My Grief Care

Grieving A Suicide

6 Episodes

Episode 1 : The Uniqueness of Grieving A Suicide


Episode Notes

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
  • Disbelief
  • 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, “_________________________________________________________.”