Book Review of “The Gift of Second: Healing from the Impact of Suicide”

The Gift of Second: Healing from the Impact of Suicide is a guide to healing from the loss of a loved one by suicide through a healthy bereavement process. The Gift of Second: Healing from the Impact of Suicide is the work of clinical psychologist Brandy Lidbeck and is one of the more highly regarded texts on the subject of grief and suicide.

Overview of The Gift of Second: Healing from the Impact of Suicide

The author makes note that she wrote The Gift of Second: Healing from the Impact of Suicide after working professionally with a considerable number of survivors of suicide loss. She explains that she saw firsthand how survivors of suicide loss struggle, and painfully so, from the unexplainable tragedy of a loved one taking his or her own life.

When Lidbeck set out to create a text to aid people confronting the aftermath of suicide, and the accompanying grief, she was intent on providing usable guide to survivors. Indeed, she has crafted The Gift of Second: Healing from the Impact of Suicide in a way that it serves not only as one-time read about dealing with grief following suicide but rather is a text that people can return to time and again.

Tactics Developed in The Gift of Second: Healing from the Impact of Suicide

In developing The Gift of Second: Healing from the Impact of Suicide as a true guidebook on how to maneuver through the oftentimes overwhelming grief associated with suicide loss, the book addresses a number of specific issues and tactics that include:

  • Explore the ins and outs of grief and trauma
  • Release the guilt and shame survivors carry
  • Recognize how to take care of yourself
  • Gain practical tips for enduring the first year
  • Determine when to seek professional help

Explore the Ins and Outs of Grief and Trauma

In order to bereave in a healthy manner following the suicide of a loved one, a person must understand the essential elements of grief and trauma. The elements of grief and trauma are set out in a meaningful, comprehensive, and accessible manner in this book.

When it comes to these essential elements of grief, a survivor of suicide loss needs to understand that the grieving experience and bereavement process if highly unique for each person who’s lost a loved one to suicide. With that said, understanding some of the structures that experts have tried to apply to the grieving process can be helpful in healing from suicide. For example, the five stages of grief conceptualized by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross can be a helpful way of understanding the ins and outs of grief.

The five stages of grief in this modality are:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

The author of this book clarifies that these stages of grief do not occur in a linear manner following a suicide loss. Rather, they happen in a different course for each individual. Moreover, a survivor of suicide loss may experience more than one stage simultaneously.

Release the Guilt and Shame Survivors Carry

Time and again, survivors of suicide loss are unable to process their grief and face an excruciating sense of shame. The Gift of Second: Healing from the Impact of Suicide provides concrete strategies to address grief in a health manner, to throw off the yolk of shame, and to begin to heal.

Specific strategies to release guilt and shame are derived from an individual’s personal experiences following the suicide of a loved one. For example, the release of shame for many survivors of suicide loss oftentimes is brought forth by sharing on some level the experience. Perhaps this is accomplished in a support group, perhaps it is accomplished among trusted loved ones.

Gain Practical Tips for Enduring the First Year

As mentioned previously, this text is designed to be a true guidebook to dealing with grieving after suicide. As such, the book sets forth practical tips and tactics that can be employed to maneuver through the first year after a suicide loss in a healthy manner. As an aside, many of the tips enumerated for getting through the first year following a suicide loss are applicable into the future as well, as needed.

  • Focus on self-care
  • Set boundaries with others
  • Accept that you will experience an array of emotions
  • Focus on resolving feelings of guilt
  • Battle blame; understand another’s suicide is not your fault
  • Consider joining a survivor of suicide loss support group
  • Be open to reconfiguring your life

Recognize How to Take Care of Yourself

A highly-regarded expert on the subject of self-care, the author presents specific strategies on what must be done in this regard when bereaving the suicide death of a family member or friend. The book relies on strategies the author uses regularly and successfully with her own client. Healthy living must be embraced on all fronts, according to the book. You need to take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and psychologically. You need to reestablish a sense of balance in your life, something that likely was thrown asunder when a loved one took his or her life.

Determine When to Seek Professional Support and Assistance

The Gift of Second: Healing from the Impact of Suicide sets forth key indicators as to when a person dealing with grieving after suicide should seek professional assistance. The book make note that professional support can come in a number of forms, including:

  • Group grief therapy
  • Individual grief therapy
  • A combination of group and individual therapy

About the Author

Brandy Lidbeck, the author of The Gift of Second: Healing from the Impact of Suicide, not only writes and works with clients, she is also a highly regarded speaker on an array of topics, including the healthy grieving of suicide loss and self-care during an overwhelming, if not horrendous, situation following the suicide of a loved one. She is a well-established expert on the subject of grieving after suicide.

Summary

In the final analysis, The Gift of Second: Healing from the Impact of Suicide is well recommended to a person who has lost a loved one by suicide. The text is comprehensive and provides an understandable set of strategies that can be pursued whilst a person is bereaving the loss of a family member or other loved one at their own hand.

Because the book is written by a mental health professional, with a practical understanding of what people endure when mourning a grieving a suicide loss, the text approaches the subject matter in a uniquely compassionate manner.