Pain Seeking Understanding

Keith C. Kraft, Pain Seeking Understanding: In Search of Hope and Healing (Self Published), 2018

keith c kraft
I work with survivors of suicide every week. I have begun to understand a bit of the rhythm of grief and recovery from sudden and traumatic loss. There is no single formula. There are no two experiences that are the same. But there are some things that survivors of suicide share in common and sometimes it can be healing to just hear the story of another and know that you are not alone. I am very familiar with the story behind Keith Kraft’s book. I knew his son Ben and worked with him as a camp counselor. I know the family story well. I was shocked and devastated when the news of Ben’s death came to us. I remember the funeral and the inadequacy of words to express our condolences to his parents.

In the four years since Ben’s death, Keith has written periodically of the experience. Some of his reflections were published to the Internet on a blog. They are raw and honest and direct. I have been appreciative of Keith’s style, openness and most of all his honesty.

Now he has drawn those reflections together, added a few and done a bit of editing to produce a thoughtful and insightful book. It is not the kind of book that you want to sit down and read cover to cover, but rather one that you want to pick up, read a few pages, then put down and reflect. I’ve purchased copies of the book as gifts for my friends and will continue to share it with others. I took a copy to our Survivors of Suicide Support Group and others have expressed interest in it.

It is possible that we will never fully understand death by suicide. But seeking understanding can provide meaning and support for those who experience the deep pain of suicide loss. Keith’s book is a welcome addition to the literature on the topic.