“How you cope with a loved one that has died by suicide.” This is a tough question because for one – I am so saddened that someone else had to go through what I had gone through, and two – I am definitely not an expert and I live day by day. However, I tend to jump at the chance to help someone else or offer advice when needed…it’s therapy for me too! (So trust me…ask away! And I am particulary thankful I received a request to write on this topic…so thank you!)
I lost my husband in 2011, almost 5 years ago….
It doesn’t get easier with time as many people say. Which I hate to say…but it’s something that just kind of sits there in your mind…no better…no worse. You just learn how to cope.
I had two, practically babies, to raise and I think I just went into a mode where I had to worry about them and everything else that my husband left behind. I don’t think I even worked on coping for the first few years.
It’s a very hard topic to understand and in the beginning and I would read a lot about suicide. However, I stopped because then the blame game comes into play. You read about the signs and then you think “Oh my god it was right in front of my face”, but it’s not your fault. It’s not anyone’s fault.
One of the first things I did was go to therapy. I just needed to talk about so many different topics. Now I know, therapy is not for everyone, but it has and does help me a lot and I continue to go to this day. It is just nice to talk to someone, who has no relation to the family or the issues and get their advice. Sometimes I think I just sit there and blabber about nonsense, but it gets it off my shoulders and doesn’t add it to any of my friends or families shoulders.
I have also attended a conference they have once a year at a local community college that is for Suicide Survivors and at one point in the conference they break you out into groups by the person you have lost. This was the first time I have spoken with other people that have also lost someone to suicide. It was a very emotional experience; however, you almost develop a deep connection with people that were once strangers. Support groups are also good because you see people at all different stages of grief and listen to how they cope with their feelings. You finally have that “Me too!” moment with people that “get it”.
I have also participated in Out of the Darkness walks every year since Dan has passed away to raise money for research and education. This is another place that, unfortunately, gets a larger and larger group each year, but it is also a way to connect with others who know exactly what you are feeling.
It’s not easy and there is no magic answer. This year was a particularly hard year for me around November (when he passed) to about the beginning of this year. I feel like life has settled down and I am finally dealing with the loss. I don’t think I have yet to completely deal with the loss, but just always remember, one day at a time.
I think of him several times a day and that has never stopped and I don’t want it to either. I guess it’s just how you start to look at the situation and how you need to move forward with your life.
I know I have only scratched the surface of this topic, but if there is anything you would like specifically answered or how to find resources to help deal with your loss, please reach out and I will offer whatever assistance I can.
I have a feeling there will be a Part 2….stay tuned.