Suicide Survivors’ Club: Reflecting on Loss During Childhood (Part One)

Sep 22, 2022 by Aidan Anderson
Aidan Anderson

A few years ago, we had the honor to work with the Suicide Survivors’ Club to create a PrairieCare Education Series video where they shared their story of suicide loss through art. Their five-part book series, “Suicide Survivors’ Club: A Family’s Journey Through the Death of Their Loved One” and activity book, “Healing After a Suicide Loss: All Ages Workbook + Activity Guide” has been part of their own healing journey and now guides others through this difficult life transition.  

We asked Aidan Anderson, a presenter and contributor for the Suicide Survivors’ Club, to write “Part One” of a reflection for Suicide Awareness Month. At a young age Aidan’s father died by suicide and the loss came with many emotions that can be difficult to maneuver. In this blog he reflects on the social interactions he encountered as a child and how it can teach us all to approach those affected by suicide in a way that is truly supportive.  

My name is Aidan Anderson. I’m 27 years old, and I’m a suicide survivor. My dad died by suicide when I was 7 years old. There’s a lot I could say about my journey through the death of my father, but today I’d like to share some things that people did and said that were helpful or not so helpful.

Art that was created to reflect part their journey of loss by suicide from the book series.

After my dad died, I had a few weeks off of school. About a week in, my 1st grade teacher and my kindergarten teacher (who at the time was my brothers teacher) stopped by the house to drop off a basket full of gifts from my classmates. The basket was full of Pokémon cards, toys, and cards written by my classmates. It was tailored to me and I could tell that a lot of thought was put into it. I have to say, it did help to provide a bit of levity from the situation I was in. And I actually have at least one of those toys floating around somewhere in my apartment right now.

Once I got back to school, my classmates all told me how sorry they were to hear about what happened. But one classmate in particular said something close to “I’m sorry to hear your dad died in a car crash.” I don’t remember exactly what my response was, but it was something like, “That’s not what happened.” This one really sticks out in my mind. For awhile I wasn’t able to figure out why it stuck out as much as it did, but as I’ve grown older I think I’ve figured it out. The parents of the other kids in my class were aware of how my dad died. And I think that that particular classmate was told by his parents that my dad died in a car crash. I was confused as to why a parent would lie about something like that, but now, even though I disagree with that decision, I understand that suicide is such a foreign and uncomfortable subject for some that that seemed like the best option. Yes, it’s uncomfortable and yes, it’s terribly tragic, but to me, an experience like this also highlights just how important it is to bring this subject out of the dark. 

So many people deal with suicide either directly or indirectly every day, and I’m glad I can offer my story to help take the stigma out of a tragedy as terrible as suicide.

Read Part Two with Rebecca Anderson, Navigating Parenthood After Suicide.

To learn more about the Suicide Survivors’ Club or purchase their books, visit their website

Watch the PrairieCare Education Series featuring the Suicide Survivors’ Club.

If you or someone you know is showing signs of suicide, call or text the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.  

Visit our blog for content on all things mental health related.

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