This journey has been complicated by the creation of a mental health awareness initiative inspired by my son’s efforts while alive. By being so open about his struggles (and the fact that I was so clueless about them), I have welcomed a slew of invited and uninvited conversations with other parents who are also grieving the loss of a child to suicide or struggling to support a child who has attempted suicide.
Further, I have discovered many more families who are suffering that I don’t know or have not been able to reach out to. In some cases it’s just a matter of there being too many of them and too few of me. In others, it’s either too soon for them or too painful for me. Yet there is so much I want to say and share with them.
That is why I’m writing this particular post. It’s for all you parents who are grieving the loss of a child to suicide or those who are attempting to support grieving family and friends. If I don’t have the chance to speak to you personally, here’s what I want you to know.
A Letter to Parents Surviving a Child’s Suicide
There Is No Timeline
The first bit of insight I wish to share is that there is no timeline for this journey that you’re on. If you’re a planner, throw that attitude out the window. If you’re looking for an agenda of what to expect, when, and how to do it, you’ll be disappointed.
Understand that you’ve been put on a journey that has no end but it will continue to move forward. Each day will bring new challenges, new surprises, and new moments of clarity and even joy. Yes, even joy.
Don’t set yourself up for further anguish and frustration by expecting to do this on a timeline. Know that you’re on a journey unique to you and that while it may be rocky, each day does gets a little better.
There Is No Right Answer
“Why did this happen?”
If you have not asked this question yet, you will.
If you knew your child was suffering you’ll want to know why you couldn’t stop him from taking his life. If you didn’t know, you’ll want to know why she did it or why you didn’t recognize it. There are probably many other questions you’re seeking answers to.
Simply put, there’s no right answer.
Know that people who have been diagnosed with depression or who have attempted suicide in the past have died by suicide. Know that those who have been seeing a counsellor and taking various medications have also taken their lives. So for those of you who did not know your child was suffering, know that even if you did, you may not have been able to prevent the tragedy.
So for those of you who did not know your child was suffering, know that even if you did, you may not have been able to prevent the tragedy.
On the other hand, there are those who have attempted suicide once, twice, or more times that have never attempted it again and live seemingly happy, normal lives (although often aided by medication and/or counselling).
The point is there is no answer to those questions. It’s OK to ask them or feel the frustration but don’t beat yourself up thinking you could have done something to prevent it. You may have or you may not have – you won’t know.
Understand that people who died by suicide were ill and that the illness eventually took them. It’s similar to having a child suffering from cancer; even when it’s detected and treated, you can’t guarantee that they won’t eventually lose their battle with the disease.
I Give You Permission
I give you permission to smile or laugh if you find something that encourages you to do so. I also give you permission to cry and shout if that’s what you’re feeling at that moment.
For quite some time I was conflicted by the mixed emotions I was experiencing. The day after I learned about my son’s death someone recounted a story that was quite funny and I laughed out loud among a room full of people somberly mourning my son’s passing. I immediately felt embarrassed for the outburst; how dare I laugh at such a time.
In the weeks and months after his death, I would talk about or share a picture of me going about my life, be it enjoying a soccer game or taking a needed vacation from life. In a few instances I felt guilty for allowing the public to see that I went on living or guilty that I was living. That guilt was compounded by others criticizing me for doing so – or for doing so publicly.
What took me a long time to realize – and what I want you to know – is that while I felt that I needed permission from others to laugh, cry, or live my life, I really didn’t. If you’re feeling that way, I’m giving you permission. As a survivor, I give you permission to smile, laugh, and live – if you feel like it.
Walk Your Path, Accept Your Spouse’s Path
There a number of studies that point to the fact that a majority of couples who experience the loss of a child end up in divorce court. Some point to the feelings of guilt or isolation, the inability to resolve the loss of their child with the perceived “natural order of things” or, most often, the inability to manage the complicated trauma and grieving process each parent experiences.
The key is to quickly understand that each parent will experience the grief differently and his or her reactions will be unique to them. If you look at your spouse and think “how can he do that?” or “why isn’t she doing this?” understand that they’re thinking the same about you.
You must experience the journey in a way that gives you the peace of mind and therapy you require and he or she must do the same. That journey will be completely different for each of you and more often than not, may seem at odds with one another.
Give yourself permission to deal with your grief and mourning in your way and give him or her latitude to follow their journey without judgement or timeline.
Be Kind to Yourself
I felt like I needed to be there for my wife, my daughter, my parents, my son’s friends, and everyone else. I needed to “be normal” for my daughter and keep working for the sake of my business and employees. I had to be strong.
What I discovered quickly is that I could be of no use to anyone without first allowing myself to be kind to me. I needed to allow myself some personal time to simply enjoy something – anything – that would give my brain and heart a break from the pain.
For me, it was something as simple as allowing myself to take the time to do something that I loved but rarely did, like attend live soccer matches or watch my favourite teams play on television. I embraced a passion I had my entire life but rarely allowed myself the time to enjoy. That was just a few hours each week but it made a difference.
Within 6 months my wife and I took an unplanned quiet vacation to Jamaica, again, in order to take a breather from everyone and everything. Some thought it odd that we could vacation while mourning our son but it was a necessary kindness we afforded ourselves that helped us along our journey.
Find a Support Group
My wife and I have experienced our grief differently, yet there is one thing we will agree to: Joining a support group of peers who have experienced the loss of a family member to suicide was one of the best things we could have done.
We met with grief counselors immediately after our loss, which was OK but did not have a lasting effect on moving us along our journey. We spoke to friends who were all genuinely trying to help us – and we appreciated them – but could not find the release we required.
It wasn’t until we joined a suicide survivor’s support group that our healing began. Being surrounded by others who truly understand the myriad of emotions unique to the survivors left behind in a suicide is amazing therapy.
Listening to others share their journeys can be difficult but also cathartic. Sharing your own story is never easy but when you look into the eyes of other parents and see that they *really* understand you; a feeling of calm comes over you…and you’ll find yourself wanting to share more and more.
The loss of a child to suicide is so unique that even you’ll find it difficult to relate to those who have lost their children to physical illness or accidents. In fact, many like us don’t want to speak to others for fear of judgement. I get it.
Bereaved parents support groups are useful but where possible, find a support group of suicide survivors.
Being “OK” is Exhausting
At some point you’ll go back to work. You’ll eventually start participating in group activities, you’ll be out in public again. People will ask “how are you?” but you will know they don’t really want to know the answer. They care and they want to help but they don’t wan’t to hear your answer, you’ll see it their eyes or how they fidget when they see you coming. It’s not that they don’t want to help or listen, they just won’t know how to respond.
You’ll not share what you’re feeling when you want to crumble into their arms and cry for half an hour.
So you’ll say you’re “OK” when you’re the exact opposite. You’ll not share what you’re feeling when you want to crumble into their arms and cry for half an hour. You’ll go on with your day, pretending to be OK.And when you get home from work at 6:00 PM you’ll be ready for bed, utterly exhausted and spent. Being OK is freakin’ exhausting. It has been one of the most emotionally taxing experiences for me this entire year. Even now, over a year later, when I give a 15 minute or 60 minute presentation to kids or parents about mental health, I need to sleep for 18 hours to recuperate.
Allow yourself the time to rest, you’ll need it just from being.
Celebrate the Life of Your Child on Special Occasions
As you can imagine, I didn’t look forward to my son’s birthday, Christmas or Father’s Day. However, I learned that my fear was caused more by the multiple warnings I received from well-meaning friends and family than the reality of the event.
“Oh wait till Christmas, that will be a very hard time for you.”
“I can’t imagine what you’ll be going through on Father’s Day….be strong.”
I discovered that I did not miss my son any more or less on those special days than I did the day before or the day after. I realized that I was allowing others’ perceptions to guide my expectations of these days and how I would ultimately experience them.
I discovered that I did not miss my son any more or less on those special days.
I had a revelation on Father’s Day; it’s not a day to mourn the fact that I’m no longer a father to my son but a celebration of the fact that I was honoured to be his father for 19 years. His birthday is not a day for me to mourn the fact that he is no longer here to blow out the candles but to celebrate the joy he brought to my life and that of our family and friends in his 19 years.
To help, look for rituals that make you feel better or support your beliefs. We’ve started a tradition of lighting and releasing Japanese lanterns by the lake on occasions like his birthday or the anniversary of his death. With each release we give thanks for him and celebrate his life.
That small change in attitude – with a little planning – has made these celebrations more meaningful and helped us to move along that journey instead of getting stuck on it.
Your Child Did Not Do This to You
Among the unending variety of emotions you’ll experience, anger and/or guilt will be two of the strongest.
“Why did he do this to me?”
“What did I do wrong?”
“I should have prevented this.”
What I’ve discovered from speaking to many teens and young adults who are suffering with depression is that at their lowest moments, they are not thinking of you – or anyone for that matter. They simply can’t think or experience any reality beyond the pain and anxiety they are feeling at that moment.
In lucid moments, they may have the perspective to see their struggle but when depression or whatever mental illness they’re suffering from takes hold of them, they don’t have that perspective.
A student suffering from depression recently said, in response to the adage that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem: “You don’t get it, depression ISN’T a temporary problem! It’s a permanent problem.
They simply don’t have the option out, just like they don’t have the option out when they’re involved in a fatal car crash or when an embolism explodes in their brains.
The point is, when their illness takes over, it’s like any physical illness that we seem to be able to reconcile. They simply don’t have the option out, just like they don’t have the option out when they’re involved in a fatal car crash or when an embolism explodes in their brains.
As survivors, we must find a way to accept that this was not a rational choice. The illness of depression took that choice away from them.
They did not die from suicide…they died from depression. The choice was not theirs.
One phrase that was shared with me while chatting with my suicide survivor’s support group was “lean into the pain.” It is meant to encourage you to not avoid the emotions you are experiencing, no matter how difficult they may be. Grief – and all the emotions that it pulls – is just an obstacle on the journey. Avoiding it will prevent you from getting to where you need to be.
Similarly, I’ve discovered that you must also lean into the joy and happiness when it presents itself. If you have the opportunity to enjoy a moment in life, lean in and enjoy it. You’ll definitely have bad days in the future but enjoying a moment of happiness or joy will neither prevent nor induce that bad day. The reverse is also true; allowing yourself to experience the pain on a bad day won’t prevent a good day from coming.
Each will happen and each should be welcomed as a necessary part of the journey.
It Won’t Be OK but It Will Be Fine
I’m sorry to tell you that it will never be OK. It’s simply not possible to lose a child to suicide and ever be OK. However, you will be fine.
There’s no pain or experience like losing a child to suicide; however, you – like so many other parents before you – will eventually discover a new normal, a new way of living. It’s not perfect, but it will allow you to continue your life in order to celebrate the life of the child you lost, support and love the children you may still have to care for, and/or contribute positively to your friends’ lives and those of your community.
Don’t get stuck in the mindset that you’ll never be able to deal with the loss. You will not get over it but you will find ways to manage it. The speed at which you progress through this journey is in part determined by an acknowledgement that you’ll never be the same but that a new normal will eventually set in.
You may have noticed my constant reference to a journey in this letter. That wasn’t by design. It’s a fact that you’ll come to realize if you have not done so already. Whatever you’re experiencing, you are on a journey and one that is truly unique to you.
Embrace the journey; like life itself, it will be riddled with highs and lows and each must be experienced to become the person you are.
Lastly, you don’t need to walk this journey alone. There are support groups, professionals, and individuals who can help. My experience has been that my peers – those who have also lost a loved one to suicide – are the best support.
Reach out to them. Reach out to me if you wish. Just reach out.
Join the conversation and support. If you have experienced the loss of a child to suicide and wish to add to this list of experiences or perspectives, please add your thoughts in the comments below. It’s important that those of us who can speak out, do speak out.
My son killed himself a few weeks ago.I didn’t expect that at all.I found him dead.My main emotion now is huge anger on him.He just left me without saying anything.My life is ruined because of what he did.I took a sick leave from work ,but I don’t see myself going back there .I wish to dissapear,I feel ashamed and angry.All of you are talking about sadness and love to your child who committed suicide.I don’t feel that way.Im angry,and I even destroyed my son’s pictures.
Hi my son took his life in July I am heart broken why didn’t I see it I feel has if it’s my fault there are no answers it’s like some one took him and there are no answers I keep going over and over things if I hadn’t told him to go if I hadn’t said this and that the pain is to much I have had many deaths in my life all the people I love are taken away
I can totally understand why you are angry. I am so sorry for your loss. Of course, no words make it better
Hi Kellie,for now I’m very depressed, feeling guilty, blaming myself for his death.I couldn’t sleep at night.If I haven’t a younger son then for sure I’ll kill myself also.I don’t know how to live now.What to do now?
I feel the same. My 16 year old baby is gone, and I don’t know if I didn’t have my younger son, that I am strong enough to continue in…
My son committed suicide on June 16/2020.I didn’t see it coming,no one did. I still love and miss my son but I also was angry he took his life.It was just one of several emotions I have experienced. I don’t know if that helps you but I also forgive him.It’s different for all of us.
My lovely son lost his battle to depression and what they call ‘mental illness’ (he called it a spiritual battle – a fight for his life) in September 20. He was not only my only son but my best friend (amongst many best friends). I miss him sorely but I know he is resting in eternal peace. When something is going to happen, it will happen and all the effort you put in to support and prevent counts for nothing. This experience is so humbling – as a parent you do everything in your power to love and protect your child from any harm or evil. However you can’t take depression or mental illness / spiritual battles away…..that domain renders us powerless as dedicated parents.
Thank you for this blog/ article – it allowed me to release some pent up emotion and also to appreciate the lessons in unconditional love I learnt through supporting my son through his (our) struggle. It certainly is clear life will never be the same. I died when he died but a part of me has to force living so I can be present for my daughters and those who love me.
I pray for everyone suffering this kind of grieve….it truly is the heaviest cross to bear.
I am in the same boat and blame myself every minute for not helping him…we all have a burden that is on our back. My son died 30 years ago and want you to know that we some how learn to live with this problem. We know it help when others are in the boat with us to help along the way
Hang in there
Two out of 3 of my children suffer from depression and anxiety. As a daughter of a mother with those same sicknesses and having been many times in the hospital because she tried to commit suicide, I am so frustrated that I can’t help them.
I know for a fact that if s person doesn’t want help nothing you do will help them. I have tried everything in my power to help them, loving them, seek professional help for them, be there for them, give them their space, etc.
It is very sad. I have always tried to better myself in every aspect of my life so it’s very difficult to see the people that I love the most just want to die.
I’m angry too
I also took time off from work. Most likely won’t go back
I am attending grief counseling 2x a wk via phone.
My son ended his life 8/14/20
I just wanted you to know you are not alone
Hi, I also have a sister, who is lost due to suicide; I was really traumatized but I did not understand that time since I was still 13 years of age & now I did not realize I end up being a Professional Counselor. It is ok to be angry because feelings & emotions are neither wrong or correct, they are jus emotions that need to be recognized. I am impressed with your honesty and sincerity. Just be true to yourself…It is ok not to be ok…we are one with you…
Your not angry at him, your angry at you. I would encourage you to explore how you feel about yourself as a mother. Start there, and in the back of your mind understand that nothing you could have done would have changed this outcome. It sad and tragic and I feel for you.
Like yours, my son also killed himself unexpectedly. Same thing, family found him. Violent and grusome death by shotgun. Yes, I was angry. My son came by to say something (maybe goodby?) a couple of days earlier. I realize now I did not hear him. Probably the biggest thing I am torn up about is that I never truly heard him…meaning I didn’t listen. I heard him through my “mom” filter. Yes our lives are changed. You could say ruined. I have more time than you, he died in 2019. So we’ve had over a year to try and find an un-ruined way to live. I too took a 3 month sick leave. I too felt like never returning to regular life. I too felt like disappearing, am and have been ashamed, and there are even I often still feel that way. There are still some people I haven’t told. My son left behind 5 siblings, and two parents. All this is to say you are not alone and your feelings are shared by others of us out in the nether land of surviving our child’s suicide. If you can bear to seek out a counselor who deals specifically with suicide, do it. I went to someone who is VA because my son was a Vet. A lot happened after the death that I regret now. I wish I had waited to bury him. I wish I had kept his ashes. I wish I had not had him cremated but his head was gone. I wish a lot. My heart breaks for you that you’re trying to erase him. Stop destroying his pictures, your memories, you have enough to face without more regrets in the future. You need to heal and let those who have been there before you help you. Reach out. There are way more of us than you think, and we live with our private pain thinking we’re the only ones. It’s not true. People …total strangers have been incredibly compassionate. We are not meant to grieve alone.
Dear Angry Mother
Its ok to act whatever for want to. After the two weeks that my son died I was just too busy picking myself off the floor each day. Really. I couldn’t find strength to walk very far. and too busy crying every hour.
Over time I went through every emotion available. I wondered what became of my friends that said if you need anything call. Did they come over. A few brave ones. What could they say that was going to help. They were afraid of such a great sadness.
You have gone almost 3 months and I hope you are able to know others have walked that walk too. you will see the sun through dark clouds.
I’m so sorry to hear about your son. Angry is how I feel often. More times then not. My daughter took her life 12/10/2019 and I think it was my anger at her that kept me going. Now that I’ve slowed down, I’ve found that now I’m angry at myself. Hell, I don’t know who to be angry at anymore. These emotions are all over the place. I’m a hot mess!!! Again I’m so sorry you are going through this, I wish I could say it gets better. I just think we get better at coping with it!!!
Please don’t ! He’s your son ! Yes you are angry ! Confused even but please please don’t destroy your memories ! At the time that he did this he was not thinking right ! He honestly thought the world and every one around him thought they would be better off without him ! That’s so sad ! But that’s what he thought ! He didn’t hate you ! He loved you and he believed that by removing himself he was removing a burden !
I am so very sorry for your loss. I also lost my son back in late April 2019. I had all the feelings and emotions you mention. The only thing I did not do was distroyed his pictures. I still at times feels angry and still feel stock and cannot move on. I blame myself for what he did and felt like he did it for me. I still can’t understand how I did not know he was going thru something and need help, but did not asked for help.
I lost my son to suicide, August 23/20. He was 30. Had his own place. His good friend found him in the basement, he hung himself. I myself don’t understand your anger, or getting rid of his pictures. There’s another issue I think. I would b talking to ur Dr, and get some therapy immediately. What about other family members. They there for you. I think that you will regret one day, getting rid of his pictures.
Hi Belle,I was already talking to a therapist,she said that feeling anger is a natural emotion, especially if I did everything for my son.My emotions are mixed,one day I’m crying,one day I’m depressed and numb ,and other day I’m angry.As I said,I didn’t expect that,I went to my son’s room with my younger child to wake him up for a meal…we both found him dead.It was very traumatic experience,and I’m angry that my younger child had to see that.That person who is gone by suicide is leaving a big mess and sadness behind.Many people are devastated and probably never be ok .So yes,that are my reasons for anger.I don’t want to live anymore,but I have to for my other child,who is now traumatized for life.Our lives never be the same again.The same for all family and friends-we are suicide survivors… don’t you ever feel anger because of your son’s suicide?regards
Hi I’m so sorry for your lose my son took his life in July I feel every think you do the blame why did you do it my daughter was killed by a car when she was 9 lost my sister some one killed my brother my husband drowned in the sea my friend took her life now my son I get mad it’s all why’s then cry for England my 2 grown up children are a mess my heart is so broken I don’t won’t to go on but I know what death does
Reading yoy post, I can’t even imagine what you are going thru. I lost my nephew the early part of April, my son the later part in April and then my sister the early part of July. I am angry, there are times I may talk about it but then, I get angry and emotional. I tried therapy for one session then never went back because I really was not ready to grieve and still is not ready.
I went to the therpist, she said that feeling anger is a natural reaction for a suicide death.
Bereavement in that case is the worst one, your child didn’t die by natural cause, didn’t die by accident or murder- your child killed himself/ herself. I was preparing meal for my two sons- one killed himself when I was in the kitchen. I have found him dead wit my younger son…can you imagine? Big shock and trauma for life. Now I am deeply depressed, but I couldn’t just lie down and cry, because I have to take care of my other son who is affected by what happened. All family and fiends- we are all devastated, and our lives never be the same, sadness for life. And that person who is gone is just gone- we are left with trauma and loss. Don’t you feel any anger at all? just sad?
My son has tried to commit suicide 3 times, the latest last week, and my daughter has tried 4 times. These were serious attempts, I’m not counting the cry for help attempts. My heart bleeds for those who have lost a child to suicide, and I’m grateful and blessed that I have not, but I’m becoming nearly dysfunction with the stress, anxiety, depression, and guilt that’s following me. I picture myself finding one of them dead, at any given time, and it’s paralyzing. I’ve taken time off work, again, for the third time, because I have a highly responsible job and simply can’t work safely like this. All I ever hear is advice for parents on “recognizing the signs” and “safety plans”, but almost nothing about how to survive mentally. I’ve had counseling before in a group setting, which was useless as it primarily focused on parenting skills. I feel like parents of suicidal children are the forgotten ones.
I’m so thankful to hear your children are still with you. You are not forgotten and likely are the source of love for your children that provides the greatest peace and comfort to them in their darkest hours. For us the search for care was too late. The safety plans, doctors and medication all have a place, but as most of us on this forum can attest, that place did not stop the unthinkable from happening. The guilt, sadness, worry, frustration, shame (whether internal or external), exhaustion; like the plans, doctors and medication did not help to find peace for our child and did not reflect the love we carried since their birth. Don’t wait to explore how powerful your love can be. Don’t wait to truly see and feel every moment with your children; every moment. None of this may be the place where they find a way out of their suffering, but if you find it; that place near you will be a resting spot for them in this very difficult world. We wish you and yours all love. I find now that some speakers, J. Krishnamurti in particular open up inner conversations that challenge prior conditioning. Some speakers like Eckhart Tolle may offer comfort as well and be an easier place to begin listening from. Not another person or system to believe in, which is not what most of us here need; but inner dialogue starters that can lead to inner action. It all seems so difficult and impossible, to watch your children suffer and then it seems so difficult and impossible to not watch them at all.
Hey Burning out — I agree with you that parents of children who died by suicide are the forgotten ones. I lost my son December 2019 and it is the worse thing that ever happened to my family. It’s just so hard to move forward. Everyday is a struggle. We have other kids and we are constantly trying to make sure everyone is ok. We are still in disbelief because we never saw this coming and we don’t understand why. We realize that we will never get over this and healing takes time.
Please be strong all!
I did not lose a child but a living brother I helped him for a year 1/2 after he was diagnosed with obsessive rumination disorder & the night he needed me the most he called me at midnight & yelled at him cause I was burnt out & frustrated that was the ok set time I spoke to him
Hi I’m so sorry for your lose my son took his life in July I feel every think you do the blame why did you do it my daughter was killed by a car when she was 9 lost my sister some one killed my brother my husband drowned in the sea my friend took her life now my son I get mad it’s all why’s then cry for England my 2 grown up children are a mess my heart is so broken I don’t won’t to go on but I know what death does
My son took his life today. On Thanksgiving. Yesterday we were playing Phase 10. This morning family arrived and we were playing pool… And then he disappeared. How do you go on? What do i do to help my other two boys?
How do I even go on?
You Must Go on no matter what. you must go on. you must for the two boys
I feel my son knew how deeply I loved him. Deeply seems like an unimportant word when it precedes love, but I believe love has been so marginalized it’s relative. Like my love for him was sufficient unto itself (not dependent on his actions, but understood because of him) his love for me was similar and wasn’t conditional of him being here with me or not. I will cry everyday while on earth because I miss him; but that’s okay because I have no less love for life (everyone) as a result of these tears.
Kellie, my son ended his life in an emotional accident on TG 2020…I am we are devasted beyond words…how could anything like this be shared? Because there is human sorrow…that transcends personalities and stories…like you and I, losing our beloved sons on Thanksgiving Day.
We lost our 21 year beautiful boy 2 days ago on NY eve. We have never felt so much pain. The guilt is overwhelming. He has been ill for years and we’ve tried to help. We understand that he felt it was the only solution but that doesn’t really help. He was so loved but still it wasn’t enough. I know we will survive but it’s going to be a very long road.
Gail, I am so sad to read your continuous losses. I find strength within your sharing from my recent losses and appreciate you bearing your sadness in this portal. May you find comfort in the simple tasks of life.
My son died by suicide January of this year. I was the one that found him. I never left him alone. I was at an appointment with his therapist in attempt to stop the legal visitations with the dad’s side of the family because they were bullying him because he told everyone he was gay. They called him “fairy boy” and other mean nicknames. His own grandfather on the dad’s side even told him he can’t be gay because God and Jesus don’t accept gay people in heaven. He told me that and I knew I needed to legally stop the visitations after finding him silently crying after they told him that. I was only gone for a couple of hours and came home to find the worst thing I could ever imagine….the life I created was dead by his own hands, at 13-years-old!! I have been hospitalized several times and living in a fog since January. I have tried several times to take my own life to join him, but my attempts were failed because my dad who I have to live with has been basically watching me non-stop. I want to die and pray everyday to die. I have tried to find a support group in my hometown in North Carolina and I cannot. If anyone knows of any, please let me know. I need the support because no paremt can know how I feel unless they have been through this. Thank you to those who read this because I want to give up. He was my entire life.
My 32 year old daughter committed suicide on Monday, November 30, 2020. She was normal healthy intelligent beautiful girl, masters degree in psychotherapy and yoga therapy and a yoga teacher. Her life was full of love and joy until she started getting some weird ideas about two years ago.
Then severe headaches, then ideas about health issues. What was unusual is she stopped visiting her Mom’s family for Birthdays and holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then she got a CAT scan of her head for headaches and noticed sudden severe immediate pain throughout her body continuously and permanently and blamed the doctors and the CAT scan and her mother, and this happened on December 7, 2019. She said the CAT scan affected her liver, kidneys, heart, bodily fluids, sinuses, and she believed the CAT scan burned her brain. All she was interested in was that we believed her story. She went to lawyers to sue the doctors.
She had a nice condo of her own and a car and stopped taking care of those things. She asked someone to go to her place while during one psychiatric hospitalized to get her slippers and get her drugs to kill herself, and this person broke into her condo and stole her credit cards, social security card, cellphone and car, and knocked the front door down. She no longer even cared.
After that CAT Scan she had 14 hospitalizations for these physical pains often resulting in being transferred to mental institutions where she refused medication and had to be released after 3 to 5 days. She hung herself in her mothers house and her mother rescued her and she was transferred to another institution. Then her mother sent her to a Christian rehab center in Florida where she refused to cooperate. She took a Tylenol overdose and had near liver failure after she was back from that rehab..
She started consulting the occult and tried to communicate with shamans and people who had near-death experiences. Finally she took an overdose and died on November 30. Her mother found her still alive and her last words were “ you gotta let me go, you gotta let me go.”
I keep asking myself, where did I go wrong? Should I have done something differently? How did I not recognize it enough? (and I am a medical doctor!) Her mom and I are divorced and her mom often did not fill me in on details. My daughter often refused to allow the doctors to talk to me and sometimes not to her mom, and she would switch back and forth between me and her mom in giving permission to talk to the doctors and staff. Sometimes her mother would get her released from the hospital after three or four days and sometimes her mom would not. I am sometimes angry at her mom, and sometimes angry at myself.
The last three weeks there was a good Samaritan fellow she met on Facebook who drove six hours to stay with her to take care of her: shopping and cooking meals. He was about to leave to go back to his family. So I thought there was a possibility something bad could happen, but somehow I never thought it would come to this.
I cannot understand how this could have happened. I have friends who tell me there is no answer. I am anxious all day long, and go through periods of irritability. I speak to a therapist two to three times a week. I have great difficulty doing simple tasks, brushing my teeth seems like a major effort. I have a very supportive girlfriend but I wonder if she’s getting burned out. It is difficult to show her affection. I don’t know what to do.
It is very early days for you. You are doing the right thing by seeing a therapist as frequently as possible. I hope your therapist specialises in bereavement, even better – suicide- bereavement. T In my view, the more professional support you can access, the better.
There are also books which can be helpful which describe the stages of grief although bereaved people do not actually follow a set of stages. They may experience the stages in their own order and circle back on them. Still, the description of the range of stages, states and emotions can be helpful in that they can assist one in recognising one’s own experiences and making sense of them.
There are also books which describe how people approach the death of a loved one. While not specific to death by suicide, it is helpful to read about how other bereaved people approach grievous loss. Some people, for example, will decide to work in the field of suicide prevention; others may plant a tree; still others will memorialise their loved one’s death by establishing a foundation; others may begin writing in a private journal. Still others create shrines or simply mark important days with a ceremony. Some create memory albums with photos which recall and record the moments of the life of the lost loved one. Still others may choose some beautiful photographs of the deceased child, frame them and hang them in a special place in the house. Whatever the bereaved person does or does not do is fine. Perhaps find a way to remember your child which suits who you are, what you do well.
Having lost my adult child to suicide, committed in a particularly violent fashion almost ten years ago, I can attest that my life is unlikely to ever go back to ‘normal’. Not to mention a protracted inquest which necessitated the rehearsal of the act and which I believe impeded my ability to heal.
However, I hope you can believe that a new, different life which includes joy and laughter can emerge after time. That may not appear possible from where you are right now. It may be a case of small slow steps. I was gravely incapacitated for a very long time, like yourself almost unable to carry out normal functions. For example, feeding myself was difficult. I am talking years. It severely impacted my physical and mental health. I experienced anger, shame, guilt, hopelessness, deep sorrow, self-neglect – the full range of emotions. I was supported by several professionals in the early years, including my doctor who had lost a daughter by suicide and gave me so much of her time, talking to me, listening, allowing me to grieve in her presence; I was also supported by bereavement counsellors and other non-specialist counsellors. Sadly, the support did not continue indefinitely and later I found myself on my own with my grief and anger, confusion and sorrow. The fact that the world moved on regardless of my daughter’s absence from it was terribly painful.
Friends and family differed in their ability to be supportive. All types of support was offered and was welcome – food, a shoulder to cry on, invitations to an event. But on the whole, most people are limited in their capacity to empathise with such a specific, traumatic and life- changing event. Not because they are callous but because it is simply an incomp- rehensible experience for most people. They may not know how to respond, how to support you. They may inadvertently offend you with ill-thought out comments or clumsy attempts at empathy. Others may be unable to support you at all which can be very painful. One might fixate on these perceived slights or offences – it is natural and can provide a channel for anger. But ultimately I found it was a futile exercise and that the energy wasted in anger at others was best conserved for one’s own physical and mental health. Ruminating on the whys and wherefores of the child’s suicide is also a natural response but torturous and, again, futile. It might take time though to come to these realisations.
I am so sorry for your loss; there are no answers, there is no resolution to this. But there are pathways towards healing.
I believe the article above is very insightful and I would recommend reading it several times to really internalise the points the writer makes. I wish I had had this advice many years ago. I also believe that getting as much professional support as you can for as long as you can will help your spirit. There are internet support groups; you may find one that suits you. Sharing can be cathartic and help you to feel less isolated in your grief. There are real life support groups if you are fortunate enough to find one close to you. At the moment, depending where you are, these may be held online. Or you might consider later on establishing a support group yourself. Friends and family who are able to understand and support you are to be treasured.
Nurture yourself, get as much support as you can and take all the time you need for this difficult journey.
My son died by suicide on November 10, 2020
He was my heart. At 30 years old, he had struggled against mental illness for 5 years. I know he was in pain. He was strong and made a heroic attempt to live with his illness even after it caused him to loose his job, house, friends, etc. This beautiful young man with a kind and sweet soul had never even fired a gun in his entire life, and yet he purchased a handgun and fired it one time. I found him the day it happened because I could not reach him and had that bad feeling. I honestly don’t know if he did this because “voices” told him to do it, or if he made the decision that he just did not want to continue living the way his illness forced him to live. If the former, I cannot be angry at him because I know that most “voices” are not kind. If the latter, I am trying to respect his decision because I know how smart, gifted and logical he was. We are believers and I know that today he is safe, healthy, happy and loved. Even so, I miss him terribly. I made it through the holiday until Christmas evening but then the sadness defeated me and I cried and cried.
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My 16 year old daughter took her life on December 28, 2020. I woke up at 7:15 am. When I went to the bathroom I noticed she wasn’t in her room. I looked everywhere in the house for her. I frantically looked outside. I went back in her room for any clue to where she was. That’s when I saw her standing in her closet. I looked at her and said, there you are. I was freaking out, I didn’t see you. That’s when I noticed the rainbow ribbon wrapped around her neck. She hung herself. Her feet weren’t even an inch off the ground. Her lips were blue and her beautiful blues eyes still open. I screamed and ran into the kitchen to find a knife to cut her down. My 3 year old son woke up and followed me into her room. I got her down and laid her on the ground. She was stiff. I couldn’t get her mouth open for cpr. I kept pumping on her chest as my little boy stood there watching me. I knew she was gone but, couldn’t stop doing cpr. When the medical team showed up they took over cpr. They attached a machine to her and I saw it was flatline. She was gone. I was in shock for days. I was mad at myself. How did I not know she was this depressed. How did I not know what my daughter, my reason for living, my whole world was going through. This sweet young girl with Hello Kitty and My Little phone stuffed animals sitting in her room. Her Birthday was in 3 days and my girl was gone. For her 17th Birthday I wasn’t making a cake. I wasn’t taking her to get her first tattoo. I wasn’t celebrating her Birthday or the New Year. Instead I was picking out a funeral home to take her to. My beloved sweet gorgeous daughter was laying in a morgue on her Birthday. It’s been 3 weeks since I found her. My heart hurts and I physically feel like it’s broken. It’s been 3 weeks but, I have to live the rest of my life knowing she is gone. Even after she is gone I still worry about her. Is she at peace? Is she with loved ones? Did she cross over to the other side? Did all her sorrow and tragic death stay in her closet? Will she be a ghost and this tragic death repeat over and over for her? Does she know I endlessly love her? I can’t even imagine what she went through. How hurt she was to even think of killing herself. All the pain she was in and I had no clue. I was to blind to see threw her eyes. My life is forever changed. Forever in sorrow and regret. I love you baby girl. Nothing can ever change that. Please be at peace.
My son of 42 years committed suicide on Dec.22, 2020, they found his body on Christmas Day. He left behind his brother 46, and his son and daughter 21 and me. I am not mad at him, I am mad at all the people who kept it from me. I live 4000 miles away and I had to learn of my son’s death from facebook of all places. Three weeks after the fact. He was cremated and buried before I even knew he was gone. I feel mostly guilt. I have chronic depression and have tried to kill myself many times. I fear it is a hereditary disease. My older son also has chronic depression and wishes to die all the time like I do. We both sought help, my younger son did not. He didn’t show any signs of depression, except he was angry all the time, and had trouble controlling his temper, as attested to by his long list of failed relationships. I don’t know how to get rid of the guilt. I have no one to talk to, my girlfriends just said they were sorry for me. My husband, not his father, said that’s to bad and went on about his day. I got no emotional support. How my life after death will work itself out, remains to be seen.
While only a month into my son’s suicide, I’ve come to learn a few things about grief and its many faces. I’ve cried, I’ve laughed, felt lost and realized there a lot of anger as well. I have examined and re examined our relationship. Wondered if there was something I could have done and wondered if I was even capable of doing something different at the time. I know I did what I could, and what I knew at the time. I tried to protect him but also had to take measures to protect myself and others. Some of those decisions remain hidden only he and I knew the depths of kindest and sometime cruelty of them. I didn’t have a hard time accepting my son had schizophrenia, but I had a hard time watching him compound the illness with alcohol and drugs even though I knew this type of abuse was a symptom of the illness. I just could not accept it. Still don’t and you would think now I would. I believe he would still be alive without the substance abuse but knew it also helped him escape his reality, but that escape conflicted heavily with my reality. The lies, the thefts, the destruction and not being able to trust the words of my own son have been a constant in my life. If I’m honest the last two years of his life it was hard for me to like him, but I always loved him unconditionally. I tried to help when it made sense and pulled back when it didn’t. Sometimes I think I managed to keep him from jail, managed to keep him from hurting someone else, and managed to keep him from hurting himself for 28 years. I know he had some dam good times hunting and fishing with me and I with him. He got to experience the pleasures of a woman more than any man I know. He experienced love and was loved. He was fearless and loyal to a fault. There were many things I was proud of. I wish I would have told him that more but don’t and won’t dwell on it. Was so proud of the words he sent to his sister before the wedding. There was love and wisdom in them. When I read those words now, I get a sense that he was saying goodbye, but I know he wasn’t but grief I’m learning can alter reality if you let it. They are my thoughts though, and I’m entitled to them and need to experience every single one of them. I jump from pain to anger to bad memories to good ones. Memories sneak through at times. Driving, at times is difficult. Staring at nothing is part of it. Talk to the dog entirely to much. Never has any man had better friends. I can see the pain in their eyes, hear it in their voices as they try to offer comfort. They don’t know what to say so I say it for them; ” there are no words ”. They agree. While I know they understand the severity they can’t the grasp the depth of the pain. I don’t expect them to and their presence and thoughts are a comfort. I don’t think grief is something you can beat but think when you stop feeling guilty about not thinking of your loved one for 20 mins you may be getting a handle on it. I feel for my daughter not being able to be at home with me but know she is where she should be and her grief is her grief not mine, and must be hers to go through the way she needs to the same as me. I’ve even thought I wish I could believe but I just can’t, I wish I could. I can imagine the comfort one must get thinking there is a reason for all this. As I starred at my son in the hospital life the gone from his eyes, the warmth from his body, the pure wastefulness of it all I thought I wish I could believe and find something in it other than he is dead and gone, my beautiful boy. That comfort is not there for me but I’m finding it in other ways, memories experiences we had, good friends good co workers and family. I try and pull from the strength my mother has always had as I’ve watched her and learned through the years. Without guilt I say my house is peaceful now. Certain things I think should bother me don’t, others that shouldn’t do. Why does walking into the garage not bother me, where he took his last breath, but when I pull in the driveway I often just stare at the garage and think of the walk he took from house to garage. Cleaning his room hasn’t bothered me but burning his bed was almost spiritual. So what I’m realizing there are no rules to this grief thing and I’m guessing the lesson will continue.
My beautiful boy and the light of my life lost his battle with mental illness on
January 11 2021 and died by his own hand. He was 32. There are no words for how I feel but I know that Josh did not do this to me. I know he loved me and I know he knew I loved him.
My heart is broken, it’s always going to be and I don’t know how to survive this loss which is indescribable. I wish I could turn back time and I wish that I could ransom him back from death. Love You Forever Josh
I lost my son to suicide on February 26, 2020. I found him. He had hung himself in our basement. This kid, so I thought, had it together. Showed absolutely no signs of trouble. He will forever be 23. Unfortunately, the vision of him will never go away, but I am moving forward. I have been reaching out to so many moms to start a mother’s group to children they lost to suicide. So many say no, which I can respect. It does make me sad though that no one wants to talk about this pandemic. I call it a pandemic as it is a problem worlwide. Just reading the comments on this page makes me realize that there are so many suffering in silence. I started a youtube channel recently called Suicide Watch (there are many but mine only has 3 videos so far). My journey has now changed in life and that is to reach out to as many parents, friends relatives of people affected by suicide to spread awareness. Social issues are never talked about as they are difficult to talk about. I am hoping that maybe some of you will reach out. One thing we have in common is knowing the ache of losing a child to suicide. My email is email@example.com and I hope I can make a difference even to those who are angry. My heart goes out to each and everyone of you. Lets come together and help each other get through this difficult time.
I have gone through this and i will tell you how to overcome such chronic depression. It will surely work and it has no medications:
Believe in the name of god YHWH. Go and see and do everything you love, madly crazily. Like seeing movies, eating anything you love, ride bikes, talking madly with people you love. Feel life like you are billionarie. In only few days you will become normal. Do it if again you are in depression or suicidal.
My only son took his life Jan 11, 2021. He shot himself while he was driving off an on ramp of the interstate. He was 26. He was the most kind, loving, compassionate person I’ve ever known. I had spoken to him 2 days before and he was doing great! (His words.) He had just bought a brand new house with his wife. Had just started a new job. I knew they were having some personal issues, but nothing that i thought would cause this to happen. I’m broken. My soul has been torn out. He was my first true love, my first best friend and my only son. I will never be the same. The pain I’m feeling is worse than anything I’ve ever known. Because he was married, i didnt get to make any arrangements or end of life decisions. There wasn’t a funeral. No casket to touch, no songs played, no pictures shown. No closure. I have no tangible proof that my son is gone. I didn’t get to say goodbye, no last I love you, I’m sorry, nothing. The only reason I’m still here is because my daughters and grandchildren.
My youngest daughter sent us your letter this morning. My son committed suicide on September 22 and died on the 23. He was my 40 years middle son, he was a successful lawyer, loved by many people, he was soft and kind, shy and compassionate, charitable and defensive of human rights and a lover of the voiceless and needy. He never show any signs of depression. To us it was a total shock that call from the ER and continue to be a shock until today. Your letter it’s a description of my own feelings and journey. Your letter brings so much comfort and hope to my deep, dark pain. Thanks for your words
Even though you were unable to physically see him and say goodbye, you can still talk to him. I believe in energy and I know after my son committed suicide in Feb, 2020 (he was 23 and he too was doing “great”) I talked to him and continue to talk to him every day. It is only now that I am getting responses from him. Little things that keep happening and I know it’s him. So don’t give up on not communicating with y9ur son. Tell him you love him every day, I believe he will come to you if you open your mind. If you ever need to talk reach out. Speaking about your loved ones is a great way to heal.
As terrible as that day was, we go into shock. It protects us to some degree. This October was the one year anniversary that pushed me beyond my breaking point. Especially the night before. The night, if I had known she was gathering pills to kill herself, I could have stopped her. I cried every day. I screamed at people in stores. I have made it through so much loss in my life, and I know I am incredibly strong, but this was as close as I have come to something I really could not bear. She was 19, smart, beautiful, with high hopes and a bright future, and she was pushed beyond what she could bear by the child molester across the street who had been trying to get at her since she was 14. He finally lured her in and destroyed her. Seeing him walking around free, it is salt in the wound. He is the target of my rage. Waiting for karma is exhausting.
My son committed suicide on October 19, 2020. His normal routine of giving me a morning kiss and going about his day to prepare for work. I found him a few hours later in his man cave. It was 40 days before his birthday. He was suffering from seizures brought on after a car accident the year before. They were getting worse and the doctors couldn’t figure out why or where they were coming from. But he never stopped being happy and joyful and loving to those around him. He loved his family but his niece was his pride and joy. Anyone who met him fell in love with him. He was a joy to be around and a workaholic. So why take his life? This is what has baffled me and hurts the most because I do not understand where it came from! We talked every day and he would let me know if was in pain but nothing to this extent. I work with students every day motivating and encouraging them to push forward in life and the one closest to me, my baby I lose!! Why didn’t I see the signs? What and where did I do wrong? It’s like my heart has been ripped out but I also know I need to be strong and be here for my other 2 children and grandkids. I feel so lost and alone.