Losing A Loved One to Suicide is likely the Most Difficult Thing We Will Ever Experience
If you're here, reading this, my heart aches for what you're going through. Suicide loss is like nothing else. Survivors of Suicide loss navigate grief compounded by many difficult and unique factors. Many survivors feel isolated in their grief, facing questions such as:
Why did my loved one die this way?
Could I have done more?
How do I go about living life when nothing feels okay?
Who am I now that this person is no longer here?
What Happens in Suicide Bereavement Therapy?
Therapy is a safe, caring space to process. We remember your loved one through stories and photos. We cry. Sometimes we make a plan to get through the day. We explore what you need, and how your family is doing. We process strong emotions: sadness, despair, grief, guilt, anger, blame, powerlessness, betrayal, fear. We ask: why? We talk about navigating social situations- how to talk to friends who may not understand the extent of the pain and complications that suicide loss brings with it. We talk about navigating life that looks very different from what we expected.
How Long Until I Feel Better?
Often, the grief and pain are so immense that we want to speed up time to get to a point where getting through each day doesn't hurt so much. I encourage you to be prepared to take some time with grief, and to hold on to the hope that the grief tends to feel more manageable with time- not because we move on from our loved one that we lost- but because we learn to cope as we hold on to our relationship with them in a different way.
Why is Suicide Grief So Difficult?
Sometimes our stories are so immensely difficult and painful that they may feel unspeakable. Many people, sometimes including our own families, don’t know how to talk about suicide- we may even sense that our stories of loss makes others uncomfortable. As humans we were never wired to navigate life’s toughest challenges alone- we need people and communities to witness our stories and pain, ideally with the emotional capacity to offer us compassion, tenderness, patience, nurturance; Honoring us and our loved ones in the process. As we speak the truth of our stories in the presence of others, we may just find some amount of relief.
Other Resources For Suicide Bereavement
Here we are between two worlds- the reality of their death in the present, and the treasured memories of who they were in the past. We seek to hold both their death and our own grief with compassion and tenderness.
- adapted from "The Healing of Sorrow" by Norman Vince Peale