Grief following suicide sucks doesn’t it? I mean nobody really wants to lose anyone they love, rather it is by natural causes or some tragic manner like suicide. But it happens. Death is a part of life. After I lost my father, I was taken on a journey that I never saw coming. I am a planner; someone who likes predictability. Natural death, while extremely sad, is predictable. When I lost my grandmother, a woman who I spent my life admiring, I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness. I did not want to say, “goodbye” to this woman who meant so much to me. Yet I did. I let her go, I mourned her loss, and I moved on. So, why was this much harder after the loss of my father? I attribute much of it to the predictability of her death.
Predictable deaths are very different than unexpected loss, While the pain is often one in the same, the journey is much different. Unexpected loss throws potholes, barriers, and speed bumps on what already is a pretty bumpy road. It often takes longer to get to our destination as we try to maneuver our way through. We will hit potholes; ones large enough to even pop a tire. We might be stuck on the side of the road for awhile, but eventually the tire is changed and we can keep moving forward.
I use this analogy to try and offer hope to those who have struggled with grief following suicide. I want you to know that as a survivor, I understand how difficult that journey can be. I know the obstacles that are often placed in the way. While we cannot predict where they are, or when we will hit one, we can mentally prepare for them. We can have hope that moving over this obstacle will help us get through the next one with more efficiency and less pain. I don’t believe that my grief journey will ever end, because my dad is no longer living. I will always feel a sense of loss and sadness, because it hurts that he is no longer here. We often look at our journey with a mindset of, “when will it end?” Maybe the road doesn’t end. Maybe it just gets a lot smoother.