After Suicide

What To Say

After Suicide

For those who want to reach out to a family who has just lost a family member to suicide.

  • Walk gently.
  • Everyone mourns differently.
  • Be aware of their needs.
  • They may want visitors. They may not.
  • Gifts at the doorstep are always touching.
  • Money for funeral expenses always needed.
  • Messaging: Send short love notes. Don’t expect replies. Send messages that don’t require a response.
  • Don’t ask what you can do. The only thing they want is their loved one back. Anything and everything else doesn’t matter.
  • If you do visit, let them talk. Sitting in silence is okay.
  • If you know them well, hold their hand. Touch is powerful.
  • Remember, nothing makes sense to them.
  • If you bring food, do so in disposable containers. Make sure you know if they are allergic to anything. Frozen meals are good too but even putting something in the oven will be difficult if not Impossible.
  • By all means, do not tell them you understand unless you’ve had a loved one complete suicide because you don’t. Your love is enough.
  • Don’t tell them that their loved one wouldn’t want them to be sad. Oh for heaven’s sake don’t go there!  You don’t know what their loved one wants and they are faced with the most painful reality that they don’t either.  The last think they need to hear from you is that you know their loved one better than they do. They’ll get there, eventually.
  • Don’t tell them that God will forgive them. It’s just insulting.
  • Don’t tell them everything will be okay. All they know is now. And now is not okay.
  • They are in shock. Thankfully.
  • Do their dishes. And if you know them well, do their laundry.
  • If appropriate, hold their hand or hold them.
  • Allow them to cry.
  • They have the hideous task of planning a funeral. The timing is awful. Yet, it has to be done. They can use rides and support.
  • Just love them.
  • Be gentle.

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