The future

The future

The length of time people take to mourn the loss of someone they have been close to varies very much from person to person. Some things such as sadness at the death and missing the lost person will probably never go away completely but the pain gets much less with time. An important part of the process of rebuilding life again seems to be accepting that the death really has happened and the person is not coming back. This can take a long time but helps people to get some of their very difficult feelings, such as anger and guilt, into perspective. Gradually the things which were good about the person when they were alive can start to be important, as well as their death.

Many people find that although life is never the same again there does come a time when they can pick up the threads of their own lives and begin to enjoy living again. Although the loss of a friend or relative through suicide is always a terrible tragedy, some people find that they have been changed in positive ways by the experience. They may appreciate life more and be more attentive to others' feelings. Small reminders and memories can bring all the feelings of grief flooding back; anniversaries and birthdays can be particularly difficult times.

When things seem very bleak it is important to live from day-to-day but remember that things will change in the future and that help is available if needed. I had thought that your death was a waste and a destruction. A pain of grief hardly to be endured. I am only beginning to learn that your life was a gift and a growing and a loving left with me. The desperation of death destroyed the existence of love. But the fact of death cannot destroy what has been given. I am learning to look at your life again instead of your death and your departing.

Each person's story will be different, and help must be offered in ways which recognise and support the uniqueness of each person's grieving. Not all those bereaved by suicide will want to seek support outside their close family and social network. Family and friends may provide all the support that is needed or a neighbour, teacher, priest or minister may step into a supportive role, listening and 'being there' whenever needed. But for others the death of a loved one will mean there is less support around.

At a time when relatives and friends become absorbed in their own grief, usual sources of comfort and support may be diminished. For many, the stress and trauma of grief means that additional help is needed. A range of professionals and non-professionals provide help for the bereaved. Possible sources of support are described below.