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When someone you know and love dies by suicide, the journey through grief can be long and painful.
Death is a fact of life and touches all of us at some point. However, with suicide, the grief that a loved ones face is very painful because unique feelings are combined with feelings of shock and trauma.
The unique feelings that result from a loved one’s death by suicide are complicated by unanswered questions. People will want to know “why” the suicide occurred and the “what ifs”.
Suicide is also not well understood in our society. Suicide can rip families apart because instead of receiving love and support, loved ones may actually face blame, judgment or silence and exclusion.
These feelings are not unusual.
The term “survivor of suicide” is commonly used to describe some who has lost a loved one to suicide. The word “survivor” describes the painful journey of surviving the grief that follows. A survivor can be anyone – a parent, child, partner, aunt, uncle, sibling, friend, neighbor and colleague.
Some people prefer the term “suicide griever” fearing that the term “survivor” will be confused with someone who has “attempted” suicide. There are no rules and you can use whatever term you wish.