When a loved one takes their own life, the emotions that you experience can be heart-wrenching. You might be consumed by not only grief but also guilt, left wondering if there was something you could have done to prevent their death. If you are facing life after the death of a loved one who committed suicide, understand that you do not have to cope alone.
Below we will discuss what you may be feeling and how you can cope.
A Strong and Powerful Mix of Emotions
A loved one’s suicide can trigger intense emotions. Aside from the normal five stages of grief as outlined by psychiatrist Kubler-Ross [link to blog 3], you may experience shock and disbelief. You might deny that your loved one could have really taken their own life. You might feel angry with your loved one for abandoning you and leaving you with all of this grief or you might be angry at yourself or other loved ones for not seeing the signs.
Understandably, you will probably experience guilt. You’ll likely play many conditional scenarios in your mind and blame yourself, which could ultimately lead to despair, loneliness and helplessness.
In the end, you might find yourself confused, stuck forever with unanswered questions and an inability to make sense out of the death.
The Suicide Stigma
When someone takes their own life, there is often a stigma attached. Many people may not feel comfortable reaching out to you to offer comfort and condolence, which may leave you feeling even more abandoned and isolated.
If you are religious, some religions may limit the funeral rites and rituals, which can also be distressing.
Try to Adopt Healthy Coping Strategies
Grieving and accepting the death of a loved one is emotionally and physically exhausting. Make sure you remember to think about your own wellbeing, which is very difficult in the moment.
Reach out to your loved ones, friends and others for support, comfort and understanding. Surround yourself with people who are there for you in order to combat the feeling of isolation and helplessness. This will also help you deal with painful reminders, like anniversaries and holidays. If family traditions are too painful to continue at this time, try to change or suspend them until you are ready.
If it’s too hard to talk to family, consider going to a therapist or even a grief group for others who are experiencing the same loss as you. You might be able to learn from other stories and become more honest with your emotions around non-judgmental strangers.
Don’t rush yourself. Everyone grieves differently and losing someone who has taken their own life is a tremendous blow. Understand that some days will be better than others and that’s OK. The healing process isn’t linear.
Hetherington Funerals in Perth is here to help in any way that we can. While you confront the grieving process, we are here to help with the practical matters and funeral planning. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our compassionate funeral directors to learn more.