Suicidal loss

Posted on October 23rd, 2012

One of the hardest losses to reconcile is when our loved one completes the act of suicide. Survivors experience the same intensity of "psyche-ache" as the person who died. Survivors may experience sheer terror themselves, almost to the point of feeling insane. Survivors must make the decision to live. Once they make this self pledge, they can move forward. From this point on everything becomes a first. The first day of waking up after the loss, the first shower, the first everything. Survivors must reinvent themselves completely after such a grievous loss.

Grief is a natural state after a loved one dies. In suicide, it is as if our loved one has been ripped away from us without warning, reason or cause. We are never, and can never prepare for such a death. The closer our relationship to the deceased the more painful our grief. Everyone grieves on their own schedule. For some it may take a year, for others two or three. No one else can predict the length of this journey for us. It is always relative.

Special occasions like the anniversary of the death, holidays, birthdays are times survivors need to plan for. Doings something nurturing for oneself is important--take the day off, get a message, go to a museum or fishing. Do something to honor the person while at the same time taking care of yourself. It is a good idea to make a change in your traditions around Christmas, Hannaka,vacation times, etc. They will never be the same anyway without your loved one in them and trying to do the same sorts of things as before the death will make one's pain all the deeper.

People who have lost loved ones to suicide suffer in different ways than to other causes. There may be a sense of shame involved as if something could have been done to prevent the suicide, that it should have been foreseen. However, little can be done to prevent such an act once it has been decided upon. The suicidal person is a master of deception and secrets. Often right before the event everyone around them will feel as if everything has made a turn for the better. It appears this way because the suicidal person has made the decision to die and this gives them peace of mind--misread as healthy, behavior. We cannot watch people 24/7. We are powerless against a determined, troubled soul who can only think of one solution to their misery-- death. Still, survivors always blame themselves in the beginning. Much of the work of recovery is seeing through this falsehood.

Hope and recovery is available with the support of friends, family and often a grief counselor. Of primary importance is education in understanding the suicidal mind. Once survivors recognize their powerlessness against such devastating emotions as experienced by the suicidal person, they can begin to heal. In most cases a new sense of purpose and meaning emerges in the life of survivors. Their life and careers awaken to dramatic alteration.
Some people go back to school and begin entirely different careers. Some become advocates, while others alter their worldview and live lives richer in content and enjoyment recognizing the fragility of existence. Taking life a day at a time and reveling in the preciousness of the time we still have with family and friends is a true gift our departed loved often leaves us.

REFERENCES: No Time to Say Goodbye, Carla Fine
Dying to be Free, Beverly Cobain & Jean Larch

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