Sadly, suicide isn’t going away. What can we do to help those that are effected by suicide? I might have some helpful tips.
Before my dad died, suicide grief itself is not something I’ve had to deal with before. Yes, I’ve known people in my life that have taken their lives. I went to a friend’s funeral that died tragically this way. Before my dad’s death, I’ve been naive to suicide, I will admit it. And I think most people are naive who haven’t gone through this tough grief personally. I’ve said things nonchalantly or in a joking way that I will never say again. I used to say, jokingly, ‘these kids make me want to jump off a cliff!’ And, ‘just kill me now’. Or the hand notion of putting a gun to ones head and pretending to pull the trigger. Those phrases and hand gestures are what makes me wince in pain when I hear them. I don’t want people to feel bad or apologize, but I want people to be aware that it may not be a respectful thing to say. Those effected by suicide may not take it lightly. I don’t get offended when someone says those things because I know that person doesn’t mean it in a malicious manner. However, it still hurts.
Now that I know first hand what it’s like to deal with the complicated grief of suicide loss, I can give you some advice on how we can help others who are dealing with this horrible pain.
– Check in on the person or family that is dealing with this complicated grief.
A short text.
A simple call.
A card in the mail.
A weekly inspiration quote in a text.
A little gift sent to their house.
Show them that they are loved. Don’t get offended if they don’t answer or acknowledge a gift. Just keep trying and keep the communication going even if it’s one sided for awhile. I promise you that person is truly grateful for your love.
– pray for guidance. Ask how we can be a servant to those that are hurting. Listen to the promptings. A text of, ‘Hey you’ve come across my mind, how are you doing?’
– Sometimes it’s hard to reach out because you don’t know what to say. Acknowledge the pain the person is experiencing and let them know you are there to help them. ‘I know that you are in pain and it breaks my heart. How can I help you get through this, together?’ Just letting the person know that you are rooting for them is so helpful.
– People have different needs in their grief journey. Be patient and kind, and be in tune to what that person might need. Meals, chocolate, babysitting, a listening ear.
– Just love the person. When words don’t seem to come out right, offer a hug.
– Don’t say, ‘I don’t know how you are going to get through this’ or ‘I don’t know how you do it, I wouldn’t be able to’. No one asked for this type of grief, and we are on survival mode. We do it because we have to. Not because we wanted this. Just be considerate of their feelings. Their life is shattered and so is their heart.
Here are some books that have helped me get through the beginnings of my grief:
The Gift of Second: Healing from the Impact of Suicide by Brandy Lidbeck. I ordered this book the first week after my dad died. It’s a great book to read when the wound of Suicide is so fresh. The Gift of Second: Healing from the Impact of Suicide https://www.amazon.com/dp/0998074705/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_WSSEHXH71Y9PW1SA2Y20
One Breath at a Time: Lessons on Grief and Growth by Gabrielle Shiozawa. I recently read this book and loved it. She is so aspiring with her wisdom and growth after losing her dad to a heart attack. It’s not a book about suicide loss, but there are so many similarities in her grief journey that I have experienced. She references many gospel doctrines which really helps put things in perspective and helps to provide peace. https://deseretbook.com/p/one-breath-at-a-time-lessons-on-grief-and-growth-ppr?queryID=f18cceaadbf4434b543746642a9ec9df&variant_id=191617-paperback
My church has some great resources to help those that have lost a loved one to suicide. https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/get-help/suicide/i-have-lost-someone-by-suicide?lang=eng
For those that are suffering with the fresh wound of suicide loss, please hold on. I am here to tell you, you will find peace! I couldn’t fathom how I would get through the first weeks and months, but I did. It’s been almost 4 years since I lost my dad. 4! I still miss him and I still have my sad days, but I have over come some huge mountains in my grief journey. It’s going to be a crazy roller coaster, just hang on for the ride. It gets better, I promise.