When A Parent Commits Suicide

This article will give adults ideas and tips on how to deal with their parent's suicide.

Suicide is a nasty word. It is a very taboo subject, which nobody wants to talk about. When someone we know commits suicide, it is scary, and we can't understand it. The worst part about it is that it was preventable, the person chose to die, and they must have been very depressed and felt extremely hopeless to pick such a final decision. A lot of survivors of the suicide feel guilty: "Why couldn't I see it coming? What could I have done to stop them?" But the truth is, you can never know what is going on in someone else's head, and you can never know what someone is going to do. Even though most suicide victims do give clues, it may be coming for a long time and so you will never know when it will happen. And if they don't go into a mental hospital where they can be watched twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, it is really impossible to keep an eye on them all of the time.

It can be really hard for a child whose parent has committed suicide. When you are a child, your parents are always right, they are the all-knowing type that are there for you and you alone, they don't have their own life (in your eyes). They are the ones that protect you when you are scared and kiss your boo-boos. They aren't the ones that cause you such pain as a suicide and make you scared! And then sometimes they are.

What can an adult do that is still feeling the pain of losing a parent to suicide? There are some options.

-Talking to a counselor, and/or joining a support group can really help. Finding people who know some of your feelings and who have been through some of the things you have been through can be a great help.

-Writing in your journal can also really help. Make sure that you get all of your feelings onto the journal pages, so that they stay in your journal and not in your head.

-Write a letter to the parent that committed suicide. This can really help. It's especially hard on your wedding day, or the births of your children. Writing a letter announcing, "Daddy, I got married today!" might make you feel just a little bit better, as if you are sharing your joyous occasion with him in some way.

-Do something good for the community in the parent's memory. There are suicide hotlines that you can volunteer on. Help others who are going through this hard time that your parent went through. You might be able to stop someone else and their family from going what you went through, and that might heal you just a little bit, in some way.

-Don't ever think it's "weird" or "impolite" to grieve the person, and don't ever let anyone else tell you so! Even if your parent died fifty years ago, you will never forget them, and grieving is something that never ends--it might get easier with time, but it never totally ends. Cry if you are thinking about your parent and miss him. It's normal, and healthy for you, too.

-Get educated. Take a class on suicide or death and dying, or just read books on suicide. It can really help you see a lot about what your parent was feeling through his last days.

-Be there for your siblings if they need your support and/or help, especially if you are an older sibling! You're all in this together, and you could all use each other for support and love!

-Remember the person for the good times, and try not to concentrate on the bad times. Be realistic, but remember good memories are what's worth holding onto.

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