After Suicide

There may be no pain worse than what is left behind by a suicide.

Why do we use the term “survivor” when we lose someone to suicide? Because mourning a death by suicide is a much more intense and confusing process than mourning a death from natural causes. Words are completely inadequate to describe the raw, painful emotions of confusion, guilt, possible anger and depression.  NAMI of Utah

Sometimes in life, events occur that fracture the very foundation on which we stand. Our life, as we have known it, is forever changed and we find ourselves in an unexpected struggle, first just to survive and then to move forward….It is important to know that people can and do survive loss by suicide.  They are forever altered and may never stop missing their loved ones, but they do survive and go on to lead meaningful and contributory lives.  Alliance of Hope

Time heals all wounds is not necessarily true for survivors of suicide. Time is necessary for healing, but time is not enough. Shared feelings enrich and lead to growth and healing.  Survivors of Suicide

If you’ve lost someone to suicide, you may feel . . .

. . . alone, as though no one understands what you’re going through.

. . . shocked, even if you knew your loved one was at risk. You may find yourself replaying their last days over and over, searching for clues.

. . . responsible, wondering whether there was something you missed, or something you could have said or done, or wished you hadn’t said or done.

. . . angry, at whoever you believe is to blame: the doctor, therapist, spouse, boss, or principal, for example.

. . . abandoned by the person who died.

. . . ashamed and worried about whether to tell people the truth, for fear of being judged.

. . . guilty for laughing, having fun, or beginning to enjoy life again.

. . . relieved.

Don’t worry. It is normal to have some, all, or none of these feelings as you cope with suicide loss.  American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Here are some other support sites for people who have lost someone to suicide:

The American Association of Suicidology

An Australian site with many links

A Facebook support group with meetings in Provo

Suicide.org

A list of suggestions for survivors

Here is a previous post of mine listing warning signs for teen suicide, and a list of suggestions for friends and family dealing with a patient who is or has been suicidal.

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