Our family lost our son of suicide when he was eighteen years old, two weeks before his graduation. It was twenty-four years ago. Much healing has taken place and time does help the healing process. It is not to say that he is forgotten or that the hurt does not surface occasionally, but grieving is necessary and grieving takes time.
Our son, Christopher was adopted from Korea and at that time we lived in a very conservative community with little or none diversity. So much played into the cause of our son’s death, in addition to the lack of bonding ability for his first year of life. Suicide is still the second highest causes of death next to car accidents for young people.
There is much to talk about on this subject, but I want to share some things that helped our family grieve and work through our grief.
With contributions we were able to form a support group for suicide survivors. There are many support groups that focus on particular subject matter and I wanted to attend one on this particular subject and get a quick fix.
I remember going to the support group with the prime objective to free myself of the pain I felt. What I found was, that it is not that easy, nor is it a fast process. There is not an easy formula for the length of time or the process. It is different for every one. Each person needs to find a way to face the pain and walk through it to the other side.
I spent five years with this group and later became the leader for those whose pain was new and raw. I no longer need the group and I moved away from that community, but it is good to know, that the group that was started from the death of our son, is still meeting and helping others with their grief.
The most important message I can give is, that you cannot ignore it. It will not go away. It will always surface sometime in your life.
I remember a woman who came to the group who had lost her husband ten years prior. She had lied to friends and family that her husband had died from a heart attack. Ten years after her husband had died, she came to our support group to deal with the suicide death of her husband. She had to grieve honestly to go on with her life.
To those who don’t know what to say to your friends, I say, the best thing to do is to tell them how you are feeling. Let them know it is OK to talk about it and to tell their stories.
This blog is good for those to work through their grief because too often we are afraid to talk. We do not want to rain on someone’s parade. We do not want to bring the conversation to a sad topic. Yet, we need to continue to say our love one’s name. We need to continue to tell the stories. Journal writing and/or letters to the deceased is also helpful.
I always remember someone telling me, that she did not want to think about her loss, nor did she want to cry. She thought if she started to cry, she would not be able to stop. I told her to think of it as a running brook. If you dam it up, the force becomes stronger and more destructive. Yet, if you allow the water to flow, it will be free as nature intended, and eventually it will heal.