KALMers, do you know that November 20th is the International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day? The United States Congress has designated this day as a day when the relatives and friends of individuals who have died by suicide can come together to support one another.
Grief For Those Who Lose To Suicide
Grief is a difficult thing to go through, especially when it comes as a result of suicide. There will almost always be unanswered regret questions, such as “Why can’t I stop it?” as the closest person left behind. “How come I didn’t see he/she wasn’t doing well all this time?” or “How come he/she still chooses to do this after everything I’ve done?” Not to mention having to answer questions from the authorities or the stigma from the community, which makes the process of grieving a suicide much more difficult.
So, with the following article, let’s try to understand them a little bit more. What could individuals who have lost loved ones to suicide feel and how we can support them.
Emotions They Might Feel
To be able to help, we must first understand what they are going through in order to empathize with them. These are some of the emotions they might be experiencing:
- Anger, either with themselves for not understanding the person who has left or angry for feeling left alone.
- Guilt, they might blame themselves for what happened and often speculate about what could have been done to prevent suicidal behavior.
- Feelings of shock. They might not believe that a loved one had left because of suicide.
- Despair, feelings of sadness and loneliness that make them feel hopeless and even have thoughts of committing suicide too.
- Confusion due to unanswered questions such as the reason a loved one commits suicide.
- Feeling rejected since their presence do not seem to be enough to keep their loved ones from committing suicide.
Things You Need to Consider when Support Them
Some of these things are things you can and can’t do once you understand what they’re going through:
- Accepts all emotions and recognizes that it is natural to feel them.
- Invite them to discuss sweet memories with their loved ones who have left. Make sure you pay attention to their story. But it’s fine if they don’t want to talk about it right now. Give them time.
- Let them express their grief and loss in their own way as there is no right or wrong way to experience emotions. Just make sure they’re not hurting themselves or others.
- Help them with daily activities, such as grocery shopping or helping them with the funeral arrangements.
- Labeling someone who has died selfish, weak, or crazy.
- Blaming those who have died for their suicidal behavior.
- Bringing up sin and religion issues to pass judgment on individuals who have died.
- Requesting an explanation or speculating on the cause of suicide.
- Doing toxic positivity, such as asking those left behind not to cry or grieve over the loss of their loved ones.
- Cut off the conversation because you can’t wait to hear stories from family/friends about their memories with people who have passed away.
KALMers, you don’t have to feel that you have to be able to answer all their questions or give good advice. It’s natural for you to be unsure of what to say or do in response to them. You can reach out to Kalmselor through the KALM app to see how you can help them in their present circumstances (download here). KALM is here for you.
Written by: Nadya Anindita
Translated by: Rachma Fitria
Edited by: Rachma Fitria & Lukas Limanjaya
Suicide Grief: Coping with a Loved One’s Suicide. HelpGuide. Retrieved November 11, 2021 from : https://www.helpguide.org/articles/grief/coping-with-a-loved-ones-suicide.htm
Suicide Grief. MayoClinic. Retrieved November 11, 2021 from : https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/end-of-life/in-depth/suicide/art-20044900