.

The Listener: Jesse Bering on why suicide is a distinctly human behaviour

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Taboo-breaking writer and academic Jesse Bering takes his personal struggle with suicidal feelings as the starting point for a timely examination of the complex problem of self-harm

Chapter one of Jesse Bering’s A Very Human EndingHow Suicide Haunts Our Species finds the author in a very dark and, he argues, very human place. The scene is pleasant enough: the woods behind Bering’s former home in upstate New York. He is walking the dogs and considering an oak tree, “built by a century of sun and dampness and frost”. It seems to beckon. “It was the perfect place, I thought, to hang myself.”