As a Mesa mortuary since 1951, Mountain View Funeral Home has helped many families honor their loved ones who have passed. For most, losing a family member is a difficult time, no matter what the circumstances. But, when a loved one’s loss is self-inflicted, family members have to deal with additional emotions that are understandably more stressful.
Losing a loved one to suicide is most certainly a shock. Survivors often deal with a wide range of reactions. Feelings can run the spectrum from sadness, anger, hurt, confusion, and denial. As with any grief, survivors can experience any or all of the emotions you can imagine. And these emotions can be felt in any imaginable order.
If you are a friend or loved one of a survivor of suicide, you may be at a loss for how to offer comfort and support. You may feel uncomfortable yourself and unsure of what to say or do to help. That is perfectly understandable, as well. But, we would like to offer a few thoughts to help you be there for the person who is deeply grieving.
Your natural inclination may be to try to empathize with your friend or loved one. While your intention is honorable, your effort may not be well received. The only exception to this might be if you have been a survivor yourself. But, even then, you cannot know exactly how the other person is feeling. So, tread lightly here.
You may also think that it would be helpful to try to try to talk your grieving friend or family member into feeling a different way. If they are angry, for example, you may believe that they shouldn’t feel the way they do. But, no matter what kind of emotion is experienced, it is important to remember that it is a natural feeling. People can be very angry that their loved one decided to take his or her own life. And, as mentioned previously, they can also feel sad, hurt, confused, or in disbelief. Getting through the emotions takes time.
So, if empathy and cheering up aren’t options, is it best just to say nothing at all? In some respects, the answer is yes. But that is only true to the point that you are trying to tell them something that they don’t want to hear. For the most part, survivors of suicide just want to feel that you are there for them, whether it is to listen or to just be there for comfort when they need it. It isn’t always easy to know what to do, but if you can take cues from the person who is grieving, that is a good start.
One last note: Many people think that survivors of suicide don’t want to talk about their lost loved one. This may or may not be the case, but talking about their loss can be cathartic and help with healing. You just need to offer help and let your loved one decide when he or she wants to accept it.
If you have further questions or need assistance with mortuary services, contact us at Mountain View Funeral Home.