The loss of a loved one by suicide truly can be a positively devastating occurrence. In the aftermath of a loved one’s suicide, your life nearly certainly feels positively upended. There are some vital, healthy strategies that can assist you in embarking on a healthy, healing course of grieving.
Expect Powerful Emotions
One of the most important things that you must bear in mind that in the aftermath of losing a loved one because of suicide, you will experience truly profound, pervasive emotions. You must understand that this type of heady emotional response is completely natural.
You absolutely must not beat yourself (and make matters worse for you) because you experience a powerful emotional response to this type of tragic loss. Indeed, are only able to move through a healthy and healing grief process by understanding the emotions you might face and recognizing that these emotions are normal for a person in your position.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the types of emotions that you can expect to face include:
- Shock: Even if you had some idea that your loved one was depressed, or having other emotional challenges, odds are that you will be in a state of disbelief when a suicide occurs.
- Anger: You may face a sense of anger in two ways, and at the same time. First, you may be angry with yourself because you feel like you have somehow failed your loved one. Second, you may be angry at your loved one for taking his or her life.
- Guilt: Guilt is another emotion you are likely to experience. You may deeply feel a sense of guilt because you somehow blame yourself for the death of your loved one.
- Despair: The sense of sadness, loneliness, and helplessness may become so extreme that you end up in a true state of despair.
- Confusion: A natural response following the suicide of a loved one is to try and make sense out of what happened. That is more than likely to prove impossible. Thus, you may end up experiencing confusion, a state that very well may last for an extended period of time.
- Rejection: Finally, another emotion that you may experience in the aftermath of the suicide of a loved one is rejection. You may wonder how the relationship you had with your loved one was not enough to prevent the death.
Stigma of Suicide
Even though a growing number of people are candidly “going public” with their own experiences with suicide, a significant stigma remains. The stigma associated with suicide can and likely will impact your own grieving process.
You are almost certain to find that individuals in your life that you thought would be at hand in this type of situation may not be around, or at least not as close to you as you might have anticipated. This may because of their own visceral reaction to suicide more generally. However, you also need to understand that many people simply do not know what to say or how to act when a suicide occurs.
Adopt Healthy Coping Strategies
A primary key to a healthy and healing grieving process following the suicide of a loved one is to adopt and utilize healthy coping strategies. These include:
- Keep in touch with loved ones, including family and friends. Reach out to spiritual leaders for understanding and support. In short, surround yourself with people who will listen to you and do something as simply to give you a shoulder to lean on during these challenging times.
- Understand that you must grieve in your own way. Do not pressure yourself to do anything that doesn’t seem right to you, that isn’t comfortable for you. For example, you need not visit your loved one’s resting place until you feel comfortable doing so. Keep in mind that you do not need to rush the overall grieving process. In fact, working through grief simply is not something that can be rushed.
- Be fully prepared for painful reminders, because they will come. These can come about during special days holidays, and the like. These can also come in the form of places at which you and your loved one spend time.
- Anticipate setbacks in your grieving process. Although something of a cliché, it is an accurate description of grieving generally, and the grief process after a suicide specifically: You will take two steps forward, and then a step backward.
Know When to Seek Professional Help
If you find yourself experiencing unrelenting anguish, or even physical problems, arising from the suicide death of a loved one, the time likely has arrived to seek professional assistance. There are therapists and counselors who focus on aiding people like you in emotionally dealing with the aftermath of a loved one’s suicide.