Life can be lost in just a matter of moments. Death is never easy for the loved ones who have to continue and this holds especially true for those who have lost a loved one due to suicide.
Guilt, anger, hurt, and a sense of abandonment is common after the loss of someone due to suicide. What drives an individual to take their own life? Hopelessness, depression, the feeling that what they face is too heavy or too great for them to bear. It can be a lot and leaves everyone with a million questions, some of which will never be answered.
Processing grief is extremely difficult and often takes a lifetime. The pain that remains may never truly go away, but it is important to know that help is out there. The loss of a loved one shouldn’t be faced alone nor should it be swept under the rug in an attempt to live a normal life afterward.
It is okay to feel the confusing emotions that came when life grounded to an unexpected halt. It’s okay to cry, scream, or even reminisce about the loss of your loved one.
Healing takes time and patience for any loss, but with suicide, individuals may feel more reluctant to seek out help. This blog is targeted towards helping suicide loss survivors understand what they are going through and where they can seek out help.
Why Is Suicide Different?
Unlike death that comes from a battle with a long illness or suddenly in a car accident, suicide is self-inflicted. It is often sudden, can be violent, and typically blindsides the loved ones of the individual.
Survivors of suicide loss are often met with many questions from other relatives, the police, or even the press, which can be incredibly difficult to answer, especially when the reason behind it is unknown.
Some family members may feel angry, while others can feel sympathetic to the suicide victim.
Talking about death can also be incredibly difficult as people may question how they passed. Admitting that the individual took their own life can feel isolating as most people will be unsure what to say or they will have strong opinions on the matter. Whatever the case, one thing is clear, there is no easy way to deal with the situation.
Some decisions help individuals grieve and others force them to relive the trauma.
Mental Health Element
Despite the continuing efforts to show more support to individuals with mental illnesses in today’s society, there is still a stigma attached. Mental illness is usually a huge factor in a person’s decision to take their own life, which can leave many suicide loss survivors feeling uncertain or confused.
Depending on your family’s personal beliefs, suicide may be considered a sin or selfish, which can create division or a feeling that talking about it is frowned upon. This can lead to feelings of deep shame for the survivors, especially for those who try to keep the suicide a secret, and can lead to the continuing trauma of the family for many years or even generations.
Fear of judgment, isolation due to belief differences, and shame can undermine a family’s ability to support each other through this difficult process. This can have a long-lasting impact on everyone, particularly those who are also dealing with mental health issues on top of it.
Lack of Reason or Mixed Emotions
Death in any circumstances is often followed by a period of conflicting emotions. Whether it was caused by intolerable circumstances or mental illness, suicide can feel like an assault or attack on the surviving family members. How could their loved one just choose to abandon them? These emotions can be difficult to sort through or to even face.
If the victim didn’t leave a note behind or give a reason to explain their action, it can be even more difficult to understand or even feel any sympathy. The need to know why or the continuous questioning can leave the survivors wondering if it was their fault.
Perhaps they could have done something, said something, or just been there more and the whole situation could have been avoided. However, this line of thinking is often destructive, isolating, and can leave one succumbing to the numbing and life-altering hands of guilt.
No matter the circumstances leading up to the suicide, one thing is crystal clear, no one should face it alone. Seeking support, whether it is from a suicide support group, a grief counselor, a church, or friends and family is extremely important.
If you feel that you cannot physically talk about your grief with an individual face to face, there are online options that can help immensely and allow survivors to work through their grief at their own pace. It also helps remove the stigma of the death itself, allowing victims to feel more comfortable or open to talking about it.
A Friend Lost a Loved One to Suicide—What Do I Do?
Knowing what to say to a friend after their loved one passed away is always difficult and it can drive some people to not say anything. However, your friend is going to need you now more than ever. Here are some ways you can provide support to your friend:
- Stay close: Especially in cases of suicide, your friend may feel more isolated as the topic may be avoided with family. Make sure to reach out to them regularly to check-in. Whether that means calling them on the phone, taking them out to dinner, or playing video games, contact is important to show compassion and let them know that someone is there. Don’t let awkwardness or even fumbling over your words keep you from reaching out. Your friend will just be happy to have someone there as long as the compassion is genuine.
- Avoid pushing your faith on or providing empty assurance. Remember, everyone believes or thinks about death differently. Stay away from words that, at this moment, have no meaning such as, “they are in a better place now.” These statements are more hurtful than reassuring.
- Don’t shy away from memories: If you have a fond memory of the deceased, don’t be afraid to bring it up. These can help with the healing process and keep the individual’s memory alive. Your friend may want to talk about them and remember them fondly.
- Help With the Practical Things: Offer to make them meals, cut the grass, or clean their house. Oftentimes, individuals who are grieving won’t feel like jumping right back into life.
- Grief Doesn’t Just Go Away: Grief isn’t an illness. It doesn’t just disappear one day. Remember to continue to show support and be there for them when they go back to work because unfortunately, grief is still looming in the background. Ignoring it or no longer checking in can make the individual feel like they are not allowed to talk about it. Be patient and be willing to listen to your friend when they want to speak. Mark special holidays, such as birthdays, and continue to show support on those days by checking in or sending a card.
Red Responders Suicide Cleanup Services
Suicide is devastating for those that are left behind. Red Responders is a compassionate team of biohazard remediation technicians who can help clean up the aftermath and return the room/home to its original state.
This will help remove the negative memories of the event and leave behind only the cherished memories to help individuals get through the event.
Our vans are unmarked and our team works discreetly to protect the family of the deceased. Contact our team today for more information on our suicide cleanup services.