Today’s Author Guest Post is a little different than most posts I share on the eBook Review Gal. It’s also a beneficial and timely topic.
Author Maira Rayanne talks about Suicide Support Groups – Specifically how the Survivors of Suicide (SOS) support group helped her get through a dark and emotional time in her life. Maira speaks candidly about her own experience as a survivor and how it’s brought her to where she is today. Here’s her story…
Adorned with a dozen floral patterned loveseats that circled around the room, I walked in to my first Survivors of Suicide (SOS) support group. I had no idea what to expect or what the next hour and a half would be like. Mention the word “support group” and my mind immediately thought of AA meetings. Not that I had ever attended an AA meeting before, but movies have a funny way of making what is supposed to be a resourceful and welcoming community appear daunting and uncomfortable.
I wondered if I would have to stand up and introduce myself. What would I say? “Hi, my life is a crap hole to the nth degree. I just lost somebody I cared about to suicide that I met five months ago, no less. And I don’t know which side is up anymore.”
For somebody who is as outgoing as I am, and who actually thrives at any opportunity I have to step foot outside of my comfort zone, this night was different. I wanted to walk out of the room as soon as I had walked in. But then I saw their faces – a sweet, older couple approaching me, ready to shake my hand with a warm hello.
“Hi there. Is this your first time here? We are so very sorry for your loss. And we are sorry you are here under these circumstances, but we are glad you chose to come here tonight.”
And just like that, thanks to a display of instant compassion, I started to feel at ease.
I don’t remember much about that night except that I was surrounded by 10 or so other individuals. We all had different stories. We all had lived different circumstances. But we all hurt the same.
Anybody who knows me knows that I’m quite the chatterbox but I didn’t speak that night. I listened and I cried, listened and cried some more. Then, when the session was about to end, I wanted to rewind time. I felt safe here. So I returned to the group religiously. At every bi-weekly meeting I was there, seated not too far from the front door. Simply in the presence of others who held me in their healing light and big bear hugs.
Almost two years later, I’m now a leader for the same SOS group. I help those who are new (or not so new) to their grief journey, crippled by the same heartache I once found myself drowning in. I hope that somehow I can be a sliver of comfort for them as others have been for me, too. I may not know much but one thing is now clear: Together, we can make it to the other side.
Maíra Rayanne was born in São Paulo, Brazil and spent her childhood and formative years in Miami, Grand Cayman, London and New Orleans. She is an editor by profession, and a nonfiction author who writes about her personal life. Her debut memoir, Georgia Haven A Love Story Across States and Time, was published in 2018, and her prequel memoir Beyond These Green Eyes: A Memoir of Fragmented Pieces and Rediscovery is set to be released this summer. She is also currently working on her third book, which will be centered on grief loss, death, and spirituality.
An Atlanta transplant from South Florida, Maíra is a spiritual speaker, a mental health advocate, a passionate soul, and an aspiring mentor to others.
Readers can connect with Maira via the following platforms: