Surviving Ben’s Suicide by C. Comfort Shields

Surviving Ben’s Suicide by C. Comfort Shields

This book is a memoir of Comfort and her relationship with Ben and her years afterwards in dealing and trying to come to terms with his death. Initially Comfort did not realise the seriousness of Ben’s mental health problems, but overtime this became more apparent as Ben could be so cruel one day and loving the next. It seemed that Ben went from one medication to another and one psychiatrist / therapist to another, but unfortunately it seemed no one was really able to help him. It was something Comfort had to come to terms with that although at times it seemed as if her words held some comfort for him at other times there was no penetrating his thought processes.

I feel it must be awful for someone like Ben to suffer so much and try to gain help, but then feel after a number of years that there must be no more help out there for them and so the only option they feel they have left is death. Not because they want to die, but they just can’t bear living how they are, but as Comfort learnt: She could not control others and the outcomes – That’s something I’ve learnt too!

She is very honest in her portrayal of her relationship with Ben and the affects that it had upon her. As she states at the end of the book that she feels Ben’s suicide will always be with her, which I think is only natural. It must have been so difficult for Comfort to work through some of the things Ben did, but even though she said many people appeared to shun Ben she could see more and could really appreciate some of the aspects of Ben that others did not always seem able to see. Comfort also explains how guilt ridden she felt, as well as the immense pain of suffering she endured and also how difficult it was for her at times not to be able to have some questions answered following Ben’s death.

Many people are left behind when a loved one commits suicide and sometimes those affected are not expected by society in general to have the grief as intensely as they do and as Comfort found there may not be the support out there for those that may not be related to the deceased, but because of relationships can be those closest to them and actually be one of the people that could feel the loss the most deeply.

It’s strange that I’ve read 2 books in a row that have not been linear in their telling, but I have to say I had no problem following this book at all. I think Comfort has written an excellent, moving and beautifully written book and I’m so glad that she wrote it as I feel there must be many people suffering alone with their grief and this book could help them feel less alone. I felt that Comfort really understands that human emotions can be so very complex. I would highly recommend this book to anyone that has suffered a loss, but especially those having lost a partner, boyfriend, girlfriend or very close friend to suicide. It’s 7 years since my loss to suicide and so many times through this book I could relate to Comfort and I’m very grateful that she wrote it.

loopyloo100

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