This year was the first time suicide touched my life. Amid the isolation from my loved ones and the 60-plus-hour weeks as an essential worker, a friend texted me to inform me that another friend had taken her own life.
The mechanics of grief operate differently when someone chooses to leave. There’s no resolution, nor much in the way of comfort; only questions and nagging feelings of guilt. And in 2020, there wasn’t even the option of gathering in a community and mourning as one. This year took far more from us than it gave.
Finding words at a loss
Life does not get better without action, and those of us who write funnel our actions into words. Jenna Faccenda lost her fiancé to suicide last November and channeled her grief into the creation of Eclipse Lit, a nonprofit literary magazine dedicated to helping writers process their trauma through creativity and supporting mental health organizations.
Eclipse is named for the solar eclipse—when the light of the sun is blotted out completely by the comparatively minuscule moon. Like the crises that strike in the worst moments of life, an eclipse is overwhelming, but it’s similarly so much smaller in the grand scheme of things. And, like grief, like trauma, it will pass, and the sun will shine again.
Each of Eclipse’s issues will be structured around a different theme and will support a different organization, and the inaugural issue, Sorrow, will support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Faccenda hopes to create something greater than herself with Eclipse. She takes the responsibility of other people’s words seriously and found the process of curating their stories therapeutic. Using her pain in a productive way was an important part of her healing. She hopes that she can foster a community and let others know that they aren’t alone, and they have support.
You are not alone
Now that Thanksgiving is behind us and the December holidays and the new year are looming, many people are processing trauma, whether it’s the familiar trauma of the season or new trauma of the year. It’s a dark time, both literally and figuratively, and we’ve learned over the past nine months how important it is to connect emotionally now that we’re cut off from each other physically. To anyone who is struggling, Faccenda had this message:
“I know it might feel like… the world would be better without you or that it hurts too much to exist. But I need you to hold on, if not for yourself then hold on for your family, your pets, your plants, anything. This pain will pass. I promise you there is light in this dark world. You matter, you are needed, and you are not alone.”
What, When, Where, and Accessibility:
Eclipse Lit launches its first issue in March 2021 with a launch event slated for later that spring. Submissions for the first issue Sorrow are closed, but interested readers can get involved here and can donate through CultureWorks here.
Image Description: A logo made up of a black circle with white text that reads Eclipse Lit, with the C designed as the crescent edge of a solar eclipse.