Today I want to talk about the delicate subject of suicide. Don’t stop reading now!
I facilitated several different groups of those who lost a close person to suicide and worked with numerous, perhaps hundreds of, individuals and families who suffered this heartbreak.
This is a complicated grief. The manner of death definitely adds another layer to the healing process. I understand why emphasis is put on Suicide Prevention. There’s a whole month dedicated to it. It’s important for us to be aware. However, in my experience, suicide is not always preventable but it heaps guilt upon families who were not able to prevent it.
There are people who struggle with life on a daily basis for a myriad of reasons. Because of shame or not wanting to be a burden, they may hide the symptoms well. One client told me that her husband admitted, “Suicide has nipped at my heels all my life.”
If a person succeeds in taking their own life, they leave behind a confounded group of grievers. These grievers often wonder what signs they missed. “If onlys” and “What ifs” may plague them for years. Our minds seek completion, therefore we try to make sense of such a tragedy. I tell my clients that it’s okay to try to put the jigsaw puzzle back together but there will always be a few pieces missing. Then, try to let it be. (Not let it go, let it be.)
For everyone, try not to judge. It can happen in any family, in any circle of friends. I hope that the stigma it used to have is lessening.
Taylor’s Tip: “When my amazing nephew took his own life, of course my family was devastated, but we chose to turn it into something positive. On the day of the month that he died, we do J Day (Joey Day). Everyone that knows about J Day does an act of kindness in his honor. The results have been such a blessing.”