NEXT STEPS

BURIAL ARRANGEMENTS
Print a list of what needs to happen in the next few days to make arrangements for your loved one

DEATH CERTIFICATE
This will be important for you to be able to take care of the deceased person’s affairs

PERSONAL BELONGINGS
Advice on when to remove and distribute the deceased person’s belongings

SUPPORT FOR THE DAYS AHEAD
The days ahead may become lonely once the service is over and all the family members have gone home

Loss by Suicide

Suicide may be one of the most difficult losses to navigate. Family and friends are left asking why? What brought them to that dark place? Was it a quick and sudden decision or had they been planning it for quite a while? PTSD? Depression? Anxiety? Divorce? Financial pressures? Why didn’t they reach out and seek help? Those left behind feel a sense of guilt because they didn’t see the signs or know how to help. Lingering confusion takes place as they begin to process all the mixed emotions of guilt, anger, hurt and despair.

If you were the one who discovered your loved one, there is one more jolt to the core of your emotions. Chances are you have been through a police interrogation, while attempting to process what just occurred. You may feel like the police are looking at you as the cause of the passing while you are in shock. The police are doing their job and following protocol, but it feels cold and hurtful. It is an unpleasant experience and catches the survivors off guard.

We understand all the mixed emotions. We have asked all the questions. We have experienced the waves of grief that go along with the sudden loss by suicide.

Once the police have documented the situation and freed you up to really think about what just happened, the next few days will be filled with decisions that nobody really wants to make. 

You will need to determine what area of town you want to have the funeral or “Life Celebration” and if you want to have a visitation for your loved one. We have provided a zip code locator for funeral homes so that you can see what’s in your area of town. You can also choose to have a “Celebration of Life” somewhere other than a funeral home. Some people have a gathering in their home, a park or a rentable space, so know that’s an option. Especially if cremation is the decision.

We have developed a comprehensive list of things for you to think about as you navigate planning the funeral. Please print out the Funeral Planning Checklist and read it over. If you, or someone you trust, feels like talking through these items with you, that would be good so you are not blind-sided when you get to the funeral home. We know it’s tough to even get out of bed at this point and, unfortunately, you have to now figure out how to honor your loved one.

The obituary announcement will also need some thoughtful consideration. Most newspapers charge by the word count and if you wish to include a photo, there may be an additional charge. Here is our Obituary Outline Worksheet to help you think through what you want to include.

Most funeral homes will do a great job of providing loving care for you once they know about your loss. They can help you create a unique and personalized memorial service for your loved one. If you have any questions, please Contact Us or call us at (502) 791-9938.

The death certificate is yet another shockwave — a paper confirmation that in fact your loved one has passed. No one can prepare you for opening this document and presenting it to all the places that will require a copy. Make sure you order several certified copies to be able to take care of your loved one’s affairs.

For example, if your spouse passed, you will need to present the death certificate to any and all financial institutions in order to make changes to the accounts you shared. If your spouse was still employed, you may be required to present a copy in order to claim their remaining pay and benefits. Life insurance, mortgage company, and the attorney probating the Last Will and Testament are a few other groups that will require a certified copy as well.

There are three ways you can obtain certified copies of a death certificate:

  1. The funeral home you’re working with can get certified copies on your behalf.
  2. You can order certified copies from a third-party company.
  3. You can order the copies yourself from the state in which the person died.

Kentucky Vital Records issues certified copies of Kentucky death certificates for events which occurred in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. You may order copies through VitalChek.

Copies of death certificates may only be issued to immediate family members or to persons with a legal right to the certificate.

We have provided advice on what to do with personal belongings depending on the person who passed. Please see the different silos (loss of child, parent, spouse, friend) under “How We Help” in the menu and read our recommendations for what to do with your loved one’s belongings. If you have any questions, please call us at (502) 791-9938 or reach out to us via our Contact Us form.

You are now on a new and unexpected journey that you don’t want to take. As you begin to walk the difficult path, learning to cope with the anger and despair is daunting. Please don’t go it alone.

Below are suggested ideas to help you take the steps to move forward with your life:

    • Reach out to a trusted friend or family member and share your heart and thoughts. (If you don’t have a trusted companion, friend or family member, we are here for you.)
    • Join a grief group specific for suicide survivors.
    • Read books and magazines on the subject when you are ready. 
    • Speak to a counselor. Call First Hour Grief Response for recommendations or one-to one assistance.  
    • Listen to podcasts. 
    • Take care of yourself. Eat well. Exercise. Stay hydrated. Rest.
    • Journal your thoughts.
    • Blog or look for bloggers sharing their experience.
    • Try prayer and meditation.
    • Create special ways to remember your loved one.

It is important to face the grief and work through it step by step. Try balancing quiet moments processing the aftermath of your loss and surrounding yourself with loved ones. Isolation and ignoring the grief isn’t helpful. Our hope is that you will find specific healthy outlets that help you heal and regain the joys of life.

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