It is estimated that up to 500 million people worldwide are affected by exposure to suicide each year .
This powerful memoir speaks to anyone touched by grief, mental health, and suicide and is written by a sister left behind. Through her exploration of resilience, posttraumatic growth, and forgiveness, Tara Lal hopes to change the public narrative around loss and suicide.
Tara’s childhood was scarred by her father’s debilitating mental health and her mother’s death from cancer when she was just 13. Caught up in bereavement and despair, Tara and her older brother, Adam developed a deep bond, but Adam struggled silently with anxiety and depression and couldn’t reconcile his life of privilege with the disparity of poverty he witnessed on his travels through India. Four years after their mother’s death while studying at the University of Oxford, he took his own life.
Grief, guilt, and shame threatened to engulf Tara, who felt she wasn’t enough to save either her brother or mother. Eventually she finds, within her brother’s diaries, her reason to survive. In a DH Lawrence excerpt, which Adam had transcribed, were the words, ‘TJ he put his hope in her’. Tara seized those words – she would live the life he could not.
She then moves from London to Sydney to rebuild her life, firstly as a physiotherapist and then as a firefighter. Through various relationship tribulations and her search for understanding around her brother’s suicide, Tara finds her strength and a way to move beyond her past to build a life of compassion, meaning, and purpose.
Standing on my Brother’s Shoulders includes a foreword by Alex Garland, Oscar-nominated director and best-selling author of The Beach and includes tools for posttraumatic growth and speaking to those with suicidal thoughts.Trained in suicide prevention and using her PhD studies to investigate the impact of suicide on firefighters, Tara hopes that her story will bring hope to those facing their own struggles with grief, trauma, or mental ill health and inspire them to use their suffering to grow and lead a more meaningful life.
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