The holiday season can be especially difficult for those who have lost a loved one to suicide, as we face a number of emotions including sadness, guilt, anger and shame. I have found that many survivors think about their loved ones more frequently during this time as we are reminded that they are no longer with us. Survivors often feel conflicted not knowing if it is ok to feel happy during this time of year. I have written a few posts about the difficult grief process (found at the bottom of this post) that we face as survivors. I recently came across the article, “20 Things I Wish Someone Told me About Grief” on the Mind Body Green blog and wanted to share it. I have included the 20 things as written by the author, Shannon Kaiser in an effort to help those who may be struggling during the holidays after a suicide.
1. We don’t actually get over losses. We absorb them, and they redirect us into a more grounded way of living.
2. You’ll discover depths of your love you never knew existed.
3. Never regret loving the way you did. Love is always worth it.
4. People may say hurtful, stupid things. Don’t take it personally. They are often just trying to help.
5. There isn’t always a spiritual aha moment or a reason. Sometimes, it just is what it is.
6. Know you did the best you could with the time you had. Forgive yourself. There is nothing more you could have done or said.
7. Anger is normal. Feel it. Embrace it. Allow it to work through you.
8. Death brings out the best in families. It will also bring out the worst. Be prepared.
9. Losing a loved one might make you question your purpose and your own goals. That can be a beautiful thing.
10. You will find comfort in the most unexpected places.
11. Sudden bursts of emotion are part of the process. Allow yourself to be fully present in them.
12. There is no such thing as normal when it comes to grieving. Be patient and kind to yourself.
13. People will show you who they truly are. When times are tough you will see others true colors.
14. You will never go back to being your “old” self.
15. There is no timeline for grieving.
16. Losing a loved one reminds us of what matters most in life. Don’t lose perspective.
17. Experiencing great loss is an opportunity to drop the ego and live more from your heart.
18. Numbing the pain will make it worse. don’t procrastinate the process. Feel your feelings.
19. Your life was richer and more wonderful because of the love you had.
20. What feels like the end is often a new beginning.
Previous posts related to grief after suicide: