Emotions & Challenges:
Sadness, depression and despair are common and almost inevitable following the loss of a loved one to suicide. In the beginning, it may be difficult to find hope or envision a future that holds any happiness.
Most survivors say that until they experienced this kind of loss, they had no idea that pain could be so deep. Many mental health professionals still do not understand the depth of pain felt by survivors.
On the Alliance of Hope Forum, members have written:
“The pain is just overwhelming. At times it takes my breath away and I think how can I survive? This is just too much to be able to bear.” “I keep losing myself. I start doing things around the house and then can’t remember what I was doing. My mind just wants to shut down. I manage to go on, but it doesn’t seem real, like I’m in 2 different places. I miss her so very much that it feels as if my soul has been ripped apart.” “I wasn’t prepared for this to happen. (How could anyone be?) I can’t come to grips with this event. I want my boy back. I don’t want him gone. I feel so sorry and regretful that I couldn’t stop this. I feel so tormented by my son’s suicide. I feel so ill when I think about never seeing my son again … ill, like there is a cinder-block on my chest … ill, like my throat is closing up. I cried all day today. I want this not to be true…. All I want is my beloved son back and it is not going to happen and I’m devastated. The pain and sorrow keep getting worse and worse. My heart is broken beyond repair. I feel so dead inside, yet so full of the most incomprehensible emotions I have ever experienced in my whole life.”
Some survivors express thoughts about ending their own lives in order to escape the pain –or join their loved ones:
“While I manage to get through the days — I have to — I’m mired in guilt and grief and just don’t see any reason to go on myself.” “The pain hurt so bad then and still today, that I want to die, not that I would kill myself, but if a truck pulled in front of me it would be fine.”
Those who are further along in their healing journey are usually quick to speak up, with reassurance that though loss by suicide is traumatic – with time and grief work – the pain will soften and diminish.
In the aftermath of suicide, survivors are forever altered. They are catapulted onto a challenging journey, to grieve the loss of their loved one and rebuild their lives. It’s important to know that no one has to travel the journey alone. Others have gone before and will guide the way.