Suicide Effect on My Son 14 Yrs Old

Updated on August 16, 2019
W.S. asks from Pomona, CA
17 answers

My husband passed away last month by suicide.
It’s overwhelmingly sad.
My son is not talking to me; it’s his way of moving on. How can I help him?

What can I do next?

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D.B.

answers from Boston on

I am so very sorry. My husband's brother died by suicide and I know the pain that brings on a family. My heart goes out to you and your son.

14 is tough anyway - they feel they should be adults, but they aren't, yet they aren't children either. And it's common for kids to put distance between themselves and the surviving parent, sometimes because they think that parent is already struggling and sometimes because they are steeling themselves to the horrible possibility that the 2nd parent won't always be around either. It can be a defense mechanism. And there could be other reasons.

I don't think you can heal your son. I don't think he can heal you. You both need support, and that means reaching out to a grief counselor or a support group or some other professional assistance. He will likely resist this, but you can work with your own professional on how to get him to seek out - even grudgingly - the kids of help he needs.

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W.W.

answers from Washington DC on

W. - wow - I'm so sorry for your loss.

There are support groups out there to help people deal with the loss of a loved one.

You both need to learn how to deal with this. Together. Please seek out a counselor or a support group to help you both deal with this tragedy.

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M.G.

answers from Portland on

I'm so sorry for your loss.

My kids all react very differently to stress and upset. Some retreat, others need to talk, some grieve openly. I find that is true of everyone.

I don't think he is shutting you out intentionally. I lost a parent at a young age. My mother was grieving uncontrollably - not crying, but just at a loss. It wasn't sudden as in your case, but still. I couldn't bear to see her pain - not on top of my own. I also didn't feel she could 'parent' me - be my mom. Not while she was upset.

So I felt like I had lost both my parents. It was a double whammy. I needed my mom, but she was grieving. I didn't feel I could ask that of her. She was more openly sad than I was. Seeing your parent as a human is difficult for a kid. Especially when you just lost the other one.

You grow up really fast.

So this is just really hard for him and he's just processing it. He's scared, probably feeling he has to be the man of the house, feeling pressured, and also - angry at his dad. Anger is a horrible feeling to feel when you're grieving. I felt angry at my dad, and he didn't take his life. I don't mean to be insensitive here, but I am guessing you both feel emotions that are hard there.

Have you seen a grief counselor?

My teenager son has requested to see a counselor at times. He didn't want to talk to us - he found talking to a stranger much easier. I never would have thought that, but he did. He only goes when he feels like it. He doesn't have a 'problem' - it's just to vent, or get things off his chest - and get perspective really.

I am truly sorry you're going through this, and if it helps, I am even closer to my mom for going through that rough time after my father's passing. It just took a while - and we grieved in different ways, and of course, it takes a long time. Just continue to show you love him, in whatever ways you do - he will know. Teen boys just appreciate the little things, to know you're thinking of them. No pressure though. Mine can't stand that. If I say Want to talk? They kind of run.

Best to you and your family

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S.S.

answers from Atlanta on

Truly sorry for your loss.

There are support groups and counselors to help BOTH of you get through this. You MUST communicate with each other. Silent treatment isn't going to work.

He's 14. He needs to learn how to deal with anger, hurt, resentment, etc. he might be feeling. As do you.

I wish you luck and peace.,

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J.F.

answers from Las Vegas on

I am so sorry for the loss of your husband and for the intense grief you and your son are experiencing.

Losing a spouse or parent is hard enough. Losing a loved one to suicide adds another layer of complexity to the grieving.

I hope you have supportive family and friends who can help you during this difficult time, but it would also be very beneficial for you and your son to seek out grief counseling and grief support groups that are specific to people who've lost loved ones to suicide.

The American Foundation for the Prevention of Suicide has numerous resources including lists of in-person support groups for people who have lost loved ones to suicide. Go to afsp.org to find the closest meeting to your location. They also have online grief support groups if you cannot make in-person meetings.

Save.org and suicidepreventionlifeline.org also have many resources for survivors.

There is an online booklet called Help and Hope: For Survivors of Suicide Loss (just type this in google search) put out by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.

There is also a new book, just published this year called Life After Suicide: Finding Courage, Comfort, and Community After Unthinkable Loss by Jennifer Ashton, M.D. Dr. Ashton is an ABC News Chief Medical Correspondent who lost her ex-husband to suicide. She shares her personal experiences and that of her children as they grieved this terrible loss. It's an excellent book that I think will be helpful to you. I don't believe it's in paperback yet because it's so new, so if you don't want to purchase it, you could get it from your library. I highly recommend it.

Please make an appointment for yourself and your son to start talking to someone, search out the support groups, and start reading through the resource materials. It's so important that you and your son do not blame yourselves in any way.

There is no one single thing that will help. It will be a combination of things: time; reaching out to others; getting the support and help you need; willingness to take it one day at a time; accepting that some days will just suck, but you keep moving forward anyway; accepting that you are not responsible for your husband's choice in this; learning to live and laugh again.

You and your son will live and laugh again. I know from personal experience. It's been 35 years since my father died by suicide. I still miss him. It took time, love and support from friends and family, and professional help, but life is good, and with acceptance of the things you cannot change, comes peace.

Wishing you strength and peace.

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T.F.

answers from Dallas on

First of all, I am very sorry you are going through this. I lost my husband suddenly to a heart attack almost 4 years ago and it is heartbreaking and very hard to deal with under any circumstance. Our daughter is now 24.

I read your past questions and you mention being very strict and some marital issues. That can effect how your son feels.

Again, I am very sorry. We found help in or community with a grief group which helped both daughter and myself.

Your circumstances sound a little constrained with your relationship with your son. He does need to have his own way of grieving. Everyone grieves differently and no way of grief is wrong.

Please consult a counselor to help you both through this time. Your son NEEDS to have some sort of help and there is NOTHING wrong with getting outside help,

Dealing with the loss of his dad is hard. Love him, try to support him and get outside help. He needs to understand this is not his fault.

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H.M.

answers from Dallas on

First of all I am so deeply sorry for your loss! Death of a parent is difficult for any one to processes especially when you are young. But on top of that it being a suicide. That would be even harder to processes. I highly recommend getting him into a grief councilor as well as yourself. He will have so many feelings and emotions that neither one of you will know how to deal with all on your own. With school starting up soon (If it hasn't already) I would make sure to let his school counselor and teachers know what is going on so if they see things that concern them they will be more understanding with him.

Good luck!

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G.♣.

answers from Springfield on

I cannot even imagine the pain you are both going through. The thought of losing a husband or a father is pain enough, not to mention losing a parent at 14 or losing someone to suicide. I'm so sorry for everything that the two of you are going through.

Please speak to a counselor. Both of you. Allow someone to help both of you grieve and talk through all your feelings. Do this for you and your son. He needs to know that he is not alone and that he can work through this. You need this, too. You need someone to talk to in order to help you deal with everything but also in order to help you help your son.

You should not be trying to deal with this alone.

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D.D.

answers from Boston on

Counseling for both of you asap. The big problem is that once somebody commits suicide it opens the door for more people to follow (according to my therapist daughter),Your son need to see that suicide isn't an answer to anything and be able to see that his father made a bad choice for whatever reason. He needs help to separate his father from his father's method of death and work through everything. You don't have the tools to be able to do that work with him; honestly most people in the world don't have those tools either. Get a grief counselor. Don't wait another day.

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R.M.

answers from Albany on

I'm so sorry for your loss. I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that your son not talking to you as his way of moving on. He may be tormented with anger that his Dad left him. He may think you did something to make him unhappy. He could be feeling that if he had been a better son, his father would not have taken his life. If he isn't speaking, no one knows what is going on in his mind.
A fear of your own could be that he could take his own life. I would get to a counsellor asap. The poor child is suffering...as you are. And I am sure your own pain is compounded with worry about your son.
Can an uncle or grandfather get involved? Can the whole family get together to talk together, perhaps with your pastor if you are involved in a place of worship. I would not accept a refusal on his part to get help. It's imperative. You are the parent and for his sake whether he realizes it or not, he needs to talk and express himself. If he had a broken arm and refused to get help, you would insist. This is the same.
And you need to deal with your own grief.
All the very best to you both and to the family.

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D..

answers from Miami on

I’m so sorry for you and your son.

Please find a family grief counselor. Take him. This is no different than a doctor visit for when your body needs healing. You should have private sessions too. Eventually, join him in the counseling sessions. It will head off problems later. I promise you.

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S.T.

answers from Washington DC on

how devastating for all of you. damn. i'm so very, very sorry.

counseling is the catch-all response for this sort of thing, and not everyone needs it, i guess. but it can't hurt either, can it? or at least a grief support group.

maybe you can ask around or even poke about on the internet and find a family group, or a teen group if your son won't go with you. don't force him. but go yourself, and go with him, or take him, if at all possible.

i think you are wise to give him his space, but do make sure you keep that door wide open. keep checking in with him, even if he rejects your attempts.

it's hard to give a blanket way to overcome something so awful. my brother-in-law took his own life 8 years ago, and the reverberations are still felt all through our family.

but you DO creep forward, everyone at their own pace.

don't be shy about getting help.

sending you strength.

khairete
S.

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❤.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

I am so very sorry for your loss.
Death in the family is always so very difficult and suicide makes it even more difficult.
I would have your child see a psychologist or one that specializes in grief counseling. I would do this right away.
First, I might try one session together as a family then a few sessions for your child to go without you. If you don't think it would be as beneficial for your son to go as a family, then just schedule an appointment for just him.
I would have him see the psychologist soon and by himself for at least 3 sessions minimum.

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N.B.

answers from Sarasota on

Get into counseling asap. Your son will fight you on it, but his future mental state is in jeopardy if he does not deal with whatever he is feeling now about his father's death. It also will be a way for him to learn, from a trained counselor that suicide is not the answer. Please do whatever it takes to make him go. I can't even imagine, as a child, how to process the death of a parent, especially one that chose to leave him. My prayers are with you as well. Please get counseling for yourself to help you deal with your feelings are this as well. I work in the medical field and I have seen too many tragic results when people don't process grief.

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N.K.

answers from Miami on

I'm sorry for your loss, and having your son not talk to you must also be stressful. You BOTH need grief counseling. He is probably in shock and incredibly hurt about the suicide, with feelings he is unable to express. You both need help to get through this and find support for each other.

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J.C.

answers from Anchorage on

I would recommend you both seek grief counseling.

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T.H.

answers from Dallas on

Oh my gosh. I am so very sorry. It's very difficult to be a survivor of suicide. Is he in counseling? If not, get him there asap. Also you should be in counseling if you're not as well. Have you been in contact (or website) with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention? They have great resources and they do events for suicide survivors too. I found them to be quite helpful after losing my niece to suicide.

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