The Tragedy Of Suicide
Having someone that you love commit suicide is one of the most painful human experiences imaginable. It is a sort of grief that is hard to imagine unless you are aware of the victim’s circumstances or know them personally. Even if you have experienced the loss of many other loved ones, even through tragic circumstances, dealing with the grief of someone who is gone because they took their own life is so much different. Regardless of your age or your gender, or that of the person who has passed away, dealing with suicide is never easy. It is a grief that seems more personal than any other kind, and leaves us wondering, sometimes for the rest of our lives, the true cause of their final act of desperation.
A Different Kind of Grief
Dealing with the loss of a loved one whose death was a result of suicide is very challenging. In addition to the immense feelings of loss and sadness you may also be experiencing shock, blame, anger, and trouble understanding what went wrong. A suicide is usually an unexpected death, so it is hard dealing with all of these feelings at the same time. Many people have described the grief process of someone who died of suicide as a terrible roller coaster that just won’t end.
There are many feelings that come with the death of someone that you love in this manner. Some of the feelings that are experienced are guilt, blame, anger, shame, confusion, relief, despair, betrayal, and of course abandonment. This mix of emotions is understandably overwhelming and as a result the grieving individual may feel that they are very disconnected from the person who has passed away as well as those that are still living.
Many people who are grieving after a suicide become obsessed with the need to understand the person’s reasons for their action. This can be an overwhelming need, and one that can never be fulfilled. Because of this, there may be a huge sense of responsibility for the death. Other people get angry and feel as though the deceased went about the suicide as a hateful act; to get back at them for something.
The Stigma Attached with Suicide
The stigma attached with suicide truly does affect the mourning process, more so than a lot of people realize. There are many cultural taboos and religious beliefs attached to suicide that can lead one to be unfairly judged by friends when they really need them the most. Many people avoid the subject of suicide altogether, not ever allowing themselves the time to deal with the grief that they are feeling. The stigma attached to suicide really does leave a lot of people feeling very isolated and stressed out which can make the grief process all the more difficult, and may leave some at risk for suicide or suicidal ideation themselves.
You’re Not Alone
When you are coping with the loss of someone that you love and you are dealing with the mix of emotions and the compounded grief experienced by those touched by suicide, you should know that you are not alone. Annually there are 10 to 20 million people who attempt to commit suicide, and they are people of all ages, races, and social status. In fact, one in four people know someone who has passed away through this means. Men over the age of 70 are more likely to commit suicide though it is seen in people of all ages from the very young to the very old.
Coping with Your Loss
Are you struggling with the loss of someone who died through the act of suicide? It can be very difficult but you need to remember that you are not alone. Coping with the loss is something that everyone does differently, but there are some things that you can do to help yourself move through the grief process. First and foremost, you need to acknowledge the suicide even though it may be against your religious or cultural belief. Next, you should recognize your feelings and the loss that you have experienced. Be sure to talk openly with your friends and family members about your grief, reaching out to your friends.
Many people find that support groups specifically for those that have been affected by suicide are very helpful. There are groups of this type for every age group, so you’ll be sure to find one where you fit right in. Also give yourself permission to struggle with birthdays and anniversaries that are tied to the deceased, as these can be the most difficult times during the year. Try creating or perpetuating a familiar routine that will honor the person that you loved, and their life.
Dealing with the loss of a loved one through suicide is difficult and if you are struggling and just need to talk to someone there is always someone you can reach out to. Even if you don’t feel like you can talk to your friends and you don’t want to burden your family members, there are still other resources. Visit Befrienders Worldwide and you’ll find that there are plenty of people that can help you through this very difficult time. And don’t forget the GriefManagement Forums where a community of folks just like you is willing to share their experiences and offer the support you need.
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