An Ask BR on the Path through Grief after a Suicide

Hi,

Could you please share if you have content specific to grief? My daughter's best friend (13) committed suicide.

The mother is also my best friend. I’m looking for other ways to help them both through the grief process.

With gratitude, Julie


Julie,

So sorry. That’s about as rough as it can get. My sincere condolences. I often think that all it takes is just a few moments of profound despair that feel endless and insurmountable, and a kid or an adult can take action that can’t be taken back – it can be very sudden and impulsive – a random convergence of circumstances that make it possible – or a long-held secret plan - and there lies the anguish and all the ‘if only…’ talk in our heads.

As you know, this will not be an easy journey. It will take a lot of time, and still this event will be a life-marker from here on out. There will be a Before this and an After this.

I hope your friend, your daughter, and all who need it will seek support in the forms that best suit. There are many national support groups for suicide survivors, and rightly so – this is a uniquely devastating kind of loss, and group members share a singular bond that can facilitate healing as little else. National organizations like Alliance of Hope, SAVE, Mending the Soul, and others can help you find a group in your area.

Therapy or pastoral counseling for an individual, or a couple or the whole family – can be hugely helpful. There are great books for those who do best with reading – the A to Z Healing Tool Box by Susan Hannifin-McNab is a favorite we recommend all the time.

I have 5 suggestions for specific imagery.

First, Healthful Sleep by yours truly, and Self-Compassion during Sleep by Traci Stein, because peaceful hours of sleep are going to be hard to come by, and suicide always brings with it some harsh self-recrimination about what survivors “should” have done to see it coming and prevent it. This is the stuff that keeps us up at night.

We have Ease Grief, guided imagery for simple, straightforward grief, loss, and bereavement. The timing for when people are ready to feel their feelings is very individual and unique – some get great benefit from this imagery right away; for others, who are in a numb state and need to stay there a while, this imagery is likely to make them cry and feel the loss, even as they’re taking comfort from the images, so they may not want to listen to this right away. Each person’s timing must be respected, and they are the best judges for their own readiness.

There is also imagery for Heartbreak, Abandonment & Betrayal, and in some ways this audio targets key elements embedded in the unique pain that comes with suicide. And it calls upon the ancestors – the power of the whole tribe – to come to the aid of the survivor. At some point – again, we can never be sure when, because it’s the survivor’s call – this can be very helpful.

And because this is a traumatic event to all left behind, our Healing Trauma imagery offers deep healing, also when the time is right.

And since I’m recommending so many audios as options, each with its own contribution (and I didn’t even mention our Anger & Forgiveness or Depression imagery, or Emmett Miller’s Accepting Change & Moving On, or Bodhipaksa’s How to Stop Beating Yourself Up!!) I suggest you save your budget and just get the Health Journeys App for yourself or your friend. That way you’d have everything I’ve suggested and 245 other meditations for far less than paying for them individually. Or maybe try one first, see if you find it suitable, and then decide.

Either way, I wish you and your friend and your daughter and everyone else touched by this tragedy compassion, healing, and hope.

Belleruth