by Father Arnaldo Pangrazzi, International Coordinator for ministry for the Order of St. Camillus
The suicide of someone you care about is a devastating tragedy. It happens in the best of families and to the best of people, shattering the lives of the shocked survivors.
As you mourn the death of your friend or loved one, you probably feel a sense of betrayal. You have invested years of caring, loyalty, and patience with the deceased. Suddenly you are abandoned and rejected. Perhaps you have had such thoughts as, “How could she do this to me?”, “Couldn’t he think about the children?” Because you are bewildered by what has happened, you search for whys. A message left may help interpret what went on in the person’s mind before the suicide. Yet the painful questions remain: “Why did he do it?” “Was she angry at me?”
You may also be filled with guilt, for suicide seems like not just a loss but also an accusation. You may feel that somehow you did not love enough, or that your relationship was not good enough. You keep rehearsing all the, “if onlys”; “Why didn’t I realize how sick she was?” “If only I had been home on time.”
Recovery from suicide of someone close is a monumental task, for the process of mending a broken heart is painful and slow. The road to recovery requires you to accept your feelings, to draw from your inner resources, and to develop positive attitudes toward the past, present, and future. The journey of healing starts with small steps leading from darkness to hope, from death to a renewed commitment to life.
Suicide leaves deep scars on the survivors. But there is no turning back. You cannot change what had happened. You can, however, change your outlook‐ from backward to forward, from death to life.