Determine where you are in this Afa
Why this storm has hit us?
This storm hits with an intensity that we don’t expect and didn’t see coming.
Perhaps we may have seen the storm clouds on the horizon, but it not until all four winds hit that we realize this is not minor storm. This is an Afa – a hurricane. We realize that we are not prepared for this.
We wonder why has this storm hit us…
Facts of an AFA
- Like big storms, suicide is caused by multiple factors coming together.
- An Afa can be predicted, but we can never predict the pathway that storm will take, nor the damage the waves can do.
- Casualties in storms are also caused by multitudes of factors .
- The most important thing in an Afa is finding a safe place to be.
- Despite the frequencies of hurricanes most people who experience hurricanes survive.
- After you have survived one, you have expertise to survive another.
We think about how dangerous this storm is. At times, our fears becoming paralyzing. We are unable to make decisions, unable to choose what to do, unable to back the decisions we make.
We question our own ability to survive this storm.
Do what you need to do
Now the time to act carefully.
We must do what we need to do, to keep ourselves and others safe.
Tell yourself you can survive this storm.
Tell yourself you must survive this.
10ft ‘Should/ Could’ waves hit us.
“I should have seen this…”
“I could have done this…”
Followed by the troughs –
“If only I didn’t…”
“Why didn’t I do..”
Wave after wave hits to the point where we don’t know if we can hang on anymore. We question whether we deserve to survive this. Waves of shame, guilt, and embarrassment are quick to hit. We end up judging ourselves and others around us.
A proverb "kare e tika i te matangi"- the wind prevents it. This speaks to our own attitudes, thoughts and judgement. How are you judging yourself?
A Samoan proverb highlights the power of words – on ourselves and others. " E goto le va’a i lau ‘avega fetalaiga" The ship that sinks from the weight of your words.
What burdens are your words placing on yourself?
Hands reaching out to support us
Slowly we look at the hands that are reaching out to hold us, to grasp onto, to support us, and we are able to take hold.
We recognize that these hands have been holding us afloat for a while. They were the ones that threw us a rope when needed it, towed us into shallow shore, pulled us on to their Vaka and to made us safe.
Often we may feel very angry. We are angry at ourselves, we are angry at others, we are angry at God – but mostly we are angry at the person who has passed. This is OK. This is normal.
Let the anger come, and let the anger go.
let anger go
Let the anger come
Let the anger pass over you
Express what you need to gently
Don't fight the anger
Don't feed the anger
Let the anger go
Devastation in our lives
After suicide, grief will last for years.
Devastation occurs in our relationships, our sense of self, and who we are. This is like a tsunami. Life will never go back to how it was.
Recognizing that you can rebuild. This takes time. Rebuilding can only happen after you mourn.
Little by little we piece together what we have left. We value what we have left. What was once meaningless – gains meaning. We begin to slowly rebuild, one nail at a time.
Give yourself time to rebuild. Don’t expect it to happen in a day. Know that it will happen.
Pounding wind of the cyclone
We say “ka mamae koe i te papa a te matangi ‘uri’ia” – experiencing pain from the pounding wind of the cyclone.
Judgement that we make of others, and judgement others make of us, cause pain.
Often we have thoughts about people and their families, who have attempted or completed suicide. For example….
- It was because they did something bad
- It was because they strayed from God
- It was because they were spoilt and couldn’t cope
- Its the parents fault
These common judgement batter people around, cause damage and are often wrong.
At this time, we all need alofa (love, compassion, empathy).
Take some time to reflect
What judgement are you making ?
What judgments do you need to beware of ?
What are different things you can think about people?
How does Alofa fit in your thinking?
We may look for stories of survivors. We are desperate to hear stories from those who know what it’s like to be in this storm. We look for those who bear the scars of having survived.
If we are lucky we can find survivors who have become masterful at recognising these storms, helping people through.
Here are some support groups where you may find people who have survived: