- 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?
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
Grieving A Suicide
Episode 1 : The Uniqueness of Grieving A Suicide
Suicide: A Different Kind of Death
When you hear that someone you love has taken their own life, it can stun you and leave you speechless. It may take time to gather yourself after the initial shock of the news, and you probably won’t have much more to respond with than despair or disbelief. It shatters your world.
If you are a survivor of a loved one’s suicide, you know firsthand that there is something more to your loss, and it seems more shocking and disorienting than other types of losses. And just why is that true? What makes it so different, more shocking and disorienting?
The process of grieving a loss due to suicide has about 80% in common with other types of loss, but the remaining differences are especially devastating and can be disorienting, confusing, and debilitating for the survivor.
Let me clarify: when I use the phrase “survivor of suicide” I mean to refer to a person who has lost a loved one to suicide. I am not referring to a person who attempted their own suicide but survived the attempt.
Survivors of suicide often experience some, or all, of the following:
- Disbelief that the person is dead or disbelief that suicide is the reason.
- The negative stigma associated with taking one’s own life.
- A sense of judgment – spoken or unspoken by others.
- A feeling of responsibility, culpability and even guilt.
- The feeling of abandonment – being left by the deceased.
- Feeling shunned by others, getting less support and empathy.
If the preceding seems painfully familiar to you, I want to say, first of all, that these fears, pain and doubts are to be expected as a survivor of suicide. You are not crazy. You are not forever broken. You are not responsible for your loved one’s actions. And yet you might respond, “Really? Because it sure feels that way!” The best I can say to you is this: as abnormal as these feelings and thoughts may be, they are normal for you, as survivors of suicide.
I have created several additional videos and episodes, each delving more deeply into specifics of the experience of losing a loved one to suicide.
My purpose is to affirm you – to let you know that despite the shock and disorientation you are experiencing, you absolutely can heal. Your healing, however, will not be quick nor easy.
What will healing require?
- It will take time.
- It will take a great deal of effort.
- It will require you to lean into the pain.
- It will require you to examine your beliefs about the loss.
- It will likely require some professional help.
- Being a survivor of suicide is particularly shocking and disorienting.
- Your reactions are understandable and not crazy.
- Surviving a suicidal loss and, ultimately, healing requires traversing an especially difficult path.
- You will heal with time, guidance and courage.
Ask yourself: of the following symptoms, which one or two are most concerning to me right now?
- Feeling responsible
- Sensing judgment from others
- Feeling abandoned and angry
- The stigma associated with suicide
Now, write about those particularly difficult feelings and/or share them with a safe friend.
Safe friends have the following qualities or characteristics:
- They don’t judge.
- They don’t try to fix you.
- They do listen intently.
- They do affirm your feelings.
You fill in the blank by finishing the sentence . . .
If I could share one thought today with my lost loved one, I would say, “_________________________________________________________.”