Burial or Graveside Services
Grief & Guidance
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It can be very difficult to comprehend the magnitude of feelings surrounding a loss from a suicide. People tend to avoid the survivors bereaved by suicide, because they are unsure of what to say or do, or how to offer support. Unfortunately, this isolates the survivor even further and adds to the intensity of emotions that they’re trying to navigate through. Support from family and friends is important, but equally of great importance is the support of our community. It is a stepping stone to coping with a loss from suicide.
The families of suicide loss want the same gesture of support that you would offer if it was a loved one that died from cancer. Most likely, the deceased was fighting a battle noone knew about.
Share a story of the loved one. The family wants to honour their life not their death. How that person died does not change who that person was.
Just a simple hug and say I’m thinking of you. A hug can sometimes say more than words can ever express. Or. tell them the truth. I don’t know what to say to offer you comfort, but I’m here for you if you ever need me. More often than not there are no words that can comfort them, but your presence can be very healing.
Getting through the anniversary, birthday and holidays can be very difficult for survivors. Extra support is needed at these times. Send them a card, call them, or do something in honour of their loved one.
Be patient with the grief process. Grieving takes time, and that amount of time is different for everyone.
Develop a biography of your loved one honouring their life not their death.
The fact that someone died by suicide does not change our love for them, what they mean to us, or their value in our life. How a person dies does not define how they loved or valued us.
Walking in the shoes of your loved one and trying to answer the “why” is normal, but allow yourself to take the shoes off from time to time. It’s okay to do this.
Grief is exhausting; honour your physical and emotional needs. Learn to ask for support, big or small such as house work, cooking and errands, or asking for resources and/or professional help.
Navigating through these emotions can be extremely difficult and challenging to work through on your own. Seeking professional help or a support group can be very helpful in facing the intense emotions.
Remember to respect each others’ journey through this complicated grief process. It can look and feel differently for all of us. The grief will soften; go at your own pace. Be kind to yourself and find your inner strength.
Suicide thoughts and feelings are an “internal state of mind” and unless those thoughts and feelings are brought forward and talked about, NO ONE, not even professionals who know the right questions to ask and the symptoms to look for, have the capacity to predict a suicide when those thoughts are kept SILENT.
Please keep in mind these are suggestions, only. These suggestions do not replace therapy. If you have already seen a therapist and do not feel that it helped search for an alternate one. The same is true for the suggestions provided below; these suggestions could give hope for one person, but not for another. There are many other solutions or professionals available that can help you through this. You are not alone!
Suicidal thoughts can often feel like you are in a burning building and there is only one way out, and that you need to get out quick. For this reason be sure to have an emergency contact list for when these intense emotions or suicidal thoughts arise. Have a list of people you can trust and feel comfortable with that will listen in the way that you need to be heard. Sometimes it takes the courage of telling a few people, or a few therapists before finding someone who you can connect with. Don't lose hope in that!
Keep a journal and write down three things every day of “WHY I CHOSE NOT TO DIE, TODAY.” It can be as simple as something that makes you feel good, something that happened that made you smile, or accomplishments, big or small. When the intense emotions or suicidal thoughts come up read over your journal as a reminder of WHY YOU CHOSE TO LIVE.
Trying to make sense of these intense emotions or suicidal thoughts can be difficult to do on our own. Therapy is a useful way to work through some of the emotions, chemical imbalance or possible event(s) that lead up to the suicidal feelings. Therapy can help quiet the mind when you are in that burning building, it can help you get through the flames and see the back door, the side door, and windows that are all there with people standing on the other side waiting to help. It may be hard at times to see them through the smoke and flames, but they are there!
Most important you are a survivor, you are fighting a battle that takes courage to face each new day, and no one should do this alone. Let people fight this battle with you.
NO ONE has to FACE THIS ALONE whether you are supporting someone bereaved by suicide, have lost someone to suicide, or are having suicidal thoughts.