Darkness into Light: A Nation's Response
Size: 215 mm x 138 mm
Publisher: Beehive Books
Review by Geraldine Coyle Tallanstown,
July/August Intercom 2022
In an age, when each week may bring the tragic news of yet another death by suicide, it is encouraging to read Darkness into Light, in which Joan Freeman recounts how this extraordinary event began and reflects on what it means to the people of Ireland today. Micheál Martin, in a forward to the book, remarks that ‘it is truly remarkable that the inaugural walk, with 400 people in the Phoenix Park in 2009 has grown to over 200,000 people taking part in 16 countries across 5 continents’. This annual fundraiser, in support of the work of Pieta has grown into a worldwide event.
The Darkness into Light event serves a dual purpose: it welcomes people to come together, to remember their loved ones in a positive way and it raises much needed funds for Pieta. Joan Freeman realised that the most important part of this entire venture was that of ‘acknowledgement’ - that suicide exists and that those who died by suicide left an impact on the lives of people around them (P. 69). The sense of desolation and despair felt by family members and the phenomenal success of Darkness into Light, is by no means accidental. Many volunteers helping to organise this annual event have personal reasons for doing so.
Over the past decade, the light from this extraordinary movement, with its theme of hope, courage, resilience and love, have spread to towns and villages across Ireland. Darkness into Light events now take place in many countries throughout the world, including the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. This interesting read, with its account of some harrowing stories and also where despair and grief are replaced by hope and courage.
Dr Harry Barry, GP and best-selling author, succinctly stated: ‘This is the story of how love brought light out of darkness. It is for us all.’
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‘Intimate, honest, and a beautiful chronicle of the genesis of what is now one of Ireland – and the world’s – most important charity events.’ (Joe Houghton, former chairperson of Pieta House)
About the book
Darkness into Light: A Nation’s Response tells the story of the birth of a national and international movement that, every year, brings hundreds of thousands of people together to walk and remember those who have died by suicide. Taking place at dawn on a Saturday in May, this annual fundraising event in aid of Pieta House has raised almost €29 million for suicide prevention, both at home and abroad. Thirteen years after the first walk, Joan Freeman recounts how this extraordinary event began and reflects on what it means to the people of Ireland today.
While this walk began with one woman, it quickly belonged to many, as people from all over Ireland raised funds and organised so that a Darkness into Light walk could take place in their town or city. The book pays homage to these volunteers who, often driven by their own grief, were determined to soothe the pain of others. This determination went on to capture the imaginations of people throughout Ireland and around the world.
With a foreword by Taoiseach Micheál Martin and an afterword by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, Darkness into Light: A Nation’s Response provides a deeply moving account of how a single idea, along with an unwavering belief, can become a catalyst for real societal change.
About the author:
Joan Freeman is the founder of Pieta House and Darkness into Light. She was a senator in Seanad Éireann from 2016 to 2020. In 2018 she was a candidate in the presidential election.
?? Watch now an exclusive interview with the Author Joan Freeman, link here