What Nobody Says after a Death by Suicide
Five years ago, my brother committed suicide.
While every February 22nd has been hard since he passed away, five years seemed like a benchmark, a time to re-evaluate what is and was.
For the past five years, I’ve belonged to a family of three, and I am a sister to no one.
It’s taken a minute to get comfortable in this new skin, this new way of defining and describing myself, it’s also taken this long to truly understand and process the kind of grief that comes from a suicide.
Grief is a strange and many faceted monster.
Grief from suicide fills its own entire category.
Don’t get me wrong, the passing of any loved one will always be difficult; suicide-related grief is just different. On top of the sadness and loss, there are feelings of guilt, anger, bewilderment, confusion, alienation, shame, and more guilt. It took me a long time to find some semblance of closure. There was no note, so everything was left shrouded in mystery and unanswered questions. Any theory or reasoning we could come up with was purely supposition.
Five years later, I still have to deal with and process the pangs of grief I get randomly hit with, which has led me to reflect on how it has shaped the person I am today.
Looking back, if there was one thing I wished I had during the aftermath, it would be honesty and true connection with someone who had been in my shoes. I knew there were a handful of support groups and other resources I could take advantage of, however, I never felt comfortable participating in something like that. It wasn’t a platform that resonated with me.
Unfortunately, all my closest friends and family had never experienced a loved one committing suicide and they were at a loss as to what they could do or say. They were amazing, supportive, and compassionate, but unless they had experienced it firsthand, they just didn’t get it. I was getting sad looks, generic and stereotypical clichés of: “time heals all wounds” and “you’re strong, you’ll get through this.”