Grief Is Profound & Complicated
Losing a loved one is never easy. But when that loss comes from suicide, the grief and pain are profoundly unique and multifaceted. The grief that follows a loved one’s suicide is a pain with so much depth and complexity fullyi t isoften misunderstood by those who have no experienced it
As the author of this blog, I’ve been through this heartbreaking journey not once, but twice. I lost a dear friend and, most devastatingly, my own brother to suicide. This is why I feel it is important to write this blog. I have been there and it is a club I don’t want to belong to, but I do.
I embrace the tribe of beautiful humans who are trying to heal from this kind of loss (any loss).
The Multifaceted Nature of Suicide Grief:
So Many Unanswered Questions
One of the most tormenting aspects is the myriad of unanswered questions. “Why did they do it?” “Could I have prevented it?” These questions can haunt the bereaved, leading to feelings of guilt and regret.
Stigma and Isolation
Society often stigmatizes suicide, making it challenging for survivors to openly express their feelings or share their experience. This can lead to isolation and a sense of loneliness.
Anger, confusion, and betrayal might intermingle with the more “traditional” feelings of sadness and loss.
An Endless Loop of “What Ifs”
Unlike other forms of passing where the reasons might be clear-cut (like illnesses), suicide often leaves the bereaved in a perpetual loop of seeking closure. The need to find a tangible reason or signs they might have missed can consume their thoughts.
Suddenness and Shock (The Abrupt Loss)
s: For many, the loss through suicide is unexpected and sudden. This abruptness can leave individuals in a state of shock, making it challenging to process emotions and reality. The thought “They were just here” can be a constant echo, adding to the torment.
Recurring Trauma (Vivid Memories and Flashbacks)
Those closest to the deceased might suffer from recurring visions of the event, even if they weren’t there to witness it. These intrusive thoughts can be distressing, leading to heightened anxiety or even symptoms resembling PTSD.
Fear of Judgment (Hesitation to Share)
Due to prevailing stigmas, survivors might fear being judged or blamed for not preventing the suicide. This can make them hesitant to talk about the loss, amplifying feelings of isolation.
The Weight of Public Perception
Facing the Outside World: Whether it’s whispers, pitying looks, or well-intentioned but hurtful remarks, survivors often feel like they’re under a magnifying glass. The weight of public perception, combined with personal grief, can be overwhelming.
Navigating the Grief
It’s essential to understand that grieving a suicide loss isn’t linear. Some days are better, and some days the weight feels unbearable. Here’s how I’ve tried to navigate this challenging journey:
Seeking Support (Lean on Professionals and Loved Ones)
Consider seeking therapists who specialize in grief counseling or suicide loss. Joining support groups can also provide a sense of community, allowing you to connect with individuals who have undergone similar experiences. Don’t hesitate to lean on friends and family, even if it’s just to have someone listen.
Creating a Safe Space (Establish a Judgement-Free Zone)
It’s essential to have an area or medium where you can express your feelings openly. This could be a personal journal, art, music, or even a dedicated space in your home. Engage in activities that allow you to process your emotions, such as writing, painting, or meditation.
Honoring Their Memory (Celebrate Their Life)
Organize memorial events, plant a tree in their name, or set up a scholarship fund. By focusing on the positive memories, the love, and the joy shared, you can keep their spirit alive. Small daily acts, like listening to a song they loved or visiting places you frequented together, can also serve as beautiful tributes.
In the wake of such profound loss, the path to healing might seem insurmountable. However, through proactive steps like seeking support, creating personal sanctuaries for expression, and celebrating the life of the departed, one can find solace and strength. Remember, grief is not a straight path; it’s a journey with its ups and downs, twists and turns.
While the pain of loss may never fully dissipate, over time, with care and understanding, its intensity can soften. Every individual’s healing process is unique, so trust in your own journey and know that it’s okay to seek guidance along the way. Through community, self-expression, and honoring memories, we can find our way back to hope and light.
We also have a blog titled “Navigating the Silent Grief of Suicide with Creativity” as well as a FREE course that also might help: 7 Journal Promps for Grief Support