For every person who commits suicide, there is a large group of people around them who are left behind. Once the police have completed their investigation and the funeral is over, these friends and family are left there beside the grave with fresh grief and far more questions than they’ll ever have answers for.
As cited in an article by USA Today, there are roughly 425 people left behind for each suicide committed with 6-42 people being especially close to the one they lost. With pain and grief, these bereaved must find new ways to navigate lives with a gaping hole ever-present.
There is no “right way” to walk with grief
No one can tell you what is the right way to handle your grief nor is there a time limit on grieving. It is not something you move past but you learn to walk with your grief day by day and each experience of grief is different. Some days are going to be okay and some are going to be bad days when simply getting out of bed is a triumph. It goes back and forth and all around. Months, even years later, the grief of losing your loved one may hit you in a new way.
It’s okay to need help after a loved one commits suicide
After a loved one commits suicide, it’s okay to ask for help when you need it. So much of our lives can revolve around those we love and after we face such a deep loss, we are left wondering how we could ever go on without the one we love. Though it can be tremendously difficult, it can be helpful to voice our pain and express these questions out loud. While each grief is different, there are other people who have also lost people to suicide who know, to some degree, what you are experiencing. They may have suggestions of what helps them or you may simply need them to listen to your experience or hear you tell stories about the one you lost.
Everyone can use extra support when facing these questions. The stories we’ve told ourselves throughout our lives, the dreams we had for the future, are all called into question and we must grapple with the “what now” when we can’t imagine life without that special person by our side. All of this is an immense loss and to talk about it, to acknowledge it, and share memories of our loved ones may be what we need to get through that next day and the day after that.
Though depression, pain, and sadness can be, at times, all we are able to see, there are people and resources around you who are there to help. Experienced in walking with people who have also lost loved ones to suicide, they know what struggles you may have or have suggestions on things you can do to process what you’re going through.
Those left behind face an increased risk of suicide
For those left behind after a loved one commits suicide, they have an increased rate of committing suicide themselves. Younger people, especially, seem particularly susceptible to this trend though it is certainly not limited to that age group. Children of suicide victims, siblings, spouses, relatives, and friends have all been known to take their own lives after someone close to them takes theirs. With such a stigma around suicide, some people silently suffer in their grief without asking for help. With the clear example before them, they see the option of suicide as a viable solution to their pain.
There is always help nearby
If you have survived the loss of a loved one to suicide, there is always help nearby. Remember:
- Talk about the loss of your loved one
- Be honest with where you’re at and what you’re feeling
- Get the help you need whenever you need it
- Don’t judge yourself – each grief is different
- Use the resources available
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: AFSP keeps a list of bereavement support groups throughout the US.
Suicide Awareness Voices of Education: SAVE has multiple resources for coping with suicide loss in addition to multiple support groups throughout California.
Suicide National Prevention Hotline: “If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 (TALK) any time of day or night or chat online.”
Need help cleaning up after a suicide?
If you need help cleaning your property after someone committed suicide, Bio SoCal is always here to take over at a moment’s notice. With suicide cleanup services throughout Southern California, we can answer any questions you have or provide a free quote and consultation. Most insurance policies cover the cost of suicide cleanup.