Loving a Suicidal Parent

by N. J. Lindquist:

Despite loving a suicidal parent dearly, one daughter saw her need to look out for her own mental health.

 

Stock Photo Image by David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Stock Photo Image by David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Five years ago a young woman’s mother committed suicide. Prior to that, the mother had struggled with mental illness and addictions for many years.

From ages 14 to 17, the daughter looked after the mother without telling anyone what was going on at home. At the age of 17, the daughter made the very difficult decision to leave her home before she went down the same path as her mother. And shortly after that, she made some very wise decisions on how she would live her life, which she shares in this video.

Unfortunately, the mother could not or would not change.

To honour her mother, this year, the daughter swam 500 laps to raise money for mental health in her mother’s memory.

If you’re living in a situation that is going to destroy your life, if you feel burdened down from trying to help someone who shows no intention of really wanting to change, or if you feel guilty for not being able to help someone you love, please watch this video. The story beings at the 3-minute mark.

And if you identify with the mother, please seek help from those who are qualified to give it.

How to Comfort a Friend After a Suicide Loss

By PeggySue Wells:

When someone loses a loved one to suicide, what do I say?

How can I be the hands of Jesus to comfort a friend who has suffered such a terrible loss?

 

Image from zole4 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image from zole4 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How to Comfort a Friend After a Suicide Loss

In times of deep grief, I have found that hope is more important than advice. Job said it this way,

“Do I have the strength of stone? Is my flesh bronze? Do I have any power to help myself, now that success has been driven from me? A despairing man should have the devotion of his friends,” (Job 6:12 – 14 NIV).

During those dark hours, Jesus calls us not to be experts, but to come alongside and provide enCOURAGEment.

“A friend sent flowers on that first sad Mother’s Day after my child died,” my Sunday school teacher said. “I felt loved and understood.”

Another grieving mother said,

“After the loss of my son, some people felt awkward when they saw me and turned away. I appreciated those who hugged me and said, ‘I’m praying for you.’”

Trusting God when we least understand is faith in action. Gentle comfort is given by those that put their arms around hurting people and say,

“I don’t understand either. But I love you and I am here to go through this with you.”

Romans 8:38-39 (NIV) promises, “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

One man said,

“I was comforted by those who walked with me in the church parking lot, who sat with me so I wouldn’t be alone in my regular pew, and who invited me to lunch on an otherwise lonely weekend afternoon.”

Time doesn’t heal the wounds of someone who has had to say good-by to a loved one. Time merely teaches us to live with that oversized, gaping hole in our life and heart. We can walk beside another through the journey of grief.

Ecclesiastes 4:10 (NIV) says, “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”

The first year after the loss of someone special is especially difficult. Holidays are a merciless reminder that life is forever altered. Comfort your grieving friend with flowers, a note, or a memorial gift in their loved one’s name on Valentines Day, Easter, Mother’s or Father’s Day, birthdays, wedding anniversaries, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Soothe the sorrow of the anniversary date that marks the loss with a phone call to say, “I’m remembering you today.”

Called to mirror Jesus Christ by being His hands to a hurting world, we help others by seeing and empathizing with their pain. God consoles us so we can show compassion to others.

For additional information on coming alongside someone experiencing loss and grief, read What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Say (Bethany House) and An Early Journey Home (Discovery House).

Effects of a Suicide Note

By Susan Osborn:

Occasionally, a suicide note such as Angie’s in the following story is left. Sometimes, it is a last attempt for vengeance. It appears Angie had probably been jealous of her sister for years—jealous of her good grades and desire to earn a college education. The note caused Carol to drop out of college and to go into a deep depression. Only God’s intervention can explain how Carol put her life back together again.

This story was taken from Too Soon to Say Goodbye: Healing and Hope for Suicide Victims and Survivors and used with permission by New Hope Publishers.

Image by Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Choices

Wanda J. Burnside

In one of my college classes, a girl kept staring at me. I couldn’t help but notice how thin and fragile she looked. I tried to make eye contact with her, but she always turned away. After a while, I decided to ignore her so I sat on the other side of the room.

One day after class, she stepped in front of me. Clutching her stack of books close to her chest, she said, “Hi! I’m Carol.”

“Hi! I’m Wanda,” I replied.

She smiled, then looked away.            

Hey, Wanda!” I heard someone call out, “Are you going to the student union with us for lunch?

I turned to see a group of my friends from class motioning to me. “Yeah, I’m coming,” I answered.

Go on,” said Carol. Don’t let me stop you.”

No. Please come with us. Let’s talk,” I said.

Well, I don’t know… she hesitated and then continued, I usually…

Wanda, come on and bring your friend,” said Charles.

So we ran to catch up with the others. My friends accepted Carol, and from that day on, she went everywhere with us. She transformed from someone painfully shy to someone outgoing. Everybody saw the difference in her. Even the professors made comments about her budding personality.

One day, a group of us decided to walk to a new restaurant across the street from the campus. As we reached the parking lot, up drove a shiny red convertible. “Carol!” shouted a pretty girl with flowing hair. She got out of the car. “Carol!”

Carol stood frozen with a look of fear and sheer desperation on her face. Her hands began to shake. Her eyes filled with tears, and for several moments she remained silent.

The other girl wore colorful, tight-fitting clothes that clung to her curves. Plus she had a beautiful, flawless, complexion.              

“Carol! Today’s my birthday! Remember? My friends are coming over tonight, and you promised to decorate for my party! Why are you here? I told Mama you’d ruin everything for me. You, your good grades, and your school!” she yelled.

This is my sister, Angie,” Carol softly said with tears rolling down her face. Excuse me, everyone.” Then they got into the car and drove away.

“Carol never mentioned her sister,” Charles commented. “They’re so opposite.”                       

“Angie is a fox, and Carol’s so skinny!” Terry laughed.           

“Hey guys. Stop! Carol is our friend,” said Barbara.     

Two weeks passed, and Carol had not returned to school. Several of us tried to phone her, but no one could reach her. We all wondered what happened.

One evening while doing my homework at home, my mother called me to the phone.

I listened to a distraught voice. “I’m Carol’s mom. My daughter…she died. Life isn’t the same without my beautiful daughter,” she cried.

“Carol died?” I asked.

Another voice came on the phone. “Hello, Wanda.”

“Carol. Carol, is it you? What is going on?”

“My sister, Angie…she killed herself. She drove into our garage, rolled up the windows, and left the engine running. She also left a long letter—one that blamed me. Angie said I had everything—friends, good grades, and a boyfriend.”

I couldn’t believe it. Angie, dead?

Shortly after our phone conversation, Carol dropped out of school. We later learned she was hospitalized for depression. None of us knew what to do. Carol’s absence created a void in all our lives.

A year later, Carol called me. “Hi, Wanda, this is Carol.”

“Carol,” I hesitated, “how are you?”

“I’m fine. I’m living in California and attending college. I’m also engaged.”

“Carol, you sound happy. I’m so glad for you.” I continued, “We’ve all missed you.”

“Yeah, Wanda, I miss all of you, too. You know, I turned to God. My sister’s jealousy and hatred caused me a lot of pain. Yet, I’ll always miss her. God helped me to accept the unacceptable. Angie chose to die. I choose to live.”

If you are depressed and contemplating suicide, there are a number of resources available as near as your telephone. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a free, 24-hour hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Your call will be routed to the nearest crisis center to you.

The Effect of Suicide on a Mother

By Susan Titus Osborn

 The effect of suicide on a mother who’s lost a child is complex; while grieving she puzzles over how–or  if–she could have prevented that loss.

 

Image "Heart Jigsaw Puzzle" by digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image “Heart Jigsaw Puzzle” by digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

If you are depressed and considering taking your own life, please stop for a moment and think of the effect suicide has on loved ones, your loved ones, who are left behind. The following story sums up the feelings of a mother and the devastating effect her son’s suicide had on her.

This story was taken from Too Soon to Say Goodbye: Healing and Hope for Suicide Victims and Survivors and used with permission by New Hope Publishers.

In this story Dr. Balodis, a Christian psychologist, was able to help a heartbroken mother who wondered if she’d ever feel whole again after her son’s suicide.

The Puzzle Pieces

by Dr. Jacqueline Balodis

The phone rang, and a hysterical voice on the other end cried, “I just found out that my son shot himself. How could God let him die?”

It took me a moment to pull my thoughts together to respond to her. Then I replied, “I’m so sorry. Brenda, why don’t you tell me exactly what happened?”

She took a deep breath. “My son was going to college and living with his grandmother in Illinois. I just received a call from Grandma. She had just returned home from a shopping trip. When she opened the door, her grandson’s golden retriever met her. The dog was shaking all over and looked distressed. Grandma knew something was terribly wrong and started walking through the house. When she reached Jim’s room, she saw him stretched out on his bed with a gun still gripped in his hand.”

Brenda started sobbing again. “I should have been a better mother. I shouldn’t have let him go to Illinois. He should have stayed in California with me. Where did I go wrong?”

“Brenda, I’m through seeing patients for the day, so why don’t I come over. I’ll be there in half an hour.”

I knew Brenda blamed herself for her son’s death. She also blamed God for letting it happen. On the drive over to her house, I prayed and searched for the right words to give this hurting mother.

Brenda greeted me at the door, and I hugged her, holding her in my arms for several minutes. We went into the living room and sat on the couch. I held her hand, and we were silent for several minutes. I realized my presence was what she needed more than anything.

Finally she spoke. “Why did he do this to me? Didn’t he know I loved him?”

I realized at this point that Brenda blamed her son as well as herself and God. I knew it was going to take a long time for her to work through the pain. Brenda came to my office twice a week for seven months.

Sometimes I let her pour out her feelings. Other times we sat in silence. Often there is strength in quiet solitude. Every session I gave her homework as we worked on various issues she needed to deal with. That way she could progress at her own speed. Ultimately I had her write a goodbye letter to Jim.

I could see that this was the beginning of her learning to forgive herself. The letter was filled with her good memories of special times she and Jim had shared together. The more she wrote, the more her love was strengthened for Jim and the more she grew herself—loving unconditionally, dealing with and erasing “what ifs,” and forgiving Jim.

During one session Brenda announced, “I understand now that Jim’s death is not my fault. I couldn’t have prevented it. More important, I don’t blame God anymore either.”

Finally, all the pieces of the puzzle came together. Once she forgave herself, her son, and God, her faith was again strengthened.

Although a mother may eventually be able to forgive herself and have her faith sustain her, and counseling indeed can help with that, grieving in many ways lasts a lifetime. The loss of a child usually causes recurring pain with each holiday, birthday, and many events that remind them of that lost son or daughter.

If you are depressed and contemplating suicide, please stop for a moment and think of the effect suicide has on loved ones, your loved ones, who are left behind.  There are a number of resources available as near as your telephone. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a free, 24-hour hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Your call will be routed to the nearest crisis center to you.

Copycat Suicide

By N.J. Lindquist:

Please don’t allow the suicide of someone you admire or care about to lead you to choose a copycat suicide.

 

Image from Wikipedia of Mindy McCready

Image from Wikipedia

When I read last week about the death of country singer, Mindy McCready, I can’t say I was surprised. I knew that her current boyfriend (the father of her 10-month-old son) had died only a few weeks earlier, and that his death was being looked on as a probable suicide. I have to admit that when I first heard of his death, I had a feeling in my gut that hers would be next.

As a fan of country music, I’ve long been aware of Mindy, and really enjoyed some of her songs, especially “Guys Do It All the Time.” But I was also aware of the roller-coaster life she’s led, including her upbringing and connection to a Pentecostal church; her graduation from high school at age 16; her move to Nashville to pursue her dream; and her relationship with married baseball pitcher, Roger Clemons (when she was 18 and possibly younger).

I was also aware of her parents’ divorces and remarriages; her various relationships with men; her two children, her battle with addictions and her earlier attempts at suicide. It almost seemed as if an early death would be the inevitable conclusion.

I feel so sorry for Mindy and her family, and in particular for her two young sons. But my greatest concern is that no one else will copy what she did.

I remember years ago meeting with a teenager I’ll call Debbie who had been cutting herself regularly for a long time, but had recently made several attempts to commit suicide. As we talked about Debbie’s life and her frustrations, she began to cry and whispered the name of a male singer who had recently died from what was being called suicide. Apparently Debbie was a huge fan, to that point that she idolized him, and she was feeling the need to follow him, even in this.

The fact that Debbie’s attempts at suicide hadn’t been successful told me that she probably didn’t really want to kill herself. But that doesn’t mean she couldn’t have succeeded. She was fortunate that her mother had been in the house each time and found her before it was too late.

As I believe was the case with Mindy, there were things in Debbie’s past that made her hate herself and her life—things that were at the root of the cutting and the spiral her life was in—things she couldn’t just push into a dark corner of her mind and ignore. But at this point, the impetus for her suicide attempts wasn’t as much about her personal issues as it was about the very real fact that her idol had done it.

The idea of killing yourself may not come from a celebrity; it might be because a partner or friend does it, as in Mindy’s case; or a family member.

If you’re thinking about committing suicide because someone else has done it, consider this: Your life is too important to become a footnote to someone else’s life.

What you can do:

  • Don’t keep your dark thoughts to yourself. Find someone you can talk to about how you’re feeling and why you feel a strong connection to the person who has died.
  • Look for positive things you could do to help the person’s family and friends deal with the pain suicide leaves behind.
  • Make a list of things you could do to help preserve the memory of the person who has committed suicide so that others will remember the good times and not just focus on the circumstances of the death.
  • If you continue having suicidal thoughts, see a doctor or a counselor and tell them exactly what is troubling you.

 

Forgiving Yourself for Words to a Suicidal Friend

By K. O.:

 It can be terribly difficult to forgive yourself for words you said to a suicidal friend–words you can’t take back. Here’s some helpful advice.

 

man sitting on the grass from mf

Image by Darnok

A friend of mine who I’ll call Skip confided in me that he had a hard time forgiving himself for words he said in haste that he now can’t take back.

A co-worker of his that he referred to as Brad continually expressed his desire to kill himself. Brad was unhappy in love and had problems at work and seemed unable to heal from depression and self-hatred.

Again and again, Brad told Skip, “I’m gonna do it. I will. Life is one big pit.”

Skip got sick of listening to Brad. They could never have a decent discussion about sports or women or politics. Brad was a one-line conversationalist. After repeated incidents, Skip blew up one day. “If you’re so committed to suicide,” he told Brad, “go ahead and do it, bro. I’m sick of listening to you. All you do is talk. In fact, I dare you.”

Skip went home that day and was immediately seized with guilt. How could he have lost control so easily? Didn’t he realize that his friend was emotionally ill and needed support, not cruel words? Skip called Brad a few times after that to apologize and invite him out for sushi, but Brad never returned his calls.

A month later Skip got the news. Brad had hung himself in the bathroom of his apartment. Skip felt responsible. If only he had kept his mouth shut. He knew Brad’s suicide wasn’t his fault. We each make decisions for our own lives. But still, if only he had helped Brad instead of baiting him. If you face a similar situation here is some helpful advice (condensed) from www.bandbacktogether.com.

  1. You will probably feel that you could’ve done something more to prevent the suicide, but that’s not the case. You cannot assume responsibility for the actions of another. PERIOD.
  2. Forgive yourself. The suicide is not your fault.
  3. Talk to a photo of the victim. It may help to articulate the things you’d wished you could say to the person and to apologize for what you did say.
  4. If your feelings of guilt are prolonged, seek professional help.
  5. Let the anger out. Chop wood. Scream. Hit a punching bag. Punch a pillow.
  6. Take your grief one day, one second, one moment at a time. You didn’t have a choice or any control over the suicide, but you DO have the choice to live through the aftermath. Choose to live.

And most important, ask God to help you forgive yourself for the words you can’t take back.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9 the Bible).

 

 

Suicide of a Brother: the Aftermath

By Karen Kosman:

The suicide of a brother is traumatic for siblings left behind. Here’s how God can help.

In the following story, my daughter Linda shares how the trauma of her brother’s suicide brought grief and pain. Wave after wave of emotions cascaded down on her, creating confusion. Linda isolated herself from the rest of the world with an overwhelming feeling of shame. How would she ever find happiness? Would God forgive her, let alone help her?

This story was taken from Too Soon to Say Goodbye: Healing and Hope for Suicide Victims and Survivorsand used with permission by New Hope Publishers.

Aftermath of my Brother’s Suicide, by Linda Goetz

restaurant stockimages  FDG netOne week after my brother’s memorial service, I pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant where I worked. I parked, then paused a moment beside my car, thoughts churning inside my head. This is my first day back to work. I can’t face anyone. I can’t tell them how Robbie died.

My heart skipped a beat. I don’t understand why this happened—why my brother took his own life. I’ll never see him again, and he’ll never again share special moments in my life. Echoing in my head over and over were the words: Robbie hung himself. I covered my ears, but the words would not be silenced, God, I feel awful. I don’t understand.

As I walked through the front door of the restaurant, chattering voices and smells from the kitchen greeted me. Nothing settled my aching heart, not even being in a familiar environment. I kept wishing I could turn around and run. But instead, I hurried to wait on customers.

I approached a table where a man sat smiling at me. I felt my resolve slipping away; and I burst into tears. I couldn’t answer this bewildered stranger who asked, “What’s wrong?”

Unable to tell any of my co-workers the source of my pain I turned and ran out of the restaurant.

I drove home, crying so hard I could hardly see. True, I felt ashamed. But behind my inability to deal with my brother’s suicide, fear dominated me. Growing up, I once heard a sermon by a minister who believed people who died by suicide did not go to heaven.

I wanted my life to change. I wanted to reach out and help others. The first step was to break up with my boyfriend of two years, a relationship that had only brought unhappiness. Next, I called home and asked, “Mom is it OK if I move home for awhile?”

“Of course you can,” she responded.

I began to understand no matter what you tell people, the facts don’t change, and the truth remains in your heart, mind, and soul.

I prayed for answers. I thought back to the times when my brother had been hospitalized, and we’d been told that he had a chemical imbalance. Gradually a little light began to shine on my fear and same. I realized that no one but God is capable of judging.

Once I reached a point where I could leave what happened to my brother in God’s hands, I began to accept what I could not change. I learned to cherish life more and searched my heart for new direction.

Looking back, I understand that God watched over me during those difficult years. He brought joy back into my life. Today, I teach at a local vocational college. I’ve been married for 27 years and have two beautiful daughters.

I feel a deep compassion for people whose lives have drastically been altered by the pain of suicide. Today I am finally free of my shame. In my bedroom I have a picture of my brother and me, when we were young. I look at it and smile as I treasure the special memories of Robbie.

Whenever I have an opportunity I encourage others never to give up on life.

 My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word. Bible Gateway:  Psalm 119: 28

How Suicide in the Family Hurts Loved Ones

By Susan Titus Osborn:

If you are depressed and considering taking your own life, please stop for a moment and think of how a suicide in the family hurts loved ones who are left behind.

 

This story was taken from Too Soon to Say Goodbye: Healing and Hope for Suicide Victims and Survivors and used with permission by New Hope Publishers.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /  FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The following story sums up the feelings of a mother and the effect her son’s suicide had on her.

In this story Dr. Balodis, a Christian psychologist, was able to help a heartbroken mother who wondered if she’d ever feel whole again after her son’s suicide.

It shows in a devastating way how a suicide in the family affects those left behind.

 The Puzzle Pieces

by Dr. Jacqueline Balodis

The phone rang, and a hysterical voice on the other end cried, “I just found out that my son shot himself. How could God let him die?”

It took me a moment to pull my thoughts together to respond to her. Then I replied, “I’m so sorry. Brenda, why don’t you tell me exactly what happened?”

She took a deep breath. “My son was going to college and living with his grandmother in Illinois. I just received a call from Grandma. She had just returned home from a shopping trip. When she opened the door, her grandson’s golden retriever met her. The dog was shaking all over and looked distressed. Grandma knew something was terribly wrong and started walking through the house. When she reached Jim’s room, she saw him stretched out on his bed with a gun still gripped in his hand.”

Brenda started sobbing again. “I should have been a better mother. I shouldn’t have let him go to Illinois. He should have stayed in California with me. Where did I go wrong?”

“Brenda, I’m through seeing patients for the day, so why don’t I come over. I’ll be there in half an hour.”

I knew Brenda blamed herself for her son’s death. She also blamed God for letting it happen. On the drive over to her house, I prayed and searched for the right words to give this hurting mother.

Brenda greeted me at the door, and I hugged her, holding her in my arms for several minutes. We went into the living room and sat on the couch. I held her hand, and we were silent for several minutes. I realized my presence was what she needed more than anything.

Finally she spoke. “Why did he do this to me? Didn’t he know I loved him?”

I realized at this point that Brenda blamed her son as well as herself and God. I knew it was going to take a long time for her to work through the pain. Brenda came to my office twice a week for seven months.

Sometimes I let her pour out her feelings. Other times we sat in silence. Often there is strength in quiet solitude. Every session I gave her homework as we worked on various issues she needed to deal with. That way she could progress at her own speed. Ultimately I had her write a goodbye letter to Jim.

I could see that this was the beginning of her learning to forgive herself. The letter was filled with her good memories of special times she and Jim had shared together. The more she wrote, the more her love was strengthened for Jim and the more she grew herself—loving unconditionally, dealing with and erasing “what ifs,” and forgiving Jim.

During one session Brenda announced, “I understand now that Jim’s death is not my fault. I couldn’t have prevented it. More important, I don’t blame God anymore either.”

Finally, all the pieces of the puzzle came together. Once she forgave herself, her son, and God, her faith was again strengthened.

If you are depressed and contemplating suicide, please stop for a moment. I hope this story has caused you to think about how suicide affects loved ones who are left behind.

There are a number of resources available as near as your telephone. See the numbers below for a free, 24-hour hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Your call will be routed to the nearest crisis center to you.

If you lost a family member to suicide, consider reading the book Too Soon to Say Goodbye. Request it at your local library, read more excerpts from this book here on our site, or download the Kindle (or Kindle for PC) version to read right away.

When a Parent Commits Suicide

By Karen O’Connor:

When a parent commits suicide, it impacts children for the rest of their lives.

 

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“A gunshot awakened our household when I was eleven years of age,” said Marie P.,  now in her 80s. “My father, in his late 40’s at the time and a good Christian man, had taken his life, leaving my mother, my four older siblings, two younger children and me behind.”

According to Marie, her dad was not a man who would do such a thing to his family. Some believed his action was the result of a brain tumor. “But that belief didn’t take away the sting of losing him in such a tragic way,” Marie added.

 “The next few years are mostly blank pages in my memory book, except for a dream-like image of people gathered around to view the body and pay their respects.” As Marie grew up she remembers missing the presence of her father at school plays, graduation, holidays, and later, her wedding.

“My older brother became a father-figure and along with my mother continued to run a large dairy farm and keep the rest of us in school. Our lives were never the same again. I missed hearing my father and mother singing duets while Mom played the organ, Dad’s playful rough-housing with my brothers, and the way my father and I held hands on our way to and from church.”

Marie’s mother once told Marie that she grew up too early, hadn’t really had a childhood.

“Following that tragic morning when my father committed suicide, apparently I demonstrated more maturity than my age would indicate,” said Marie. She believes her desire to make something of herself was driven by a need to make her absent father proud of her.

 Marie reminds people that “the stigma of suicide is an ever-lingering presence in the minds of those left behind. She encourages families to:

“observe those around you for  changes in behavior or personality. Seek professional help. Some drugs trigger changes that can lead to tragic results. Listen for hints of hopelessness or even periods of euphoria, which can indicate a solution has been found to their despair. Learn to be a good listener, encourage dialogue, show compassion.”

As an adult, Marie is now able to speak out when she feels her experience may help others.

 To those who may be considering taking their lives when they are in despair, Marie says with conviction: “You will be taking away their most precious possession–– your presence.”

Marie turns to God when faced with problems beyond her ability to solve. “I pray, ‘God, please handle this. I can’t.’ I then let go. He can’t help me if I’m in his way.”

“He will give his angels charge of you, to guard you in all your ways”

 Psalm 91:11 (the Bible).

View and share this excellent YouTube video from Joyce Meyer on trusting God when you don’t understand what is going on.

How to Help a Friend Who’s Lost a Loved One to Suicide

Helping a friend who’s lost a loved one from suicide can be difficult. Words can leave people encouraged, or unintentionally inflict additional pain.
But don’t let your fear of saying the wrong thing keep you from reaching out.

 

Image: David Castillo / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How we face a crisis often depends on what kind of support we receive. What not to do is as important as what to do when a friend has lost a loved one from suicide. Here are suggestions from people who have been there.

Don’t assume marriage relationships are fine. Two drowning people cannot save each other. In the case of a loss of a child, gently ask your friend how their marriage is holding up. You may be the one to help a grieving couple seek appropriate counseling.

Avoid clichés. “God must have needed another angel,” is not only unbiblical but reduces God to a needy, selfish deity. It’s better to say, “I’m sorry.”

Resist saying, “At least your loved one is in a better place.” Saying at least insults the griever by minimizing their pain.

* Listen if someone wants to talk about the loss, but never pressure. Leave the door open for conversation and reminiscing by asking, “How are you?”

Don’t think it’s too late to offer support. Grief can be a lengthy process. Long after others have moved on, you may be the perfect one to encourage someone who is still sad.

Don’t try to distract the griever by keeping them busy. Unless asked, don’t clean out articles that belonged to the one who died. Grief cannot be avoided; it must be walked through. And grief has its own timetable.

*Don’t say, “Call if I can do something.” They won’t. Instead, offer something practical. “I am going to the store. What can I pick up for you?”

 

PLEASE

PLEASE, don’t ask me if I’m over it yet.

I’ll never be over it.

PLEASE, don’t tell me she’s in a better place.

She isn’t here with me.

PLEASE, don’t say at least she isn’t suffering.

I haven’t come to terms with why she had to suffer at all.

PLEASE, don’t tell me you know how I feel.

Unless you have lost a child.

PLEASE, don’t ask me if I feel better.

Bereavement isn’t a condition that clears up.

PLEASE, don’t tell me at least you had her for so many years.

What year would you choose for your child to die?

PLEASE, don’t tell me God never gives us more than we can bear.

PLEASE, just say you are sorry.

PLEASE, just say you remember my child, if you do.

PLEASE, just let me talk about my child.

PLEASE, mention my child’s name.

PLEASE, just let me cry.

 

By Rita Moran

Compassionate Friends