The Survival Papers
by Jennifer Cunningham, Leo Figgs and Gabe Figgs
Virtuosity Productions

"Ramblings erupt from my belly, deep sobs of despair. Rage uncivilized like suicide. How could you? Is this life not sacred?"

The Survival Papers is the collective story of one family's personal journey, but it is also a story universal to many survivors left behind by the loss of a loved one in which private pain becomes communal healing. This book is not just a tribute-cum-memorial to the life of a beloved family member, but also a survival manual as the three authors who were left behind try to navigate their way through the devastation caused by suicide. This is a map to try and make sense of a premature and tragic death.

Instead of being a long memorial pamphlet, the book functions more like a look through the family album with the use of intimate portraits such as pictures, poetry, and original song lyrics. Each writer is represented by a different font type, which helps to keep the three different author's voices separate from each other, and each page is a glimpse into the lives left behind: The father who calls on his son's spirit as his hands shake during delicate surgery; the mother who has used her many letters, poetry, and photographs as a way, in her words, to "create her way through her grief"; and the brother who crawls inside the music and poetry his brother left behind to help discover his own voice. This book is a bridge between the living and the dead, as well as a testament to our brief lives and the magic they create, even if only for a short time.

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