When I first heard the term “suicide survivor” I thought it meant someone who attempted suicide, and survived. Nope! A suicide survivor is a family member or friend of someone who died by suicide.
For survivors of suicide the grieving process is slightly different from any other form of death. The difference is the guilt aspect. It is not unusual for people who lost someone to suicide to feel guilty about why that person wanted to die. Maybe if they had just been a better sister, maybe if they had answered that phone call, this person would still be alive. But honestly, you cannot blame yourself. However little or big your impact was in that person’s life, they had their own demons they were struggling with.
Some survivors of suicide say that people who completed suicide are going to do it one way or another; at one point in time or another. Who knows if this is the truth or not? Nobody really knows the answer to this agonizing question, especially since everyone has a different story, a different life. When you lose a loved one to suicide you have to remember that they loved you and that they more than likely had been contemplating it for a while; could have been years and could have not been their first attempt. The only reason they stayed as long as they did was because they wanted as much time with you as possible. Because they WERE thinking of YOU.
It is also really important to realize that suicide is not selfish; it is not cowardly. Most people who attempt/complete suicide feel that they are a burden to their families. They may feel that they are doing their family members a favor by taking themselves out of the equation. They don’t want their families to have to deal with their depression anymore, to worry about them, to ask them why they’re sad all the time. If someone chooses suicide, they chose it because they didn’t see any other option for healing. They saw no other way out.
Give a friend a hug today. Compliment a stranger. Invite someone you haven’t seen in a while to get coffee. Be someone’s shoulder to cry on and always be kind and compassionate!