Actively Moving Forward® is “the good thing” I got out of something bad. I didn’t hear about AMF until two years after my friend’s death, so my grief journey was one I largely traveled alone. A good hometown friend, Hope, died by suicide a month into my first semester of college. Coping, adjusting to being away from home as is, the most prevalent feeling was that I was completely alone. I had not yet made friends, and it was a struggle just to summon the energy to go to class. I made it through, but it was not without its challenges. The most prevalent feeling was that I was alone. While I wanted to share Hope with others at Boston, I did not know how to memorialize someone that no one there had gotten to know.
I would have benefitted from a group like AMF, I am sure, if I had known about the organization as a freshman. When I joined AMF, I was introduced to a supportive community of BU students who, by proxy, already “got me.” Some of the things we talked about didn’t even need explaining- such as the overwhelmingness grief may often take on. All that could go unsaid at our meetings. The first couple months I seldom shared, and sometimes my attendance was spotty; after two years of silence, I was not used to talking about grief openly. Eventually I did share more. I grew comfortable with the group and began to add my own thoughts to discussion. I even started to consider some of the emotions I kept concealed so long- I learned to articulate the feelings specific to loss by suicide such as that guilt you get, thinking you could somehow have prevented it. The group always listened to me, and it meant the world when the president made a post commemorating Hope on the two-year anniversary. I became a regular after that.
It occurs to me that there are likely others at BU who don’t know AMF is out there. That is why, as the president of the BU chapter, so much of what I do is outreach. If only one person learns of AMF I will have done enough, and that is how I may memorialize Hope today. Being a leader of my chapter allows me to use what I experienced in a positive and empowering outlet. I’ve learned (and continue to learn) what I am capable of. My freshman self wouldn’t have believed it, but I am stronger than I thought.” – Allison Zuckerberg, Class of 2017, Boston University
“After my sister passed away the summer before my senior year, I had a lot of difficulty coming back to school and feeling comfortable in the college environment where people either didn’t know about my sister’s death or didn’t know how to talk to me about her death.” – Carolyn, class of 2010, University of Pennsylvania
“I lost my mom to cancer at age 18, in my last semester of high school. Despite the relatively sudden loss, I was able to finish my year successfully and enjoyably because of the support from my friends and teachers. However, when I came to college, I lost that support base and found it hard to relate to other freshmen. I often felt the need to share about my loss, but I hesitated because I didn’t want to be judged or simply make a conversation awkward. As a result, it was hard to build new friendships and, at the same time, I had to care for my brother and dad, who were struggling on their own at home.” – Stacey, class of 2013, University of Georgia