Author Offers Relief for Grieving Survivors of Teen Suicides

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Award-winning author and self-acceptance coach Irene Kendig expresses concern, offers relief for grieving survivors of gay teens who committed suicide after bullying.

Award-winning author and Self-Acceptance Coach Irene Kendig is concerned that the wave of media attention surrounding the recent rash of teen suicides due to bullying may be washing over and disguising something equally important: the impact of the suicide on surviving loved ones.

“The grieving process is challenging enough without adding unnecessary suffering in the form of regret, remorse and guilt,” says Kendig. “This often occurs when loved ones falsely believe they could have or should have been able to prevent the suicide—a common reaction, especially for parents, who are hard-wired to protect their children,” says the author. “These feelings can lead to intense, prolonged and unnecessary suffering for people during a time when they need to be especially gentle and compassionate with themselves.”

Wednesday, Oct. 20 was Spirit Day, a nationally designated observance during which people wore purple clothing to honor and commemorate the number of gay teens who recently committed suicide in the United States. “This was a positive collective grief response,” the author says.

Kendig believes that our society’s discomfort with the subject of dying can keep survivors from processing their feelings in a healthy manner. “Suicide itself is such a cultural taboo that it puts even more pressure on those left behind to remain silent about the rollercoaster of emotions they may be experiencing,” explains Kendig. “Adding to that is the often accompanying religious judgment and condemnation of those who’ve committed suicide, which can add even more unnecessary suffering to those who are grieving.”

In her book "Conversations With Jerry and Other People I Thought Were Dead," the author—with the help of a gifted medium—speaks with seven loved ones who’ve died. Of special note are the dialogues with Bill—a friend of Kendig—who committed suicide in his thirties. “These dialogues help us understand why someone would choose this option, and allows us to see the event from a spiritual perspective. This helps us gain deeper insight so that we can process the experience with loving compassion," says the author, who believes her book will help those struggling in the aftermath of suicide.

The US Review of Books seems to agree. “Kendig strikes gold while digging for answers about life from those who have lived, died, and are now ‘living on’,” writes reviewer Claudia Pemberton. “Some of the revelations are startling, some are simple, some are complex, some are transforming, and some are comforting, while others are controversial and difficult to fathom. Almost every page of this book has profound insights.”

The 352-page book retails for $19.95 USD and is available online at http://www.conversationswithjerry.com, amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and through booksellers.

Irene Kendig, M.A., earned her Bachelors degree cum laude in Psychology from UCLA, and her Masters in Spiritual Psychology from The University of Santa Monica. She is a certified Alchemical Hypnotherapist and a certified Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistics Programming (NLP). She blogs at IreneKendig.com.

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