Losing a parent to suicide is vastly different than losing one from natural causes. Suicide often leaves survivors with more questions than answers.
What to expect after a parent's suicide
While I haven't experienced a parent's suicide firsthand, I have spoken with many grieving parents over the years. Their situations are similar enough that I've gathered a few tips for others who might find themselves in my shoes. Follow these suggestions, and you'll find it easier to cope with the grief of a parent's suicide: 1. If your parent committed suicide, keep a log or diary of your conversations with them. Parents who committed suicide often suffered from severe depression and anxiety. It's natural to want to talk through their pain with a loved one who has experienced it. Instead of acting impulsively or making assumptions about what may have been going on, consider what was being said by your parent.
How to cope with grief
Sometimes people feel guilty for their grief. Many parents may leave survivors with mixed feelings. They might feel guilty for feeling relief that they are no longer suffering, while simultaneously feeling guilt over losing the person they cared for. Others may feel guilt for wondering if they should have tried harder to save their parent. Even survivors may feel guilt for suffering from intense and prolonged grief. It’s normal to feel complex feelings as a result of suicide grief. Remember, your grief is what you feel; it’s not a matter of “right” or “wrong.” Don’t be afraid to say “I feel sad,” “I feel angry,” “I feel confused,” or “I feel grateful.”
Healing and moving forward
Healing can be difficult. But it’s also necessary. One essential truth: You don’t have to grieve forever. The time spent grieving helps prepare you to move on. It can also help you to heal in the future if you should ever lose another loved one. Every time we lose someone, we gain more information about coping and moving forward.
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Steve Schafer is the founder of TheEulogyWriters and is probably the most prolific eulogy writer (and, no doubt, the best) anywhere. He lives in Michigan and has been writing eulogies for well over thirty years. The articles in this blog are designed to help people through the process of losing loved ones.