I do understand anger as it relates to suicide.
I didn’t feel very angry but I do know that Richard, my oldest son did.
I wrote this article on The Mighty and in one of the comments, Marie states how angry she is that her husband killed himself and left her to raise two children.
I would never try and invalidate her feelings and I can understand why she feels the way she does.
Then Diane, one of the followers here, sent me a note about being angry that her mom killed herself when she was 8. She is currently in her 50s and still trying to work through those feelings
I cannot even fathom growing up without a mom, one of the most essential and loving beings in our lives. I can’t imagine raising my two children by myself after their father died by suicide and having to help them struggle with their insurmountable grief.
That has to be exceptionally difficult and those in this situation have to have felt abandoned and unloved– as if you were not worthy of your loved one sticking around.
But from what I know, it has nothing to do with you, the survivor, and everything to do with the person that took their life and their state of mind and what their irrational brain was telling them.
I think in both cases, the parent thought their family and the world would be better without them. They had gotten lost in that deep black hole in their soul and lost all hope.
And the finger pointing within families following a suicide?
I hear that from time to time. Families want to blame someone for the loss and “the blamed” is left without the love and emotional support of that family in addition to the insurmountable grief.
Families are fractured by it.
Suicide can be so divisive.
Looking at it from the suicide survivor point of view
I have come to understand from the messages I get from those ashamed of their suicide attempts or their suicidal thoughts, that brain chemistry is more to blame than we ever knew.
The suicidal thoughts often frighten them and they don’t know what to do or where they come from. Often, if they have survived a suicide attempt, they are as shocked and confused as we are. And then there is the shame to deal with on top of all that. There is a lot of shame with suicides.
They confess they never thought of how others would feel if they died, how their family and friends would suffer from their death, or even care at all. They just want to end the relentless pain.
But we do love them. So we need to talk about mental illness and suicide and we need to let them know how we would feel if they died.
Should you let go of your anger?
That’s entirely up to you.
I was angry at times but clearly my circumstances were different than Diane’s or Marie’s. But allowing yourself to let go of negative feelings and make peace with what has happened is such a release.
Forgiving doesn’t mean it’s OK. It just means you are finding peace and acceptance.
Just ask yourself, “Is holding onto that anger doing anything for me?”
If you are angry over the suicide of a loved one, I hope you find peace. I imagine it’s not something you achieve overnight like the rest of this complex journey. So much to work through.
Thank you Diane for writing me and inspiring this post.