Survivors Of a Loved Ones Suicide
"As anyone who has been close to someone that
has committed suicide knows, there is no other pain like
that felt after the incident”
Coping with the Loss of a Loved One’s Suicide
Where Do I Start?
If you have lost someone to suicide, the first thing you should know is that you are not alone. Each year, more than 32,000 people in the United States die by suicide --
the devastated family and friends they leave behind are known as
Survivors. There are millions of survivors who, like you, are trying to
cope with this heartbreaking loss.
Survivors often experience a wide range of grief reactions, including some or all of the following:
- Shock. You may feel numb or disoriented, and may have trouble concentrating.
- Symptoms of depression, including disturbed sleep, loss of appetite, intense sadness, and lack of energy.
- Anger toward the deceased, another family member, a therapist, or yourself.
- Relief, particularly if the suicide followed a long and difficult mental or physical illness.
- Guilt, including thinking, "If only . . . " and "Why"
Although most survivors will tell you that things are never the same, those same survivors will reassure you that you will reach a "new normal" in time.
Your recovery will be different than someone who has lost someone to a non-suicidal death, so it is very important for you to be patient with the time it will take for your unique recovery process. Go easy on yourself.
Studies show that, although losing a loved one to suicide is definitely a suicide risk factor, survivors who seek counseling and/or participate in a survivor support group are LESS likely than the general population to end their own lives.
For more information on support to survivors of a loved ones suicide, go to this web site's Support Links page and look under Survivor Support.
There is a Survivor Support Group offered in Orange County every first and third Sunday of the month, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. This open-ended, and sometimes multi-family, support group is led by Jeri Livingstone, a survivor of her husband's suicide, and is hosted at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove. All survivors are invited to attend.
If you are interested in attending the Orange County SOS Support Group you may call Jeri at home @ (714) 539-1429 for more information.
Our thanks goes out to Jeri Livingstone for this support group, a service she has generously provided to survivors of of a loved ones suicide in Orange County for nearly two decades. On behalf of the JB Foundation and the survivors who benefit from these groups, we would like to publicly express our gratitude and appreciation to Jeri for her efforts and contributions. She and they are greatly appreciated. Thank you Miz Jer
Every survivors experience is different, what is the same is that, no matter what the individual circumstance, the goal of survivor recovery is to work toward and reach a new normal that gets strong and better of day to come. Peter Greene describes a little of this notion in the following quote:
"Everyone's recovery process is on an individualized time frame but eventually the most painful of feelings will diminish over time and you will develop the ability to cope, heal and reach a "new normal". We can never go back. This 'thing' we deal with after suicide, it doesn't get better. It just changes with time. We will be affected profoundly by this for years to come. It is not something that can be forgotten.”