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Bereaved by suicide



A suicide only dies once - survivors die a thousand times.


The devastation caused by the suicide of a loved one is inconceivable. Not simply impossible to imagine - but inconceivable. It cannot be expressed. There are no words in the English Language adequate enough to possibly convey the crushing feelings you experience when you learn of the death - by suicide - of a loved one. Such news can only be greeted by total disbelief.
In its mildest form, such news is a major shock to the system, and can easily cause a person to slip into shock. At worst, the news can trigger a major trauma. In this state, unworldly feelings of emotional and physical numbness usually accompany the shock.
The shock of the news itself, is usually neutralised by the firm belief that there must be a genuine mistake. The news is so terrible that it simply can not be true. "Obviously there is a mistake." This natural unwillingness to grasp the reality of the news seems to be perfectly normal and perfectly understandable.
Over a period of time, the denial of what has happened inevitably gives way to horror as the truth becomes undeniable. As the reality of what has happened sinks in, the mind slips into meltdown.
The reality leaves you stunned, troubled, confused and emotionally devastated. Depression is likely to manifest itself as disturbed sleep, general fatique, inability to cocentrate, change in appetite and the feeling that nothing can make life worth living again.
In an attempt to cope with the situation - and your feelings about it - your mind plays and replays your memories over what has happened, over and over again.
As your mind desperately struggles to make some sort of sense about this unacceptable truth;  the memories can become distorted, intrusive and haunting.
Over and over again you painstakingly examine each and every small recollection searching for clues. It is quite common at this stage to somehow assume the mantle of guilt for what has happened yourself. Thinking that somehow it must be your fault. That you are to blame. These thoughts are dangerous as they can lead to the belief that you are somehow responsible.
Thoughts such as 'if only I'd done this, or not done that' begin to emerge. These thoughts are false. It is not your fault. You did not do this terrible thing. At the end of the day, the person that took his or her own life and in so-doing destroyed yours is the one responsible.  Not you
Gradually, awareness grows that through no fault of your own, your life as been unjustifiably ruined. You yourself have been devastated and abandoned in pain, grief and confusion by the person you loved and trusted. In any circumstance this is unforgiveable. Especially so when their action leaves you wth no possibility of an explanation and therefor no possible means of closure.
In every sense of the word your loved one has betrayed you. Turned you into an innocent victim. Left you to live in pain and sorrow. Intense anger is understandably normal in this awareness. You and your life have been damaged and it is ok to feel anger. Your whole existence has been betrayed and you will always be denied the answers to the unanswerable questions ... 'why did they do it?'  (and) 'could I have prevented it?'

Once the shock and horror of what has happened slowly begins to subside, the grieving process begins. Whether this is an inevitable journey from bereavement to a 'new' life: Or simply the process of rebuilding what remains of your former life, depends upon whether you are writing about the experience - or living it! 
A recommended srategy involves allowing yourself 30 minutes grieving time each day. Ideally, be alone with no possible interruptions. This will provide you with the opportunity to deal with pent up emotions - a bit like a safety valve. Use it to laugh, cry, think, curse, remember, pray, meditate, scream into a sink full of water, beat up a cushion, whatever helps you. But please try to avoid alcohol and drugs.
One activity you can do in your 30 minute grieving time is to keep a diary. Journal fond memories, good times spent together, feelings, dreams your grief; and see how your grief changes over a period of weeks or months. This will show you your progress, plus you will produce a precious document of beautiful memories to cherish forever.