Determine where you are in this Afa

Are you…

In the water? Click here.
– Struggling to survive the waves of emotions
– Feel like your anu tahi – drowning
– Feel alone
– Feel like there is nothing left
Click here to learn more.

On the vaka? Click here.
– You yourself are not drowning but your very worried
– You fear you vaka might capsize or be swamped
– Your not sure how to sail in this storm
Click here to learn more.

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…


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.

10ft waves

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.

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.

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).



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:

Waves Support Groups 

National Directory