Suicide is a bereavement like no other and it leaves behind many difficult and painful feelings in family members, friends and colleagues. Very often those left behind feel very isolated, their friends find it difficult to know what to say and therefore are unable to offer support; this in turn increases the isolation felt as the bereaved try to accept that their loved one has taken their own life, they are alone with their thoughts which they find impossible to understand.
However difficult it is, try to accept that you could not control the decision your loved one made. This is hard because you have to acknowledge to yourself that they chose to die. You don’t have to explain why it happened. Try to accept you will probably never fully understand.
The Survivors of Bereavement Support through Suicide Group offers a safe environment to explore, with others, the whirlpool of emotions following suicide. Talking to someone you trust may help you through your grieving. You will never get over it, but in time you will come to terms with what has happened.
There is also the opportunity to speak one to one with others who have been bereaved by suicide.
To find the support group closest to you, visit www.uksobs.org or you can call the national helpline open 9am – 9pm Monday – Friday on 0300 1115065.
The following is an extract from a poem written by a member of The Norfolk and Norwich Suicide Bereavement Support Group who lost her sister through suicide.
We feel we let them down some way, could we have prevented that evil day?
When they decided they could not remain, was their life so consumed with pain?
Will their hurting end at last, now they have escaped their tortured past?
Perhaps the peace and settled mind they so desperately were seeking to find,
has been worth all the hurt and pain left to us while we remain.
It has changed our life in such a way, perhaps we will understand one day,
like life and the changing seasons, we are told there are always reason
for the things we say and do, can any of this make sense to you?
Perhaps you can tell us why the ones we love have to die?
There are resources available offering practical advice for families in the immediate days and weeks when suicide has been the cause of death:
Beyond the Rough Rock – Supporting a Child who has been Bereaved through Suicide (book)
Explaining to a child that someone has died by suicide is possibly one of the most difficult situations that a parent might ever face. It is a useful book aimed at giving parents and professionals the confidence to involve children in discussions about the nature of a death by suicide. It is hoped that children may then begin to understand some of the complexities that often surround suicide. The book includes child-friendly activities for you to do as a family as you begin to make sense of what has happened and start to look at ways in which your family can learn to cope.
Red Chocolate Elephants (book & accompanying DVD)
In this moving and beautiful book, children write and draw what it was like losing a parent to suicide. With directness they offer insights for other children facing such tragedy, for parents, carers and therapists supporting such children, and for any one responding to suicide of grief and seeking to continue life. Red Chocolate Elephants is a most therapeutic gift.
If you would like a copy of of any of these resources, please contact us.
Luna’s Red Hat
This beautifully illustrated book can be read with children aged six and above who have experienced the loss of a loved one by suicide. It also included a guide for parents by bereavement expert Dr Riet Fiddelaers-Jaspers.
Help Is At Hand
This guide provides emotional and practical support for people affected by suicide. The authors are people who have themselves been bereaved by suicide and want to share their experience to help others. This guide can also be viewed online here.
The Terrible Truth
The Terrible Truth is a short film by Tom Whitemore in which two survivors talk about the loss of a loved one.
Watch The Terrible Truth on Vimeo