As many of you know by now, this time last year my then 20 year-old son Andrew Williamson-Nole, was alive. But not for long, for in the predawn hours of November 3rd 2009, Andrew jumped to his death from the 10th floor of Bobst, NYU's main library.
A DISTURBING FACT
I didn't know it then, but in the United States alone over 33,000 people die of suicide every year. Of those 33,000, 1100 are college-aged students like my son.
Before my son died, suicide was a word, but with his death it became a nightmare reality that I discovered is wide spread. I learned that in the United States, one person attempts suicide every minute and every fifteen minutes one person dies of suicide.
HOW CAN WE DEVELOP AWARENESS
- Why aren't people aware of this?
- Why is it that no one wants to talk about it?
- Why do people instinctively sweep the subject under the carpet?
- How can we help prevent it if we do not acknowledge it?
- How can we help prevent it if we don't make every effort to understand and reach out?
But not only that, we have to go further, we have to create opportunities where we can be of help, we have to create a space in our hearts and in our cities and towns where we are able and willing to offer help.
WE TOOK OUR FIRST STEP WITH GREAT RESULTS
With the help and support of friends and readers, I organized the first:
Get Your Wellness On -- A Suicide Awareness & Prevention Fair
it was held in Washington Square Park, Manhattan, on Saturday, September 18, 2010
The free programs in the open air of this public Manhattan park included: music, hatha yoga, chi Gong, collecting memories workshops, fencing demonstrations with the 2008 Olympics silver medalist, Tim Morehouse, who said:
"...Thank you for including us!" "... Esmeralda you are turning the passing of your son into a mission to help save others. And, YOU ARE DOING IT!..."
There also were Hoodance workshops (clear the mind with hoopdance), guided meditations and all-day-alternative healing and massage sessions. The team of alternative healers lovingly treated hundreds of people all day long.
Talking about the fair afterwards, Sam, one of the Reiki healers said:
"The biggest thing that comes to mind is LOVE. So many smiles on people's faces. Everyone smiling. Practitioners in the healing tent doing their thing. Many people who had never been exposed to alternative healing stopping by for sessions. Seeing them come in looking one way and leaving so much lighter. Laughter! Humor and community. So many different people and groups giving joyously. I was afraid it would be heavy because the topic of suicide was heavy, but there was a cleansing energy enveloping the fair. Walking around after it was over everything seemed to appear more colorful, clearer, more three dimensional."
And Jenna, the chi Gong instructor said; "... Indeed it was a great success all around! I appreciate the opportunity to have met you all and to have shared in bringing a little more healing and fun to those who are suffering... may we each cultivate our passions so that we may ever radiate our joy outward, reaching our light into the darkest places... many blessings, Jenna"
Linda said, "... An incredible day for us at the Holistic Mentorship Network Esmeralda. Many old and new connections were made... Thanks for waking up the city of NY (the International City) and bringing in many of the healing practices to de-stress, and help people in times of crisis, and before it gets to that place of contemplating suicide... Blessings."
AN AMAZING STORY
It is true, many of the people who came by were on their way to somewhere else, looked tight, sad or angry... but as Prabudh said, they left looking different and none more so than this woman...She came by the Fair by "accident"; she was going somewhere and had no intention of stopping anywhere until she reached her destination. But then..."Oh, what is going on here? What is this hula hooping? Oh my God look at the information about suicide prevention... and what are all those people doing around that tent? I am not supposed to stop, I am going somewhere..."
"Would you like to come and have some Reiki healing?" One of the volunteers asked her.
"Yes, come, it's free."
And the woman went, sat on a chair and one of the healers gave her a long Reiki session. At the end, tears of gratitude running down her face, the woman told us:
"I was on my way to take my life," she began. "I was on my way to the river and I was going to take these," she said, handing over a full bottle of prescription sleeping pills. "After taking the pills I was going to get into the river... and I would have died. But I have felt so much love this afternoon; I have felt that so many people care. You have saved my life, I don't want to die anymore."
Thank you to " whatever Gods may be" for saving this woman's life and for sparing her family, friends and loved ones from untold pain and anguish. Thank you for giving us the chance to offer love without expecting anything in return. And do you want to know something?
We ALL felt better for the unconditional giving.
You too can help, even a smile can make a difference
Get Your Wellness On