I’m excited to have author Wendy Parmley share her insight with Treasure Chest of Memories readers. Wendy is an advocate for suicide prevention as well as for the support of loved ones left behind after a suicide. In this post, along with sharing her story of finding hope after suicide, she also opens up about the roles of her faith and sharing her story had in her physical and emotional healing.
I began writing my book nearly three years ago following a bicycle accident which left me unable to return to my nursing career because of the continued effects of a traumatic brain injury. During those dark days when I couldn’t get my brain to work, God spoke to my heart. I knew what my new work would be. My new work would be to tell the story of my angel mom – the story of her life, the story of her death, and the story of my healing journey.
Accompanied by my angel mom, I picked up a pencil and began the slow and painful telling of this story – slow and painful because my brain wouldn’t work, I told my friends and family. I reminded them I had already done the hard work of therapy and I was simply returning to my journals to compile my story in the book God asked me to write.
I turned first to my 1976 diary. How grateful I was to have recorded my simple twelve year old thoughts. “Mom died today,” I wrote. “I keep trying to tell myself that life is made up of the little things that happen, not the big things. . . I loved mom, I still do.”
I was immediately propelled back to that tragic day nearly thirty-seven years earlier and I felt again the raw sting I felt when I first learned my mom had died. It wasn’t until the next day that I learned she had taken her own life. As I wrote, I remembered.
And tears came.
But this book was for others. Not for me. And it certainly wasn’t part of my therapy, I reminded my friends and family when they surmised that it must be healing to write. “Heck, no, it is painful!” I exclaimed. “This isn’t for me. I’m writing because God told me to write!”
God told me to write and he sent my mom to accompany me on my journey.
Because of my brain injury, when I closed my eyes, all I saw was darkness. Nevertheless, my heart was filled with light. And ever so slowly, that light found its way to words on a page, then to sentences, and paragraphs, and pages.
Two years later, there was nothing more to write. God had healed my heart. My Savior had taken my now unburied heart and held it in His hands and filled it with light. Filled it with love.
My once shattered heart was made new. The sting of Mom’s death was removed, and in its place was a connection with Mom I had never before felt – an eternal bond of love. Darkness was turned to light.
“We all have a story – hidden secrets buried in dark and rocky earth. Our journey is to unearth the pain and discover the good, discover the healing, and discover the love—to uncover the darkness and make space for the light.” (Hope after Suicide, page 189)
Author Bio: Prior to her bike accident, Wendy worked in nursing leadership for 14 years, earning her nursing degree from UVU in 1991 and her MBA degree from Brigham Young University in 2007. Despite her continued limitations, Wendy is grateful to spend more time with the love of her life, her husband Mark. She is ever grateful for his support and the support of their three married sons and their wives, their amazing daughter, and their two beautiful grandchildren who fill their life with sunshine.