The hardest thing about a loved one’s completed suicide is not finding them or hearing the news of their death. The hardest thing is the days, weeks, months, and even years that follow. It is painful and it takes time. The path that each person follows is unique and no two paths are the same. Grief is that way.
This type of death brings with it its own traumatic aftermath. Death is painful and a loved one’s completed suicide is the most difficult of all deaths. The “if only I had” or the “why didn’t I see it coming” are just two of the questions asked by those left behind. The list of questions is as individual as each person involved in the process.
Anger can be immediate and hard to process. First-responders see the shock and hear the words that are spoken when the unthinkable happens. The first thing to know is that your response is yours and wether it seems right or wrong to others or even to yourself it is and was your personal response and that is okay.
During your journey you will confront denial, anger, depression, guilt, uncertainty, and maybe an existential crisis. You are not alone.
There are also the social aspects: The distancing of friends who don’t know what to say. The fear and the lack of understanding that you have to struggle with. The shock of others and your own shock. It all comes together and it all falls apart. You have to deal with it in a world that continues on and at the same time may be dragging you behind.
You might be facing the discovery of secrets that were not taken to the grave. Secrets that the person kept due to fear of telling, or of how they perceived that you would react. And maybe you would have struggled, but you would have dealt with whatever it was. The guilt of not knowing, not taking it as seriously as you now blame yourself for, it all comes tumbling out. The note, or the lack thereof, can cause so much pain it also becomes an issue.
Support and understanding, maybe even some new friends who are finding their way through the same maze, can help. Finding out that you don’t have to do this alone, is a huge help. Finding the insight into making this situation better, is a gift.
Those of us who find ourselves in the process of grieving the loss of a loved one due to a completed suicide, have a story that needs to be told, and retold, until at last, the telling is done and you can move forward. I offer support for the process. This is about you being able to tell your story and coming to terms with it in your own way.
This is about you learning to love yourself, to understand your humanity, and embrace it as you have not done before. It is about learning and growth and saying goodbye in a better way. You can move on from this.
Presently, I offer individual counseling for this and in the future may, consider offering support groups.
I am very open about the fact that some of my training in this area is due to being the spouse of someone who completed suicide. But, I feel it makes me all the more empathetic.
I urge you to find your path to peace.