You’re Not Alone
Grieving suicide loss is a complex journey filled with many emotions in our hearts and minds.
All the natural feelings of grief are mixed with questions that may never be answered and stigma around mental illness and suicide. This makes the disbelief, anger, fear, sadness, guilt, and confusion that can accompany any loss that much harder to bear. You may also feel alone in your grief because suicide is misunderstood and not often talked about.
The truth is, suicide is a leading cause of death that can affect anyone. It could be a friend, parent, partner, sibling, cousin, coworker, mentor, aunt, uncle, child, even a celebrity whose life seems “perfect.”
This page is meant to support you in your grief.
What You're Feeling Is Grief
You can’t compare grief. You can only move through it.
Losing someone to suicide often causes complicated and conflicting feelings. The sadness, guilt, confusion, and anger we feel after a suicide loss are normal, okay, and a natural part of grieving. The stigma around suicide doesn’t lessen your grief. If anything, it makes it more complex. Give yourself the space you need to process the loss of this person in your life and the permission to have the full experience of grief.
Living After Suicide Loss
You probably feel guilty (even if everyone says it wasn't your fault - which it wasn't. You didn't cause this to happen. Suicide is very complex.).
There's an endless list of what if questions you could ask.
You may never know why.
Grief isn't linear.
You healing journey is unique to you.
You May Never Understand Why
After a suicide loss, you may feel preoccupied with unanswerable what if's. You may replay interactions with the person in your mind or stay up all night trying to figure out warning signs you missed. These what ifs often come with sadness, confusion, and guilt. Guilt is a normal part of the grieving process, not a sign that you are to blame. You may never understand why this happened, no matter how hard you try to put yourself in their shoes. It isn’t easy, but with time, you can reach a place of acceptance that you may never know the “why” behind this loss.
Insights From a Suicide Attempt Survivor
It's Okay to Talk About It
Share Your Story of Loss
Suicide is something don’t like to talk about as a society, but talking can create connection, understanding, and hope. Share your story of loss with someone that you trust, whether that’s someone close to you, a therapist, or a supportive community for suicide loss. When others hold space for you and your story, it can soften the pain of grieving.
People all over the world have lost someone to suicide. Read their stories or find a supportive community that resonates with you:
If many people in your life have been affected by the same loss, you may be hesitant to reach out to avoid overwhelming them with your feelings. Reaching out can offer both of you support, validation, and connection.
Tips for Grieving Together
Everyone Grieves Differently
Even when you’re grieving the same loss, your grief won't look the same. Let yourself grieve the way you need to and at your own pace. Give others the space to do the same.
When your family, friend group, or community is grieving the same loss, you may not be able to meet each other’s needs all the time. Give yourself and others permission to communicate honestly about their boundaries.
Nurture Your Relationships
Grief can be all-encompassing and may make feeling close to others seem impossible. Be patient with yourself as you make time to listen, talk, and spend time with the people in your life.
Healing Doesn’t Mean Your Love Is Less
It’s Okay to Heal
You may have mixed feelings about healing after a suicide loss. You may want to feel better but also feel guilty in your desire for relief. Sometimes, grieving can seem like your only way to prove your love or honor the pain your loved one was in. Healing doesn’t mean you’re grieving, loving, or honoring them any less. It means you’re finding your way to acceptance of your loss.
Support Your Healing
Rest, Move & Nourish Your Body
Grief impacts your whole body and requires a lot of energy. It can affect sleep, appetite, and even your immune system. Your body will tell you what it needs. Listen. When self-care is hard, ask for help or find one way to make it easier.
Find Simple Comforts
Give yourself simple moments of comfort in the day. Take an extra-long shower, wear fuzzy socks, cook a favorite meal, listen to comforting music, talk a short walk, open the windows, or play with your dog.
Let Yourself Experience It
Give yourself the time and space you need to feel your feelings and work through your thoughts. Journaling, guided meditation, prayer, time in nature, or any way you like to practice self-reflection can help.
Calm Your Body to Help It Process Grief
Self-Care For Nighttime Grieving:
Your body does it's healing work at night.
Grief is a full-body experience.
Name what you're feeling.
Tell yourself, "This is grief, and I am safe right now."
Give yourself a bedtime and morning routine.
Listen to your body throughout the day.
Practice Box Breathing
Take a 15-Minute Break
Honor Your Healing Journey
Healing Is Personal
Give yourself permission to have a journey that is unique to you. Some people find it healing to surround themselves with loved ones while others find solitude more healing. Some feel called to join suicide prevention organizations or participate in an Out of the Darkness Walk [link], while others prefer to keep their story and their grief private. Whether you continue the activities you shared with someone you’ve lost to suicide, celebrate special anniversaries, or create new traditions is up to you and what you find healing.
Life After Loss
Grief evolves with time. At some point may feel like living again, but differently. Life after loss can take many new forms. How you see your world and the people in it, how you take care of yourself, and the memories you have of someone you’ve lost to suicide will all change through the grieving process. Honor your personal journey and what you find healing.