- Understanding Grief
- People Grieve Differently
- The Brain Fog of Grief
- The Vocabulary of Grief
- Grievers Don’t Need to be Fixed
- Misconceptions About Grief
- There Are No Orderly and Predictable Stages In Grief
- When Caring People Say Dumb Things When You’re Grieving
- What to Say to Others When You’re Grieving
- The Impact of Who you Lost and How you Lost Them
- Heavy Grief Days
- The Grief Letter
- Ways to Remember Them
- Permissions for Grievers
- Creating Bright Spots in the Midst of Grief
- Why Are Many Grievers Not Comfortable Crying In Front of Others?
- Why Grievers Don’t Need to Be Strong
- Do I Just Need Time to Heal From Grief?
- Why Do Grieving People Get the Message They Shouldn’t Be Sad?
- Is Staying Busy Good for Grief?
- The Isolation of Grief
- Can You Fill the Void Left by the Death of Loved One?
- How Long Does the Pain of Grief Last?
- How Do You Get Over Grief?
- I Don’t Want to Forget My Loved One Who Died
- Relationships Change After Loss
- Why Don’t Friends and Family Understand Your Grief?
- How to Tell Others What You Need in Your Grief
- Grief Can Cause You to Re-evaluate Relationships
- I Lost My Spouse and My Friends
- All the Phases in the Grief Journey
- I’m Grieving and Just Barely Surviving
- Why Do I Feel Like I Am Just Existing in My Grief?
- When Will I Be Ready for Grief Counseling?
- Can You Heal Your Grief?
- Living Again After Losing a Loved One
- How Grief Affects Mental Health
- Grief & Depression
- How Trauma Affects Your Grief
- Co-Dependency and Grief
- Should I take medication for my grief?
- The Uniqueness of Grieving A Suicide
- Suicide Shock: I Can’t Believe They Did It
- Feeling Blame and Shame After a Suicide
- The Abandonment of Suicide
- The Stigma of Suicide
- Interview with widow who lost two husbands by suicide
- Losing Your Husband to Suicide
- What To Do With Your Loved One’s Belongings After They Die
- No Cost Financial Coaching & Planning for Widows: Chris Bentley
- Hope When Shattered By Grief
- Answers to Your Questions About Grief
- Is Being Angry at God a Sin After My Loved One Died?
- Where Did My Peace, Joy and Gratitude Go after I lost my loved one?
- Can Grief and Hope Co-Exist?
- Why Does God Heal Some People But Not Others?
- Is Suicide an Unforgivable Sin?
- Why Do I Dislike Platitudes and Bible Verses?
- Why Did God Let My Loved One Die?
- Surviving The Holidays
Grieving A Suicide
Foundations Of Grief
Misconceptions About Grief
Relationships After Loss
The Grief Journey
Grief & Mental Health
Grieving A Suicide
Conversations On Grief
Questions Grieving Christians Ask
Coping With The Holidays and Other Tough Special Days
Grieving A Suicide
Episode 2 : Suicide Shock: I Can’t Believe They Did It
Disbelief After a Suicide
Disbelief is a natural response to the overwhelming announcement that your loved one has ended their life. You naturally want another outcome – another answer – some kinder and more believable explanation. A suicidal death may be too shocking and so unfathomable as to be taken in as truth.
You may be thinking:
- “They would have never done such a thing – they loved their life and their family too much.” In short, a suicidal death may be too shocking and so unfathomable as to be taken in as truth.
- “Am I sure it was a suicide? I just don’t believe she would have ever ended her life in that way.” The specific manner of death, even if you can accept that your loved one was capable of suicide, doesn’t seem to fit the person you knew so well. It just doesn’t track for you.
- “I don’t believe they are really dead. I need to see their body.” Such a need for personal proof of your loved one’s death is not uncommon when an unexpected death occurs. Unless you were the one who discovered your loved one’s body, the death might not seem real to you.
These types of reactions and questions are natural and fully human responses to the overwhelming announcement that your loved one has ended their life. You naturally want another outcome – another answer – some kinder and more believable explanation.
Instead, you find yourself body-slammed by the brutal reality that somehow, and for some reason, your loved one decided to end their life. You’re faced with the difficult realization that they lost all hope.
And apparently, death seemed to be the only way out – and they took it. You say to yourself and others that it cannot be true, can it?
On top of the shocking news, you realize that you might never fully understand their state of mind as they, tragically, concluded that death was the less painful road. Perhaps if they had left you with a cogent and rational explanation, you could take it in. But you should understand that your loved one didn’t have the capacity at the time to rationally articulate their pain, fear, and hopelessness, nor could they adequately share the reason for their decision. Many questions remain unanswered.
Is it any wonder, then, that you struggle with disbelief? How could you not?
Yet, we know that one of the first hurdles to healing from a loss is acceptance. So, if you cannot accept (even if you don’t necessarily understand why) that your loved one is dead and that they ended their own life, you are stuck behind a significant barrier to proceeding on a path of healing.
So what can you do with disbelief? Only you can determine the timing for confronting your disbelief. But at some point, you will need to explore and answer your doubts about your loved one’s manner of death. You may need to view your loved one’s body (if possible) or speak to trustworthy people who can verify any disputed facts. But your disbelief may be more about accepting that your loved one, beyond your knowledge, was suffering from some significant level of pain and/or fear and that they had succumbed to a fatal sense of hopelessness.
- It is natural for you to question or disbelieve news of a suicide – or even deny your loved one’s death.
- Denial blocks our acceptance of the reality of the loss.
- Without acceptance, we cannot move forward on a healing path.
- Acceptance may take time and require seeking answers to questions you’d rather avoid.
If you struggle with disbelief, I’ve given you a lot to think about. If you aren’t up to dealing with this today, that’s understandable. Know that, in time, you will be able to lean into this obstacle. You will know when it is time to confront your disbelief. Thank you for considering these very difficult thoughts.
If you remain in a state of disbelief, consider what steps you might take to accept as much of the reality of loss as possible. It may be helpful to find a trustworthy and sympathetic ally to help you take those steps.
Acceptance is a primary and necessary step to healthy grieving. Yet disbelief is a natural response to a painful realization. This means we must courageously seek to satisfy our disbelief. Because only then can we take our first steps toward healing.