Coping after the Loss of a loved one through Suicide
What to expect after the Loss of a loved one
Grieving and dealing with the changes which follow any loss is never easy. People often experience unpredictable extremes of emotion, feel insecure, and at times feel out of control.
N/B Different people can help at different times, and so can different activities or simply taking time out to be alone with your thoughts and feelings. You may want to talk through any such upsetting thoughts and feelings with someone you trust – a friend, someone in your family, perhaps with your GP or a trained volunteer and psychologists from Befrienders Kenya.
" Healing takes time and asking for help is a courageous step." Mariska Hargitay
Bereavement through drugs or alcohol
Bereavement through drugs or alcohol can often be a very confusing and distressing experience these include:Accidental or intentional deaths (through overdose), or a death that has come about through long term drug or alcohol use.
There are many specific issues that someone who is bereaved in this way may face during their grief:
Have you lost or do you know someone who has lost a loved one through suicide?
Befrienders Kenya is runs a support group for the bereaved to share their experiences and feelings to help cope with the loss of their loved ones as well as deal with stigma and other factors emanating from death through suicide. We aim to support you through this difficult time and hope that you will find some comfort and reassurance. We are here for you. Anger and the need for revenge are also common reactions. It is OK to be angry, to feel cheated or to have ideas about revenge, as long as you recognise that such emotions are just that – emotions. If you feel overwhelmed by these thoughts please speak to someone whom you trust. To join our online support group please follow this link:https://chat.whatsapp.com/KJ4jdwEwpXc1tiwxo1wNUm
Everyone grieves in a different way
There are no rights and wrongs. Emotions may seem so all consuming and terrifying that you feel you are losing control or are “going mad”. This is completely natural, you probably won’t have felt such strong emotions before and their intensity and depth can make you feel overwhelmed. If the perpetrator has yet to be apprehended or is unknown you may feel frightened and at risk. This again is a natural reaction experienced by many people who have been bereaved through violent crime. It is important that you share you worries and fears with people whom you trust. Police investigations - A death through murder or manslaughter will often result in police investigations, a post mortem, trials and court attendance. You may feel frightened and frustrated by what seems like a never ending cycle of procedures. You may feel that you have to put your grief on hold whilst focusing on court attendances and other procedures. Media attention - There is often media attention following a violent crime or homicide, and the person who has died can become “public property”. This is a difficult and often frustrating experience for people who are trying to grieve in private. You may feel you have lost “ownership” of the person who has died and may feel that they are being spoken about unkindly or inaccurately. What can help? Talking to family, friends, someone who has had similar experiences, your GP or a support organisation such as Cruse. Recognising that the initial reactions of anger, shock and fear will lessen in time. Remembering that you will have bad days and better days as you grieve. Holding a memorial service or other ritual of remembrance. Looking after yourself. Accepting that you are not to blame for the death. Taking time to do things that you like doing.When someone we love dies by suicide, the grieving process can be more complex and even more difficult to resolve.
Grief is a natural process, but it can be devastating.
Most people will cope with help and support from family and friends. For most of us, bereavement will be the most distressing experience we will ever face. Grief is what we feel when somebody we are close to dies. Everyone experiences grief differently and there is no 'normal' or 'right' way to grieve. You may feel a number of things immediately after a death. Shock: It may take you a long time to grasp what has happened. The shock can make you numb, and some people at first carry on as if nothing has happened. It is hard to believe that someone important is not coming back. Many people feel disorientated - as if they have lost their place and purpose in life or are living in a different world. Pain: Feelings of pain and distress following bereavement can be overwhelming and very frightening. Anger: Sometimes bereaved people can feel angry. This anger is a completely natural emotion, typical of the grieving process. Death can seem cruel and unfair, especially when you feel someone has died before their time or when you had plans for the future together. We may also feel angry towards the person who has died, or angry at ourselves for things we did or didn’t do or say to the person before their death. Guilt: Guilt is another common reaction. People who have been bereaved of someone close often say they feel directly or indirectly to blame for the person’s death. You may also feel guilt if you had a difficult or confusing relationship with the person who has died, or if you feel you didn’t do enough to help them when they were alive. Depression: Many bereaved people experience feelings of depression following the death of someone close. Life can feel like it no longer holds any meaning and some people say they too want to die. Longing: Thinking you are hearing or seeing someone who has died is a common experience and can happen when you least expect it. You may find that you can't stop thinking about the events leading up to the death. "Seeing" the person who has died and hearing their voice can happen because the brain is trying to process the death and acknowledge the finality of it. Other people's reactions: One of the hardest things to face when we are bereaved is the way other people react to us. They often do not know what to say or how to respond to our loss. Because they don't know what to say or are worried about saying the wrong thing, people can avoid those who have lost someone. This is hard for us because we may well want to talk about the person who has died. It can become especially hard as time goes on and other people's memories of the person who has died fade.If you know someone who is grieving the death of someone close you may wonder how best to support them. People who have been bereaved may want to talk about the person who has died. One of the most helpful things you can do is simply listen, and give them time and space to grieve. Offering specific practical help, not vague general offers, can also be very helpful.
Trying to ignore or avert the child’s grief is not protective and can be damaging. Children and young people regardless of their age need to be encouraged to talk about how they are feeling and supported to understand their emotions. Coping and adapting- When someone close to us dies we have to cope and adjust to living in a world which is irreversibly changed. We may have to let go of some dreams built up and shared with the person who has died.The length of time it will take a person to accept the death of someone close and move forward is varied and will be unique to the mourner. How we react will be influenced by many different things, including: age, personality, cultural background, religious beliefs, previous experiences of bereavement personal circumstances. No one can tell you how or when the intensity of your grief will lessen; only you will know when this happens.
It is not unusual for bereaved people to think they are finally moving towards acceptance only to experience the strong and often unwelcome emotions they experienced shortly after the death. Life will never be the same again after a bereavement, but the grief and pain should lessen. There should come a time when you are able to adapt and adjust and cope with life without the person who has died. The pain of bereavement has been compared to that of losing a limb.
We may adapt to life without the limb but we continue to feel its absence. When a person we are close to dies we can find meaning in life again, but without forgetting their meaning for us Many people worry that they will forget the person who has died; how they looked, their voice, or the good times they had together. There are, however, many ways you can keep their memory alive.A traumatic loss is one that is sudden, unexpected, and often results from horrific or frightening circumstances. Here we provide information for those affected by natural disaster, terrorist attack, suicide and other traumatic losses.
Bereavement through murder or manslaughter may be particularly difficult to come to terms with. Feelings of unfairness, disbelief and despair may be heightened and you may encounter unwanted intrusion and interest from your community. You may feel that you have little control over the public interest shown towards the death of the person you were close to and this can lead to self isolation and separation from your family, friends, community and wider society.
You may feel numb as if this isn’t happening to you. You may feel there has been a mistake.
Such feelings of disbelief and shock are completely natural responses.
You may keep asking why it happened and spend lots of time asking yourself