Guilt in Survivors After Suicide of a Loved One

By Deborah Lovett:

Left Behind: Do you feel guilt after the loss of a loved one to suicide?

Guilt in Survivors after Suicide of a Loved One

 

After my sister took her own life, the worst thing I had to deal with, besides the grief of losing my best friend, was the guilt I felt. If you are contemplating or thinking about suicide, you should read this article so you know what the aftershocks are to people you love, and who love you, whether you know they do or not.

If you have had someone in your life who has taken his or her own life and you are dealing with the survivors’ guilt, then read on.

The Bible says that the enemy comes to steal, lie and destroy. That is his only plan. He will do whatever it takes, and he is ruthless at it. If he succeeds at targeting a certain person into destroying their own life, his next plan is to succeed at their family through what is called “survivors guilt.” Suicides are “clustered” in a family for this very reason. Therefore, it is important to know and be informed in order to prevent the enemy from taking any more lives than he already has. The saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is correct.

The thing with survivors’ guilt is this: We are each responsible for ourselves to God. Yes, we are to help one another. So yes, there might have been something else you could have done or said, but you are not responsible for the outcome of someone else’s life. That is why we need a Savior. Jesus is the One who saves. Also remember, you can only give a person as much help as they are willing to accept.

I helped my sister by driving her around, praying with her, advising her, giving her money, giving her furniture to start a new life, praying for her, and loving her. Yet, after her death, I felt like I should have done more, I missed something, it was my fault, or in a word: guilty. Why? Because it is the devil’s plan. Again, he is strategic and he is relentless, he will use whatever ammunition you give him.

The great thing about the Holy Spirit is He is relentless too. He will come to comfort you and give you wisdom and guidance if you are walking in step with Him.

He brought me a verse after my sister’s death when I was dealing with the feelings of guilt that were both agonizing and completely paralyzing. The verse is found in 2 Corinthians 7:10 and it says:

 “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”

I knew that my sister had a worldly sorrow that had brought death, and that I needed a Godly sorrow, a repentance for whatever I thought, felt or knew I had done or not done in regards to her death in order to find freedom. Jesus Christ died for our sins, past, present and future, those we did, think we did, or have been condemned by others into believing we did.

Christ has risen. We can have a new life with Christ that frees us from being someone else’s savior, including our own. We truly can celebrate resurrection and renewal every day of our lives!

If you are contemplating or thinking about suicide today, or have survivor’s guilt, remember why Jesus came: to save us from our sins, and to bring a true freedom from sin~ so that we can LIVE!

For help with guilt in survivors after suicide of a loved one, click here to read this free online book (PDF format):  SOS: A Handbook for Survivors of Suicide, by Jeffrey Jackson at suicidology.org.

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If depressed and suicidal, get help by dialing the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a free, 24-hour hotline. IF IN IMMEDIATE DANGER of harming yourself or someone else, please call 911.1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or (in Spanish)
1-877-SUICIDA (1-877-784-2432).
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Our blog, Thinking About Suicide, offers personal stories and prayers from those who have overcome the urge to commit suicide or lost someone to suicide. We also list resources related to depression, bullying, cutting and other mental health related topics or news.
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Use our SEARCH box at the top of the page to find articles on specific topics. Our authors hope to encourage you and remind you that others in situations like yours have found hope and help. We hope and pray you do too. However, we also encourage you to get local help if you are suicidal: call a counselor or the suicide prevention hotline to connect personally with someone who can help you.

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