A woman wonders how to explain her sister’s suicide to her daughter


I just read this very moving piece in the New York Times, written by Mary Grant, a woman who still doesn’t know how to explain her sister’s suicide to her daughter. As hard as that conversation will be, it seems like this woman is on the right track. She writes:

I will simply start by teaching her the symptoms of depression for her own protection. I will tell her that her family has a history of vulnerability to depression just like I’d tell her about a genetic predisposition to heart disease or breast cancer. I will explain that depression doesn’t always manifest itself as sadness. Sometimes it’s anger. Sometimes it’s abnormal sleepiness. Often it’s numbness, a lack of interest in things that used to energize you and lift your spirits. Depression is easier to beat when it’s treated quickly, so I’ll encourage her not to hesitate if she ever feels the black dog coming. Don’t walk, run. You might be running for your life.

This, I would say, is very wise advice for anyone. Mary, wherever you are, good luck to you.

Read Mary’s story here.


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