Son's suicide inspires mum's book of healing
SORAYA Saraswati's son, Prem, promised her he would be all right and be able to help people by the time he was 24.
And she once promised him she that he would never be forgotten and she would one day tell his story.
Soraya has just published a book which keeps both of their promises in the year Prem would have turned 24.
Just days before his 18th birthday in 2009, on the brink of manhood, Prem took his own life.
He died two years to the day that Soraya's brother took his own life.
Shining Through: From Grief to Gratitude, is a story about Soraya and Prem, and her journey through trauma and grief to living life once again in its fullness.
Since Prem's death, Soraya, a Palmwoods-based mindfulness coach, yoga and meditation teacher, has become active in suicide awareness and prevention.
She hopes the book will help other people move on from past traumatic events in their life, be in the loss of a loved one through suicide or a different tragedy.
"What keeps me going is that I want my son's life to not be in vain. His life will make a difference through this book," she said.
Prem, the second of Soraya's four children, had struggled with life in his teenage years and had developed issues with binge drinking, drugs and anxiety.
He was in hospital, where Soraya thought he was safe, when he decided to end his life, only hours after telling her he would see her the next morning.
In the days afterwards, when he was still alive on life support, Soraya began writing notes, thoughts and memories, on scraps of paper.
"I starting writing to get me through that. I got home and through it all in a pile and thought, 'I can't go there'," she said.
It would be about a year before she could revisit the notes and begin writing what has become Shining Through.
Soraya has since remembered Prem's words to her that he would one day help people.
"He said to me, 'Don't worry, Mum, I'll get through this and when I'm 24, I'll be able to help people.
"It's Prem's legacy. He has helped me write our story."
"It's really important that his life is not in vain, no-one's life is in vain. His legacy will go on through this book," she said.
The book had been in Soraya's hands only two days when she took it with her to walk the Larapinta Track in the Northern Territory in a trek organised by Suicide Prevention Australia.
She also walked it around Uluru to "ground" it to the heart of Australia, but where she also met aborginal elders who had been bereaved by suicide and glimpsed the extent of the tragedy in in indigenous communities.
Soraya hopes that by telling her story, and Prem's story, it will help not only raise awareness of suicide but help people heal.
"A lot of people 20 years later will never heal from grief and that is so sad because their loved ones who have died would not want them to be suffering," she said.
"For me, it's a way to help people shine through and to help them move from grief to gratitude."
Shining Through: From Grief to Gratitude, will be launched at the Milwell Road Community Centre, Maroochydore, on October 6.
For information or copies, go to sorayasaraswati.com.
If you need suicide or crisis support, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.