Grieving the Suicide of Family Members

By PeggySu Wells:

At a family reunion, we grieved the suicide of family members, causing two people to be permanently missed.


Does this symbolize your own broken “family tree”? Who will be missed at your own family reunion?

Last weekend was our annual family reunion. Because of the suicide of family members, there were two important people missing. Because of suicide, several of the people in attendance were deeply hurt, and all of us were affected.

My cousin is two years older than me, and the most beautiful girl I know. When we were kids, her dad committed suicide. Today my cousin is a grandmother, and we still do not know why her father took his life. It was a shock. His wife and my cousin never recovered.

Last year, like his grandfather before him, my cousin’s son took his life. Very calculated, he did this in a fashion that his mother would be the one to find him. It devastated her on many levels. As the days go by, she merely learns to live with the gaping hole in her heart. Life for her is forever altered.

I cannot begin to fathom what these two men were thinking that led to their decisions. Her father. Her son. But from an outsider’s view, I see this as a selfish act because of the sad impact these choices wrought on those left behind. The close loved ones. The wives and mothers who loved these men.

When they thought about suicide, was this the legacy they wanted to leave on their family? Is this what they envisioned the family tree would look like for their children?

Suicide doesn’t appear to have been the answer to any problem. To have solved anything. Suicide certainly has proven to cause generations of unanswered questions, family members left feeling abandoned and shamed, and an unquenchable sadness that blankets their hearts.

We can learn from the experience of others. Perhaps this father and this son believed their situation was dire. Unfixable. Without alternatives. Yet, today their family members live at a different address, in a different state. Settings and people change.

I understand that suicide may be filling your thoughts. And there are other options. Please make a choice that is healthy for you and for those around you. Get the help you need. People are available to support you through the rugged times. The number for the suicide hotline is 1-800-784-2433.

(I Believe, Help Thou My Unbelief by the Gaither Trio in their studio)