A loved one’s suicide can be emotionally devastating and can trigger intense and overwhelming emotions. Some of these may be:
a) Shock. Disbelief and emotional numbness might set in. You might think that your loved one’s suicide couldn’t possibly be real.
b) Anger. You might be angry with your loved one for abandoning you or leaving you with a legacy of grief – or angry with yourself or others for missing clues about suicidal intentions.
c) Guilt. You might replay “what if” and “if only” scenarios over and over in your mind, blaming yourself for your loved one’s death.
d) Despair. You might be gripped by sadness, loneliness or helplessness. You might have a physical collapse or even consider suicide yourself.
Intense reactions may continue during the weeks and months after your loved one’s suicide — including nightmares, flashbacks, difficulty concentrating, social withdrawal and loss of interest in usual activities – especially if you witnessed or discovered the suicide. Seeking support will help you to begin the journey through your grief. Consider a grief counselor especially during the early days. Finding a support group for families affected by suicide will also help. Sharing your story with others who are experiencing the same type of grief can help you to find good ways of coping and give you comfort and strength.