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Grief and Suicide

Grief after a suicide is usually a different kind of grief.  Those left to grieve are often in need of additional supports, but may actually get less help.  As a society, we are generally uneducated in grief or supporting those that grieve.   A death related to suicide can make this more complex, as suicide is a sensitive subject to discuss. Some may have a reluctancy toward speaking of a self-inflicted death.  Those that usually provide support to you may feel uncomfortable with the conversation and not know what to do or say.  


Stigma and Isolation

The circumstances of a self-inflicted death, may bring feelings of shame and isolation to families. Societal stigmas of a suicide death can cause secrets, confusion and differences among those that survive. For these reasons, we recommend a strong support system of others that have gone through the journey and have found peace and healing along the way.  No one should be made to feel shame for the death of their loved one.   


The Emotions

Be prepared to feel all of the emotions during the beginning.  They will not come in any particular order.  It is normal to feel like you begin to have it under control and then backslide.  Grief is a collection of many emotions and they must all be felt for healing to begin.  You may find yourself feeling shock, anger, guilt, abandonment, extreme sadness or confusion.  Remember that tears are a healthy release of stress.  Stay hydrated and get plenty of sleep to replenish yourself.  There may also be times of joy.  They can all exist together.  Grief brain is real and can affect your memory and concentration.  


Ways to Cope

Self-care is essential when going through traumatic grief.  The impact of tremendous grief is exhausting, both emotionally and physically.  Some tips to remember include:

  • Grieve on your own timeframe.​ Don't let others hasten your grief.

  • Reach out to trusted confidantes that will listen or sit with you in silence.  

  • Accept offers of help.  Others will want to help, but may not know how.  Tell them what is needed and let them assist you.  

  • Prepare for reminders and setbacks along the way.  This is normal. Go easy on yourself.  

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