Survivors of Suicide
A survivor of suicide is a family member or a friend of a person who died by suicide.
Being left behind in the wake of someone’s suicide is often shocking and painful. If that “someone” is someone you love, you will most likely experience not just grief, but trauma over the death. The person you loved just killed the person you love. It’s complicated. It hurts and it is almost unbearable. The unthinkable has not only been thought, but it has been carried out. And, whether you are left to pick up the pieces or watching it from a distance, the shockwaves are undeniable.
It may be thought, and could be true, that a person who completes suicide pays the ultimate price to be pain-free. Their life – their trump card. But the survivors, the ones left behind, will have to reconcile the deck. Each survivor pays a price, an involuntary ante, to play out a hand dealt to them. And, each will hold a spade of guilt, as if the cards were stacked.
As you can surmise, suicide grief is different. It is extremely individual, yet there are some progressional similarities as well as similar emotional experiences. Some common emotions experienced are:
Shock Guilt Disbelief Stress Sadness Helplessness
Denial Lonliness Confusion Depression Self-blame Hopelessness
Anger Shame Numbness Rejection Anxiety Abandonment
These feelings are normal reactions and expression of them is healthy and natural. At first – during the first days and months of grieving survivors may feel overwhelmed by their emotions. Expressing what you are thinking and how you are feeling is important.
Asking “why” is usually a big part of the grieving process because survivors wrestle with the thoughts that it could have been prevented. Sometimes, if there has been some mental illness, death may bring some relief – which is usually followed by feelings of guilt.
It is a complicated path that does not always move a survivor forward. It is important to get help if you are a survivor of suicide