I cannot begin to understand what you are going through, if the person you love died by suicide. I am not trained in the mental health field, so my words are purely opinion and observation. But this interview with my friend, Barb, whose daughter died by suicide gives us a first person outlook on this complex situation. She answered some common questions and shed light on what these dear folks go through.
1. What’s the overwhelming feeling you continue to to deal with?
“The feeling I deal with the most is knowing what all she isn’t here doing. She would’ve spoiled her nieces and nephews like crazy. I have to have talks with myself at times to avoid the would’ve could’ve should’ve merry go round to keep guilt at bay.”
2. What do you want people to know about loss, due to suicide?
“Suicide is not a selfish act. People have the disease of depression and just like cancer patients choose to stop treatment, depressed people stop treatment whether it’s pills, firearms etc to get out of pain.”
3. How did you get through the first few years? What was helpful, if anything?
“I spent a lot of time at her graveside. I would talk to her. I was very close to her and I understood her situation. I was the last person to talk to her. Talking to people about her was very helpful and therapeutic.”
4. Has the grief lessened, or how has it changed, after so many years?
“I don’t think you can measure grief. For me, grief changes over time.”
5. Were there any signs, looking back, that might have not been obvious at the time?
“There weren’t any textbook signs, but her completion was her 3rd try.”
6. What piece of advice or encouragement would you share with others who have experienced what you have?
“I would tell them that everyone grieves differently so don’t judge or expect others to grieve like you.”
7. Do you think there is a stigma surrounding suicide, and how does that make you feel?
“I think there still is a stigma, but if people would take the time to learn about it, I think some of that would change.”
8. What words, phrases, gifts, actions, etc., helped most when your daughter died?
“To young people:
If you hear someone talking about dying, you have 2 choices:
Say nothing, they kill themself and you live with guilt.
If you tell an adult and they get mad at you, you can handle possibly losing a friend, but at least they may still be living.”
If you or someone you love is showing signs that concern you, please reach out to the Suicide Prevention Hotline at
or go to this website: Lifeline