Thanks for a lovely article about the value of kindness and compassion — the message I sought to hang my hat on rather than one about truth and lies! [Fiction, lies and the search for truth, Ken Trainor, Viewpoints, Sept. 29]

One minor point I would like to offer is regarding a reference to Connor’s death where you state that he “committed suicide.” The more neutral language of the day is to say that someone “died by suicide.” As noted in the Canadian Psychiatric Association’s Media Guidelines for Reporting on Suicide, “commit” implies suicide is a sin or crime, reinforcing the stigma that it’s a selfish act and personal choice; using neutral phrasing like “died by suicide” helps strip away the shame/blame element. While I’m not sure Strunk & White would concur, I do know this is the language we employ in the Catholic Charities’ LOSS (Loving Outreach to Survivors of Suicide) program, of which I’m a facilitator.

But onto the bigger message of your piece. When our son Hunter died by suicide in 2015, the following prayer, attributed to St. John of the Cross, was read at his funeral and formed the basis of Hunter’s eulogy, as well as the foundation launched in his honor (

And I saw a river over which every soul must pass

to reach the kingdom of Heaven

and the name of that river was Suffering;

and I saw a boat which carries souls across the river

and the name of that boat was Love.

At its essence, what I see in your piece is an admonition to be a Boat of Love to others, and I can’t agree more!

With appreciation,

Kristen Coe, River Forest

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