Almost 2 years ago I lost my only sister, my big sister, to suicide. It is such a taboo subject. Nobody wants to talk about it for fear of upsetting those left behind. I am writing this to ask that those of you who know someone who has been through this terrible ordeal, think twice and don’t let your friends suffer alone. The first few weeks people asked me a lot if I was okay. Of course I wasn’t, but that is not what they wanted to hear so I said I was fine. Please take some time out of your busy lives to spend with those who have been left behind. A short visit, a shoulder to cry on, share some happy moments that you remember. The worst thing you can do is act as if nothing has happened.. I know life goes on but for some people, when they lose a family member this way, it takes a long time for things to return to normal. Some take a few weeks, others take years. Don’t forget to keep checking on them. If it is uncomfortable for you to talk about, just imagine how hard it is for the person who lost a loved one. The more we discuss suicide, the easier it will be and the more we acknowledge others pain, the better they will be and the faster they will heal. The emptiness does not simply just go away. Speak their name, share your stories, show your friends that you care and that you are there for them, even if it is difficult. Trust me, it is much more difficult to be the one left alone. We do not need ‘time alone to heal’. We need people around us who care, and who show that by being there during the hard times. We need ongoing support, not just a 5 minute phone call once a week for the first few weeks and then nothing. it is easy to think people are coping okay when you are not in touch often. Stay in touch, make sure they are okay. And don’t fall for the ‘it’s ok, i’ll be fine’ line that you are given. We, the survivors, are not fine, we just say that to make it easier for you. The ones suffering the most are the ones who don’t want to bother others with their’ downer’ stories. We don’t want to repeatedly sound sad, but we are, even when we say other wise. Trust your instincts. If you feel you need to visit a friend who has lost a loved one, then go and visit. It is not an intrusion. It is a welcome respite from sitting alone and thinking, thinking thinking. Show that you care and continue to show that you care for a long time after the death, because the pain lasts forever, even though life goes on.
Posted anonymously, 25th February 2014