Landmark Education graduate Ronnie Walker has launched a new website for individuals grieving the loss of a loved one to suicide. The site provides extensive information about survivor reactions and traumatic grief, support for healing, and a variety of essays. There are discussion forums, links to support groups, a recommended book list, even poetry. The site was designed to be both informative as well as beautiful.
Walker, who lost her stepson to suicide in 1995, counsels individuals and groups of survivors. She is a licensed clinical professional counselor with specialty training in trauma and loss. Her recognition that every survivor goes through their own hero’s journey informed her about what she wanted to create with the site.
“I’ve met women who stood helplessly by, watching their husbands end their lives; parents who opened doors only to find a body hanging from the ceiling; and children who received calls from police informing them a parent’s body had been found,” recalls Walker. “Survivors are so traumatized they can barely breathe. Often, when grief is new, someone will them ‘You never get over this,’ with no qualifying statement.”
Walker wants suicide survivors to know that although their lives are forever changed, they can endure and survive, and even go beyond just surviving. They can eventually go on to heal and live rich and meaningful lives. At the same time she recognizes that if she says this to someone too soon after their loss, she will be dismissed as someone who doesn’t understand that person’s pain.
The idea that suicide survivors weren’t forever doomed to misery is one way Walker was influenced by her participation in Landmark Education’s programs. She also saw that she had the courage to be a leader and step beyond the existing way of looking at things.
Walker is clear about the urgency of what she is up to. About one million people kill themselves worldwide every year. Eventually she intends to provide online counseling to suicide survivors in underserved areas around the world. To find out more, go to http://www.forsuicidesurvivors.com.