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How to Cope with Grief After a Loved One Commits Suicide

Three coping mechanisms to help you cope with grief after a loved one commits suicide.

The suicide of a loved one will leave you with a tremendous amount of grief that is indescribable to anyone who has not dealt with this themselves. Death by suicide is not the same as any other death and the feelings that the people left behind will go through are not the same in many cases, either. Suicide often occurs well before a person has lived a very full life and it occurs due to an emotional sense of pain that most people can’t even begin to comprehend the extent of. I can comprehend that amount of pain, having only been saved from becoming a a suicide myself by the very grace of God. I can also understand the immense amount of grief that those left behind feel when someone commits suicide because my father was one who could no longer live with the pain that he felt.

Although the grief may feel unbearable at times when someone that you love takes his or her own life, you are going to have to cope in order to go on with your own. This person is no longer with you physically, but they will stay in your heart, probably for as long as you live. The following are three coping mechanisms that I have used in order to deal with the grief and mourning that I have experienced, having lost my father.

Coping Mechanism #1-Surround yourself with other people and do not isolate yourself, as tempting as it may be at times. It is alright to spend some time by yourself with your feelings, but if you find that you are going for days without seeing other people, this is not a good thing. Mourning alone is not only difficult, but you are going to risk entering an abyss of depression that is going to be difficult to climb out of. Being around people that are grieving alongside you can help you tremendously, as you can remember the person that you’ve lost, sometimes laughing and sometimes crying, but doing so together. You should not shut out people who didn’t know your loved one, either. These people still care about you and will want to help you all that they can.

Coping Mechanism #2-Forgive the person that has left you, by their own choice. For me, this was very difficult and took many years. I had to develop the maturity and life lessons of my own to even begin to understand that what my father did wasn’t just a selfish decision that he made with no regard for me or others that loved him. When a person is in the state of mind and heart that they are when suicide becomes an option for them, they have dealt with their pain as well as they could. They are not trying to hurt you, even though they do, and they may even believe that you would be better off without them. There are mental issues going on that prevent them from understanding the after-effects for the people being left without them.

Coping Mechanism #3-As far as faith and religious beliefs go, there are all sorts of different beliefs regarding what happens to a person’s soul after a suicide. You may have your own and that is just fine, but I have found that there are many people (most of which don’t know anyone who has committed suicide) who believe that all suicides are destined for eternity in Hell. I will briefly explain their reasoning and my argument against that. They believe that suicide is a sin that you can’t repent of so therefore, you are going to have unforgiven sin with you when you die. By that same belief, then, the person who tells a “little white lie” and is immediately struck by a car and instantly killed is also going to Hell. They also had no time to repent. It makes no sense. There is also, I believe, a God who understands mental illness, which is often the case with suicide. Do not allow one person’s religious belief to determine yours.

Coping with the grief of a loved one’s suicide is incredibly difficult. There are so many emotions that will accompany your mourning, from anger, to guilt, to sadness, and everything in between. Remember not to isolate yourself, to work on forgiveness, and to let your faith be your own. Doing these things will give you a start on coping with a grief that can fade with time, but a memory of a loved one that will stay with you forever.

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