R.K. asks from Brook Park, OH on April 27, 2008
Helping Elder Parents Through Loss...
Having problems communicating effectively with my parents after the loss of an adult child to suicide. Most talking has been stilted, and non-substantial, then things blow up. A lot of anger exists over how each adult sibling is handling the grieving process--as relations with our deceased sib varied greatly between us. Situation simmers, then blows up, then simmers some more.
So What Happened?™
My parents and sibling will be going into mediation to try to work out their communication difficulties. My house is "Switzerland"--I listen to everyone, and try to suggest alternate points of view if it seems appropriate. My parents seem to be handling things a little better--there's a lot of adjusting to do in the roles each of us play in the family right now.
L.C. answers from Dayton on April 28, 2008
First let me say that I am so very sorry for your loss. I haven't lost anyone to suicide, but I lost both of my parents by the time I turned thirty, so I know a little about grief.
This has been my experience: grief is a very personal indvidual thing. Yes, there are stages, but how each person moves through those stages and the speed that they move through each stage and the process as a whole can be vastly different. When my mom died my sister was angry at everyone. Rather than feel guilty about her relationship with our mother she chose to be angry at me. My brother was drunk. Or high. Rather that deal with his guilt and hurt he escaped the only way he knew. I just shut down. I couldn't function. I didn't talk to any of my friends. I even withdrew from my children. I was a mommy, just not a very attentive one. It was as if all my energy was focused on pain management and getting threw another day. It took me a long time. It has taken my brother longer. It took my sister probably the least ammount of time to get to an OK place.
When you are in the throws of deep grief it is a very selfish, kind of inward turning time and a person can do very selfish things. Not because they are mean, or bad, or ugly but because they are hurting.
If you are in a better place than other people in your family I would suggest that you simply love them. Write letters, send cards make phone calls and just love them. It heals alot. There will be time to figure out what happened later, but it won't happen right now. If some family is in a better place than you or you have a group of friends that are a support system to you, let them love you. My dear friend Malic helped me through the worst part of it. She lived across the street from me and I must have been at her house every day for a while. She made me coffee, made me laugh, helped me cry and loved me.
In short the only things that help are time and love and some people take more time and love than others.
You have my heart felt sympathy and my prayers for you and your family, dear.
1 mom found this helpful
L.B. answers from Mobile on April 29, 2008
I am so sorry for your loss. It is very common for the family of a suicide victim to feel enormous anger. If any of your siblings or parents would be willing to talk with a professional counselor, I think it would be worth the time and money.
Are you any good at journaling? Writing about your sibling and your feelings would help you.
Be gentle with your parents they are struggling with loss, grief, shame and guilt. That's a whole lot of emotions to deal with at once. Be gentle with yourself and your other siblings as you come to terms with and heal from this tragedy.
1 mom found this helpful
D.K. answers from Indianapolis on April 29, 2008
Schedule a time for EVERYONE to get together and talk about it. I DEFINITLEY would make sure everyone has the opportunity to express anger issues AS WELL AS making SURE EVERYONE contributes something special they remember about him/her. Trust me......at some point...SOMEONE will be laughing. I did this at my grandmother's funeral. Everyone loved it. We had laughter in the midst of tears and it was a great tribute to her & her memory and personality.
Even if your parents just decide not to talk and listen......it will be helpful. Talking about it helps the healing process. I know! I lost a fiance to drowing at 25 and my parents told me not to talk about it. 13 years later, I'm a type A+ work-a-holic who still cries because I missed my best friend. Not talking about it DOESNT work!
Slay your giants, make the effort to talk and you'll be amazed at how much better EVERYONE feels. There will be tears and laughter. Celebrate what you HAD!
1 mom found this helpful
M.B. answers from Lima on April 29, 2008
Suicide is devastating. The grieving process is unlike any other. Everyone either blames themselves or others for the loss. WHY? WHY? WHY? This question seems to reverberate through your mind endlessly. You feel more isolated than with the normal death. I suggest counseling. There's probably a support group in your area too. Time heals too. The first year was rougher with my father-in-law's suicide than any other death I have dealt with. After that things seem to settle down. God helped me deal with it. Perhaps you know him too. If not, I'd love to talk to you.
1 mom found this helpful
M.C. answers from Cincinnati on April 29, 2008
First, I am very sorry for your loss. Perhaps professional counseling might be helpful. You could tell your parents that you were having a difficult time and ask them to attend with you. (This provides an "excuse" to get them there with you.) Then, maybe open the invitation to the rest of your sibs. I believe that there is a group at St. Elizabeth Medical Center that might be helpful to you and your family also.
J.M. answers from Terre Haute on April 29, 2008
I have not gone through losing an adult child through suicide.
I did lose a baby i wanted so very badly. I also lose my first
grandchild as a baby. It hurt so very badly!!!! Time and prayer are the only things that will get you through it. You
could talk yourself blue in the face. Plan happy family things. Don't try to fix it. Talk if they want to but don't
keep bringing it up. Go on with life and plan happy family
occasions or trips. Prayer and time will ease the pain.
Love and prayers,
L.W. answers from Canton on April 29, 2008
My condolences to you and your family. I pray God gives you & your family comfort and wisdom as you deal with your loss. It is so difficult to loose someone you love so much even without having to deal with all the emotions that suicide bring about.
Perhaps at some point you could all have an informal meeting. It could be a time when you can grieve together and discuss how each of you deal with the passing and the feelings each of you have regarding the suicide. The hardest thing to do, in any situation and especially in this one, is to learn to forgive. Discuss forgiveness; forgive your loved one for choosing suicide, God for 'allowing' this to happen; forgiveness for yourself and others for not being able to prevent what happened. A very wise person once told me, "We do the best we can with what we know at the time." You and you family did the best you could with what you knew at the time. There is no fault, no blame. Remember to love each other in order to bring yourselves to healing. Remember your loved one with tenderness.
I hope this helps in some way.
T.T. answers from Fort Wayne on April 29, 2008
I am so sorry for the loss your family is suffering. Grief is such a unique process to go through and often families who really mean to help each other through the process end up losing their focus and feeling like enemies in a whole different battle. My husband's brother took his life several years ago and I think suicide is the most difficult of all deaths to work through. There is an entire extra set of questions that go through your mind every day, "why did they do it," "could I have prevented it," "did I miss something," "why didn't someone see it coming," "what if they had just waited another day?" The list is as endless. Unfortunately because it is not understood by people who haven't been through it, family members often receive harsh critical words from friends and strangers. The truth is suicide is not a natural thing to do, and is a step taken in total hopelessness, despair, confusion, or illness. Your loved one didn't do it to hurt their family, and it is usually no ones fault. It is a very complicated issue that only God is capable of understanding the entirity of. I also believe that God's intention is to comfort you and your family, not burden you further, so if this means stepping away from negative people then do so. There are many good books and counselor's available to help people learn to cope with this saddness that's been dealt your family, please seek some source of guidance for yourself even if your parent's won't. The funeral director who helped with arrangements should also be able to direct you to many available grief and healing sources, please contact them. May God Bless you on your journey to healing, it is one of the hardest roads we have to travel.