Losing a loved one is undoubtedly one of the most difficult experiences in a person’s life. However, when the death is the result of a suicide, those left behind may face a unique challenge in coping and healing. With this in mind, it is important for those who have experienced a loss from suicide to understand the grieving process after suicide.
While trying to cope with the range of emotions that death always brings, suicide survivors – the family and friends of a person who has committed suicide – are also typically overwhelmed by feelings of blame, anger, incomprehension, and even guilt. After the reality of the suicide has set in, it is common for a survivor to become angry with their loved one, feeling as if they have been abandoned and left to deal with their grief on their own. Also, in situations where the loved one didn’t show signs that they were considering suicide, survivors are left to try and reconcile the person they thought they knew with the final acts in that person’s life. Finally, it is common for suicide survivors to blame themselves for their loved one’s death, questioning whether or not they could have done something to prevent the death.
Given the intensity of the emotional reaction to suicide, it is not uncommon for many survivors to be at risk for depression. If you are a suicide survivor, we encourage you to express all of your feelings, even the most difficult ones. For some people, this could mean simply talking to a friend, and for others it might entail joining a support group where they can share their story with people who are coping with a similar loss. It is OK to be sad, and angry, and all of the other emotions that you might be feeling. It can help to find someone willing to listen.
Whether you have lost a friend or family member to suicide or are simply trying to comfort someone who has, understanding the complicated nature of suicide and what to expect in the aftermath will inevitably help you deal with an otherwise devastating situation. Please contact us at one of the locations below if we can be of help in locating resources that may be helpful to you:
Chapel of the Chimes, 1234 Prospect Street, Indianapolis, IN 46203, (317) 632-9431
Stirling-Gerber Chapel, 5950 E. Thompson Road, Indianapolis, IN 46237, (317) 783-3653
Greenwood Chapel, 481 W. Main Street, Greenwood, IN 46142, (317) 881-2514
Lahm Chapel, 211 E. State Street, Pendleton, IN 46064, (765) 778-2136