When you are the one who has lost someone to suicide, whether you had been the one to find them or not, the emotions are huge. The memories haunt. The loss is beyond what you could have imagined. If you found someone dead, the images are etched in your mind. They are painful. I am sorry. I understand because I know. Take time to let all of this roll around and be processed. For many, if not most, in this situation, getting counseling is so very important. Going as often as you need to go is really quite okay.
If your mind is filled with the image of suicide, get sweet pictures of this person and look upon them. Place them around the house…around you. Think about him or her when they were alive. Remember things you did together, words shared, special moments. Fill your mind with those images. Talk about his or her life with others who care about you. Celebrating his or her life will help tremendously to change what is imprinted upon your mind from that day. These are ways to work through the pain and begin to replace the images of finding one with happy images. This is not a process that is over in a year or even five. It seems to be ongoing but is less and less over the years. God wants your mind and heart filled with Him.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
- You may feel strong anger. That, too, is normal.
- You probably feel numb and have difficulty concentrating. Again that is normal.
- Be gentle with yourself.
- Give yourself time. Please take care of yourself, and take your healing one step at a time.
- And remember that you are a special person.
I journaled in order to express how I felt. I wondered often what I could have done to prevent this suicide. I read books on suicide and found that I probably could not have prevented it and should not blame myself, nor feel guilty.
Other things I have found that helped me along this unbeaten path were:
- Understand that everyone grieves differently. You may read about “the stages of grief,” but each person goes through them in their own way. Your way is the best way for you.
- You may deny what happened. Understand that almost everyone does that. It is a normal part of the healing process that you are going through.
- Also, unfortunately, there still is a stigma that exists around suicide. Most people do not understand what you are going through. Their words may blame you or are harsh about the one who is dead now. It does not seem fair nor make sense to those left behind. But stigmas with the word “suicide” do exist.
- And please keep in mind that you can decide not to answer any questions that others may ask you. If someone wants to know how your loved one died, you can say that you do not want to talk about it. It is up to you. No explanation is necessary. Some people may even ask, “Why did he do that?” “What could you have done?”…questions that you do not need nor can you even answer. Giving those questions no answer, or “I don’t know,” or “Please do not ask me this,” may be your best way to handle the insensitivity.
- Yes, people can be insensitive. People can be rude. People can be intrusive. You decide who you want to talk to, when you want to talk to them, for how long you want to talk to them, and about what.
Through Jim’s art, I met the wonderful man to whom I am married to…22 years now. I had a display of Jim’s paintings scheduled to be on our main library’s mezzanine. Ken was the Art Center’s volunteer to hang those displays. We met and that is a whole story unto itself, but God worked through tragedy, bringing beauty from the ashes.
“To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61: 3
Amidst the grief, Kenneth and his dear mother introduced me to Jesus. I read the Bible, studying it as voraciously as I could. I talked to Kenneth about suicide and Jim. He spoke and read verses to me…God’s Truth. He placed me in the hands of Jesus to teach me all He could to help me know that Jesus is the answer. I called upon the Name of the LORD and He answered me. He guided me. He holds my heart when I think about Jim. I am sorry he did what he did and that he went through pure and certain agony to reach that place. But Jesus gave me new life and continuously affirms the beauty of our relationship.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
He wants me whole as I grow to be more and more like Him. He wants that whole Linda to become holy as He is Holy.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Father, You have saved me from myself and given me a new self in rebirth. Father, if one is reading this post and has been through the loss of someone they have loved or cared about through the act of a suicide, I pray that Your tender mercies rain upon them and come to reign in their hearts. I pray that You hold them near. If they do not know Jesus as their LORD and Savior, I pray that they will seek Your face. Father God, may we each and all know that Your care for us is steadfast. You hide us in the cleft of the Rock, protecting us, providing for us, and comforting us. Should there be one reading this post who has thought about suicide, I pray for Your saving grace to rain upon them and reign in their hearts. I pray that they look to You, Jesus, focusing their eyes upon You for You will not lead them astray. Only satan would do that. May they rest on Bible verses that touch their hearts. Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 … Be not overly wicked, neither be a fool. Why should you die before your time? Ecclesiastes 7:17 May Your Word stand strong before them and fill them with Your Truth. May we trust in You and only You. In the Strong Name of Jesus, I lift these precious sisters and brothers to You as well as myself. You are the Holy One. Amen.