When someone you know and love dies by suicide, the journey through grief is long and painful.

Death is a fact of life and touches all of us at some point. But with suicide, the grief that loved ones face is very painful because unique feelings are combined with feelings of shock and trauma.

The unique feelings that result from a loved one’s death by suicide are complicated by unanswered questions. People will want to know "why?" the suicide occurred.

Suicide is also not well understood in our society.  Suicide can rip families apart because instead of receiving love and support, loved ones may actually face blame, judgment or silence and exclusion.

If someone you know dies by suicide, you may experience some or all of the following feelings:

  • Shock & Disbelief
  • Anger & Hopelessness
  • Abandonment
  • Depression and Sadness
  • Intense Pain
  • Loneliness
  • Guilt
  • Shame and Blame

These feelings are not unusual. 

Yes, the grief is overwhelming but you can and will survive. 

The following are ways to cope with your suicide grief:

  • Acknowledge that the death is a suicide and speak about your loved one
  • Acknowledge your feelings and your loss
  • Learn more about suicide and grief
  • Remember that you are not responsible for your loved one’s death by suicide
  • Don’t be afraid to talk to someone you trust
  • Avoid people who want to tell you how to feel
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help
  • Seek a support group.

The term "survivor of suicide" is commonly used to describe someone who has lost a loved one to suicide. The word "survivor" describes the painful journey of surviving the grief that follows.  A survivor can be anyone - a parent, child, partner, aunt, uncle, sibling, friend, neighbour, and colleague.

Some people prefer the term "suicide griever" fearing that the term "survivor" will be confused with someone who has "attempted" suicide.  There are no rules and you can use whatever term you wish.