If you were to pass on a message to others who have lost a loved one to suicide, what would it be? Why?

You may have to follow many paths before you find a way that honours the memory

  • You might go through anger, get angry at the world: humankind is all out of touch, but you can’t fix that.

  • My brothers were people and I loved them. They gave me good things and I carry them with me.

  • We are taught to have control in life, and we can’t.

  • With your own child, it becomes very personal: I would not let others have ownership of your memories and life of your child.

  • This would have happened no matter what I would have said or done. It is bigger than a psychiatrist’s number, or a crisis call. It’s about a lifetime, built up over years. I don’t think anyone understands the full psychology of losing hope.

  • I would say talk about it in terms of the whole person, the whole relationship, not just the suicide.

  • I would say embrace the memories of your loved one; embrace the person, the values they had. Bring them into your life; celebrate the relationship with them, and acknowledge and accept that they were a very special person for you: that you did your best to show them your love, and that they loved you too.

  • You may have to follow many paths before you find a way that honours the memory – in your way – of the person who is gone. Eventually people imply that you ‘should get over it’. Some do this quite soon, as has been well-documented. But some people close to you may eventually hint at or say the same thing. There is not the conception, or at least it is not widely held, of honouring the memory in a way that is particular, near and familiar to the one who is grieving.

  • If I were to pass on a message to others who have lost a loved one by suicide, it would be to know that it’s okay to have this as part of your life. It’s okay to be different than others you know. You may want to seek out others who have been similarly affected and talk about it. Know that whatever you feel is understandable and that the range of feelings may be wider and stronger than for many in mourning. There are differences to being suicide bereaved than other bereavements. Confusion and mess of feelings is normal. Nothing anyone else did is a reflection on you – it really is true that they would want you to be happy, and you’re allowed to get on with your life without them and be happy.