How do you describe the feeling? The moment when the life is punched out of your gut and blows a hole in your heart at the same time? The moment playing over and over like a skipped record. The last moment you saw them alive. What could you have done? This is the reality of being close to a person who commits suicide. How do you go on living without them?
With any death deemed by the survivors to be premature, adds another dimension of pain to losing someone you love. There is this assumption that there was more for them to do, that they would be missing the best things in life, that they were denied accomplishments and life experiences. This is compounded when the person takes their own life. The feeling of senselessness of the death can sometimes be even more overwhelming than the knowledge that the person is dead.
The first thing a survivor needs to come to terms with when they are ready to heal is to look at it as though a person had cancer or some other terminal illness. There is a different mindset that comes from your loved one dyeing of a terminal disease however the depression that took your loved one’s life is much like a terminal illness. It is not that you didn’t do enough, or could have done anything, the same way it is when a person is unable to stop a loved one from dyeing of cancer. One must release themselves from the guilt of not being able to prevent the tragedy.
At some point we must come to terms with the master plan of life. Something we cannot always understand, nor do we need to understand it, just know that if any other outcome was possible at the time it would have occurred. The suicide happened because at that particular point in time, with the specific circumstances that were happening, that was the only thing that could have happened. It is a difficult thought to take in, however it is necessary to be open to the idea that it couldn’t have been any other way at the time. This frees the mind from the broken record thought pattern of playing out the many ways the mind thinks that moment should have happened in order to have saved the individual from themselves.
Finally, there comes a reality that happens with anyone whose loved one dies, whether naturally, by foul play or by their own hand. That reality is that to heal we must find another way to have the needs met that the person who died fulfilled for us. Although a person can never be replaced, there can be a surrogate found to give the hugs, to be there in the physical world the way a survivor of suicide needs someone to be there. One can always send love to the person who died and that is healthy. However, there are times when there is love to give and sometimes having someone the same age as the person who died to nurture instead helps fill a hole that would otherwise cause more pain.
It is important to take each day after a suicide one day at a time. Although like having a scab or a limb removed there is always a reminder. The fact is there can be life after suicide. There still can be happy moments and a life worth living for. A survivor is here because they have more living to do and although there is pain there is also love and a lot of other really great things to look forward to as well.