Grief After a Suicide

By: Matthew Funeral Home
Thursday, December 13, 2018


As funeral directors, we help families of all kinds deal with grief and see how families are affected by loss firsthand. The loss of a loved one can be devastating. But when a loved one takes their own life, the grief that families feel afterwards can be devastating. There are over 32,000 suicides a year nationwide. Mourning the death of a loved one who passed from a suicide attempt can be painful grieving process for you and your family.

Suicide and Younger People

Suicide is the number 2 cause of death among young people in the US. Part of what makes suicide even more painful is that it is often unexpected, and often from the younger generation. Suicide in teens and young adults can often be an unexpected shock because death at a young age seems so unlikely.

Blaming Yourself

When a loved one dies, it is common to put some of the blame on yourself. People often tell themselves that they should have spent more time with the deceased; or that they should have treated them better. In cases of suicide, loved ones often feel this self-doubt and self-defeat even more. They may blame themselves for not being there for the deceased.
 It is common for family members of suicide victim to say things like “I was too hard on them” or “I should have seen that something was wrong.” You shouldn’t blame yourself for your loved one’s suicide. Sometimes you might not have been aware of your loved one’s mental health. In many cases, suicide can be prevented. But that doesn’t mean that their suicide is on you. understanding that you are not responsible for your loved one’s depression is the first step towards acceptance.

Accepting Their Depression

While not every suicide is caused by depression, it is a major cause. Depression has a lot of different signs and symptoms, so it can often be overlooked if you aren’t aware of what to look for. Sometimes, you won’t even know that your loved one is depressed. They might not even know it themselves.
Some symptoms of depression include sad, empty feelings; anxiety; hopelessness; pessimism; feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness; loss of appetite; overeating; lack of interest in hobbies or activities once found pleasurable; loss of sex drive; insomnia; excessive sleeping; thoughts of suicide; attempted suicide; slowed thinking or speech; crying spells; and more.
Some people will try to hide their depression from loved ones. It may just be that they were trying to keep it away from you. You should not blame yourself for not knowing that your loved one was depressed.

Sudden Loss

Suicides often affect us so much because they are usually very sudden. It is often unexpected, and seemingly out of nowhere. The death of a loved one can often be jolting, especially if unexpected. There is a big difference in how we are affected by grief between a sudden suicide and a grandparent who has been sick for a long time. While they are both terrible losses, we are aware that a sick grandparent may not live much longer. We have time to prepare for their passing. We have time to say goodbye and ready ourselves for the empty seat at the table on holidays. Suicide can come seemingly out of the blue; when we aren’t prepared for it. Suicide usually affects younger people as well; who we also don’t expect to be passing on.

Stigma of Suicide

Suicide has a very harsh stigma around it. To many people, suicide is a sin, or is seen as a crime. But most people that commit suicide are usually not in full control of their actions. Research shows that about 60 percent of adolescents, and about 90 percent of adults, who die by suicide have an underlying mental and/or alcohol or substance-abuse disorder. 
Part of this stigma is the language used when talking about suicide. Many people will say that someone “commited suicide.” But the word “committed” is often used in talking about crime or wrongdoing. Experts suggest using less stigmatized phrasing such as “They completed suicide” or “They died by suicide.” These phrasings take the blame off of the victim. 
Some people may consider suicide as a selfish act. But it is important to remember that in most cases, it is a choice not done with a clear mind. Suicide is not an easy choice to make. Those suffering from the mental anguish and despair to consider suicide have experienced a lot of pain to come to that decision. To call suicide a selfish act makes light of the complexity of this loss and events leading up to it.

Survivors of Suicide Loss

Losing someone to suicide can be difficult. You may blame them, yourself, or others for their passing. It is important to understand the complexities of suicide to fully realize why they came to this decision. Talk with your loved ones about the deceased. It can be helpful to have a close-knit support system with your family or friends after the sudden loss that suicide brings on. You may also want to seek out grief counselling or a support group of people who have also lost a loved one to suicide.

Suicide Prevention

Suicide, in many cases, can be prevented. If you or your loved one is exhibiting depressive behaviors, expressing suicidal thoughts, or abusing alcohol or other substances to the point where it is affecting them in a dangerous way; seek counselling or group help for them or yourself. If you or your loved one is depressed or contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

The author of this post is not a professional therapist or counselor. For assistance in finding a grief counselor that is right for you, there are a number of resources out there. For our Grief Resource center, written by Dr. Bill Webster, click here
For almost 50 years, Matthew Funeral Home has been serving the Staten Island community. We can help with almost every aspect of your loved one’s memorial service. Our family is here to serve yours, every step of the way.
 

Leave a comment
Name*:
Email:
Comment*:
Please enter the numbers and letters you see in the image. Note that the case of the letters entered matters.

Comments

Please wait

Previous Posts

Celebrating the Birthday of a Loved One Who Has Passed

Anniversaries and holidays can be difficult after the passing of a loved one. This can also be true for their birthday. It can be a painful reminder of absence in your life; but also a reminder of...

Ancient Funeral Rites

    Humans have found different ways to honor the dead throughout history. Almost every culture had rites for the dead. The first burial site from paleolithic human cultures is estim...

Ash Scattering Ceremonies: What to Say

It can be hard to come up with a eulogy for a funeral, but many people at least know how one should sound. As many people have less experience with ash scattering ceremonies, it can be harder to r...

LGBTQ+ Rights for Funerals

English poet John Donne once stated, “Death comes equally to us all, and makes us all equal when it comes.” While this can be a comforting sentiment, it is important to know your rights, even when...

Matthew Funeral Home Reviewed as Top 3 in NYC

The Scamardella family is proud to announce that Matthew Funeral Home has been named as one of the Top 3 funeral homes in New York City, according to threebestrated.com. We have been proudly servin...

Cell Phone Etiquette at Funerals

Funerals are a time of mourning, but they can also be a source of reconnection for friends and family. As such, it can feel like the time to pull out your phone and reconnect with those you have no...

Losing a Sibling

Grief is a very normal response to losing a loved one, but when you lose a sibling; your grief can be confusing. The loss of a sibling can be painful, and hard to overcome. But you have the right t...

Grief and the Death of an Elderly Loved One

Grief affects us all differently, especially when the one we lost was a huge part of our lives. After the loss of an elderly individual, grief can be a strange thing. On one hand they lived a full...

Freedoms of Ceremony During the Pandemic

    Amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, the whole nation is feeling losses. Many families were separated from their loved ones as they fought a losing battle to this disease. Additi...

5 Yoga Poses to Help Maintain your Health

Yoga is a great way to improve your health. Yoga offers you a good opportunity to stretch your muscles and work on balance; which are both important for staying healthy as you age. 1 in 4 seniors w...