Is it normal for a family to not be able to get over a loss to suicide? My children's father committed suicide a year ago February 21. They were 7 and 8 at the time, and I was not still involved with him. They spent every Saturday with him so they were close to him. They have handled it well, but his parents and brother can't seem to get over it. They still get very upset and talk about it like it happened yesterday. He was almost 40 years old, couldn't hold a job, lived with his father, alcoholic...you get the idea. No one wanted to admit he had a problem when he was alive, no one wanted to help him. How do keep my children from getting caught up in that guilt the family feels?
Yes, it is completely normal for a family to never get over suicide.
You didn't like him.
His family loved him, and your children loved him. The chances that your children might consider suicide in the future based on a parent committing suicide are GREATLY INCREASED. You might want to reconsider whether your children are both fine with their father killing himself.
I think it is great that you are here trying to help your children. A year is not a long time and every individual grieves in their own way. The key is to make sure that your children are grieving in a healthy way, which means that they are talking to you about how they feel. If you notice that their grades are slipping, then it would be wise to get professional help for them. It is important to be conscious of how you talk to them about the suicide --- why it happened and what the lesson is from all of this. It is also very important that they know that their father loved them very much and this was not their fault. In my opinion, I think it would be a very wise idea to honor their father --- no matter how you felt about him. This also includes his family.... an idea would be to make a scrapbook with pictures of all of you and give it to his family and a copy to your children.
I guess the point I was trying to get to was that his family can't talk about him with out uncontrollable crying and carrying on. I don't want my children to feel like they can't talk about him, which is how it's ending up. My feelings about him are irrelevent, I keep my personal feelings to myself with regard to the kids, I'm concerned that they will feel like they can't open up around the people they should be able to talk about him with, aside from me. He only had one brother, who has an eleven year old daughter who is suffering because almost every conversation in that household revolves somehow around her uncle. I understand everyone grieves in their own way, but how do you deal with people who literally can't live life anymore aside from this? I spend a lot of time with his family in order to keep their relationship with my kids strong, but I don't want to talk about his death everytime we are together. No one wants to hear about what the kids are doing in school or whatever else, they constantly talk about what happened that day, who was where, how he did it, etc. Is there a point when they should seek outside help? I just don't want to see people I care about stop living because of a loved ones death.
I disagree with the other poster. You haven't said anything bad about your ex to your children or his family at all and in fact you've been there for his family and for your children.
Obviously the loss of a child is a something parent's will never get over --- but as someone with good intentions and close to these people, you can recommend at some point that they get counseling or join a support group to help deal with the pain. If they say no, then you will have to respect their wishes. As far as your children speaking with their grandparent's about their father --- obviously it isn't the time right now. At least you are there for your children right now. Perhaps in the future, your children will be able to share their pain with their grandparent's. I still believe the scrapbook / photo album idea is a good one... it would be the best present you could give to your children right now and also open the door for them to talk about their father more often.
Your feelings on the matter are not irrelevant, they are coming through loud and clear here,( and Im sure they are coming through loud and clear to your kids) you obviously didnt like the guy and have no problem handling his death, in fact you seem like you could care less and even begrudge his family(who loved him regardless of his shortcomings) their grief. That will clearly impact your children. They do not have the negative feelings you do but they will get the message you don't care about his death and think people need to "get over it" that alone I think is a negative for your kids. They will not express their true feelings to you because they know how mad you are. There is no time frame in which people recover from grief, sometimes they never do. The fact that their Daddy committed suicide needs further attention with professionals. There is NO WAY they are "fine" they show you they are because they know it is NOT OK for them to express their feelings about it to you because you seem to have no sympathy at all for his dreadful suicide.
I know of what I speak, my husband's Mother committed suicide when he was 6 and he is over 50 and STILL mourns that event. They might learn to suppress their feelings due to your not being able to allow them to talk about it or to grieve or bring it up but the feelings will just be buried only to surface later, trust me.
Please, get them some professional help with this MAJOR issue in their lives. Sounds like you too would benefit from professional help in dealing with this because you seem to have a lot of anger towards their Father even though he is dead and gone.
Im sure you have very legitimate reasons for feeling the way you do but if you don't resolve your anger towards him your kids will always know, regardless of you trying to hide it, how angry you were at their Dad for his behavior before he died and for his suicide.
You are obviously misreading my posting. I am not the one they can't talk to, it's his family. My children are already in a support group for children who have lost a parent. Never once did I write that I didn't like him or spoke ill of him to the children, I simply stated that he had a lot of problems which were ignored by his family, or as they would be told in a support group, they were enablers. My children lost a parent at a very young age. When an adult loses a child I understand it is devastating, but as ADULTS we can understand logically what happened. As children they cannot, and put yourself in an 8 yr olds place as opposed to a 60 yr old. Do you really not understand that an adult should be able to put their own feelings aside in order to allow a child to open up to them? I know my own children, and I know they are ok. By the way, his brother's last words to him was f*** you, because they hated each other. So as you can see, I am just trying to help. I guess I would have to tell you that if you seriously believe that everyone in a family should stop living because of a tragic death than maybe you need professional help. I certainly do not want my children being allowed to think that they have no business enjoying life because their father chose to end his. By the way, my mother died at age 25 when I was barely over a year old, leaving behind 4 children and a grieving husband. I guess had my father allowed this to take control of his whole life I wouldn't have the life that I did. Oh, and I thought these forums were for support, not criticism.
Is there any possible chance that his family even somewhat blames you for his suicide? That may be why they are always talking about it when you are around. Thats just a guess though. Going from my own experience...when I broke up with my daughters father he attempted suicide, and I'm pretty darn sure his family has never liked me since then. All I can tell you is to let your kids feel comfortable talking to you about this, how it makes them feel when they have to hear dad's family talk constantly about his death. Good luck with it all.
I thought that at first too, but they insist they do not feel that way, they actually each seem to feel personal guilt like, "if I hadn't said this he'd still be here" or "if I had done more for him" type stuff. About 3 weeks before it happened they had talked about admitting him to an inpatient type facility because his problems were that bad. Unfortunately they put it off too long because they didn't want him to be mad at them. Like I said before, I'm just concerned that my children will be led to believe that if they bring him up in conversation they are making everyone upset. I don't want them to think they are doing something wrong by talking about him. Anyway, you should know too that people make their own choices, we can't be responsible for someone else's actions, so no matter what they might think it's not your fault either.
I also disagree with kalio. I know what you're saying. I think the reason his family can't even mention his name without crying is because of extreme guilt on their part. You and your children have no guilt, so yours and their grieving is different. Children will remember the good times they spent with their daddy, and that's what you, as their mom will have to continue to help them remember. The scrapbooking idea is a good one. Do you think if the next time his family brought him up in a negative way (ie. how he died, why did he do it, etc) that they would be offended if you said something like, "Can we please not discuss this in front of the children?" or "Can we focus on the good times when he was alive?"
I agree with you, they should be able to put their own feelings aside when around his children - THEIR grandchildren. But if they don't, it's going to be up to you to help keep them positive. I applaud you for being their for his family. I'm assuming this has not been easy for you, either...
HI. I disagree with that post as well. You sound like you are doing a very good job handling this. It sounds like guilt on that familys part but you are right, the kids need to be able to open up more, seeings how adults can take themselves to a counselor, but it sounds like they think you are one and are your kids right there when they go back over that day? Considering it was a graphic suicide, they definitely should not discuss that with your children or around them, especially a year later. I lost my mom last may, 10 days after finding out on mothers day that she had liver cancer, after receiving a new liver just months prior. I was 30 years old with an 11 and 13 yr. old. For 3 months I visited my mothers mom daily and I had to talk about everything all the time but I did not around my kids, not the details, her death alone was enough for them. It has been almost a year now and my mind still replays the days KNOWING she was dying and that day and I have some guilt, naturally but it has to be dealt with. My guilt being all the attempts I made on my own life and being a mother knowing what my mom must have felt like knowing her child did not want to live. Suicide was something I dealt with and attempted so many years even as an 8 yr. old. I thought God didn't want me here. I was so wrong. God does not put infirmities in our body and suicide is definitely not in His plan for us, it is the devils because he is the father of lies, he only comes to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10). I am 31 now and want to live. But God is the only One who dealt with me. This family needs more than counseling, they need Gods love, goodness, and grace. I have attended 2 retreats at my church called cleansing stream, where you deal with "getting over" the past and breaking off the bad, the guilt, whatever each ind. is dealing with. It sounds like this family could use something like this. I dont know what your faith is or theirs but maybe they could check it out, churches around the country are holding these classes and retreats. I am a new christian. It is the only comfort I have found, esp. since my moms death and it has changed my life and my kids' as well. You keep your head up and stand your ground about the daily detailed talking about the suicide around your kids. It is one thing to talk to kids but what the grandma is doing around your kids is not healthy for them. She lost her son, but your kids have lost their dad, way too early and THEY need to talk, and to know that life can still be good. Grandma needs help something bad and my heart goes out to her but your kids well being is at stake and you obviously know that, thank God. I will be praying for your kids, you and your exes family. You don't sound bitter, just realistic, don't back down. Stay strong and God Bless you.
I think you are doing a great job and I am very impressed as to the degree of understanding and empathy that you have recognizing the unheatlhy ways in which grief can manifest itself.
I think that kids understand that every house has rules, "I call them house rules" and they learn very quickly where and when to talk about their thoughts and feelings. Its obvious you have given them a good place to do this in their home.
I agree with the other posters when they said that the family feels guit and has a lot of unresolved issues and guilt surrounding this death. Kids on the other hand seem to internalize these feelings and may begin to think it was their fault that their dad died. So keep them in therapy and keep up the good work.
This will be an ongoing issue with you and your kids and ya'll may need mental health checkups for a long time to make sure that the kids are recovering from this in a good way.
my father committed suicide when I was 4 (a long time ago now - I am in my thirties) and the hardest thing for me growing up was that I felt I couldn't speak about it.
His family couldn't cope, like your ex's: I felt that whenever his sister saw me, she would cry, or just expect me to be a living object for all her grief. And I didn't see my grandparents for years, though we are reconciled now.
It sounds like you are doing all the right things. I think all you can do is to create the kind of space where your kids can talk about it and remember that their dad loved them in the way that he could. I think my mother felt a lot of guilt, and that was very hard for me to bear. And children will always blame themselves and wonder whether it was their fault, no matter how many times they're told it wasn't! so keep telling them:)
Good luck with everything - it does take a bit of time
thank you all for comments which i am beginning to try to process....as last week, grand-kids' dad successfully asphyxiated himself --was in his late 40's........we are using the word 'suicide', for what happened..also depression..defined as an illness doctors cant see and is hard to treat,...kids are 10 and 12.
In-laws accusatory behavior resulted in kids being advised NOT to attend fathers memorial service by police and pastor.
--so is rather operatic sadness in this small town. appreciate kind cyber-ears...traumatized kids see therapists and are going about usual summer activities/ probably robotic elements --..aware of grief in ripple effect--praying. kids believe in god and told me god was "in our car" today..so is step in the right direction.
Sorry I just read the additional posts, and have a bit to add regarding guilt. His family will feel guilty! Their is no escaping that one. They will be going over all of the What if's - Things said, and left unsaid, and now its too late. As for counselling, they certainly need it. But after only 12 months, they are only scratching the surface of making sense of it all.
I understand your reasons about not wanting them to re live it all the time in front of the children, but perhaps you could use your childrens counselling as a lever in maybe suggesting reminiscing about his childhood successes and happy times.. Like "Remember when your Dad was 10 and he won the running race" - you get my drift.
As for the brother telling him to "F... Off" well - all the more reason for his feelings of guilt and remorse. We all do it - but we don't expect the person we are saying it to to committ suicide.
You are in a lucky position, where you are managing to cope very well with the devastation this has caused the entire family. Just realise that it is utter devastation, and in death we only remember the good - rarely the bad. It takes so long to make sense of the whole mess of this type of tragedy. Your'e doing well! Warmest and kindest wishes for the entire family.
My husband committed suicide just over 12 months ago, we have an 8 year old son. At the time of his death, we had recently separated after 17 years of marriage. Upon his death, all of the trivial and stupid reasons why we had separated disappeared, and all of the love, and years of being together came bubbling up into a cesspool of grief so deep and profound, I don't know how I survived it. We created a child out of love, that is the memory you must share with your children. Remind them of how much you loved your husband - even though you were over your marriage, you created and shared two children together, and your children NEED YOU to join in their grief with them.
They will feel isolated, because they are isolated. You need to keep your husbands memory alive with them forever - that is what his family are trying to do, they keep reliving it - it is natural. They need to talk about it, because the grief is so strong, and everytime they see your children, they are reminded of their son who took his own life. Put yourself in their shoes - they lost a child.
I have created rituals - I make sure I remind my son of when his Dad's birthday is - so he can make a card for him, Fathers Day and Christmas, we never leave out my husband cards are artfully made both of us spending hours on what we think he would like- we paste photo's, photo copy school reports, merit awards, sports ribbons, football scores - we pile all of the goodies in to a stack, on my husbands birthday, and burn them up to heaven. We have named a star after him, and on clear nights we find the star and say hello. Involve yourself in your childrens grieving - let them see that you share it with them, if you don't feel it - they will hide it from you. Cry with them when they cry, and go over all of the happy memories you once shared. Share this as well with the extended family, they will be able to provide baby photo's of their son, treasured childhood memories that your children will cherish and remember, it gives them a sense of connection to their father, even though he is not with them, - he is with them (if you know what I mean).
I know you mean well, but this is a terrible thing to survive and although you were not emotionally involved at the end, at one time you must remember that you loved this man, and you have his children, and family grieving because they are emotionally involved, and always will be.
Just read through all of the comments and I will tell you that I am a 42 year old mom myself...and my mom committed suicide when I was 13. "Back then"... noone talked about it, once she was gone and the service was over.....(I can't believe what one person said about authorities not wanting their children at the services....ridiculous! I was there, and there was no body for viewing...It took me a long time for closure or understanding that she was even gone...anyway) everything was pushed under the rug. Shame, guilt, sadness, fear, all followed me for a long time, until I searched out my own help. You are doing the right things, love, open communication and really... that is all you can do. Each child will handle the situation differently and you have to be ready to adapt to what that child needs..... also lots of prayers, the support of the AFSP.ORG is a great organization for support and guidance also.... Prayers for you and your children.
I have lost my father to suicide, when i was 13. its a little older than 7 and 8 but i know the feeling they know and feel first hand. my dad died in 2001 and that was six years ago and i am still not over it...
I still to this day cry my self to sleep and wish he was here. the biggest thing i think is that you just need to be there for your kids. my mom wasn't really with my father when he died. they had split about a month before.
so i know the feeling you have. all i can say is when they ask questions, don't sugar coat them. answer them with the answer that will suit the question they asked. then maybe make a night that will tell them that they can ask questions and maybe make it a game night. i know that my mom helped me so much after the loss of my father and i know that you will do great..
prayers for you and your children, and good luck
I am simply in awe of the people in this thread. Your strength boggles my mind. My uncle committed suicide when I was 9 (21 years ago) and another uncle committed suicide 9 months ago. I wasn't the worst affected i either case but I still have really struggled with it. To see how those closest to them have survived is amazing to me.
I don't believe in God personally but it's good to see others using whatever they can to deal with their grief.
Last nite my best friend told me he wanted to die. He is going through a seperation and or divorce, with a huge drinking problem on top of it. The only way I can change his mindset is support the love of his children.Please help, I think if he would see what it does to a childs life it would buy me some time.I am trying to get him back in treatment and in counseling.I really am worried about the kids, children are the innocense of the world they have no power or control, it is not fair.
If I am at the wrong place i am sorry,I dont want to offend anyone.I figured I needed to start somewhere and have no idea where.Any help with places to go or group sites would be greatly appreciated. UNCLE DAVE
your friend has one big problem and that is alcohol until he wants to quit he is not going to listen to anyone someone i knew a man he was a true alcoholic his wife left him he promised to quit he did not so she left again would not go back one day he drove to her house and honked the wife and 2 children came to door and he pulled out a gun and shot himself that had to hurt the kids but i guess he was so drunk maybe he thought he was punishing her he hurta a lot of people and mostly himself hope he gets help i wish i could offer advice but they wont quit until they are ready lots luck jo
I'am a christian who has two children whos father commit suicide last year. I know they miss their father, we had been seperated for 3 years but my children lived with him and his girlfriend laura at the time. i would really love to have one of you reach out to me and help me with this time of support & healing to help me help my children. if you find it in your heart please e-mail me.
my son adam is 8
my daughter samantha is 11
TRAIN UP A CHILD IN THE WAY HE SHOULD GO:AND WHEN HES OLD, HE WILL NOT DEPART FROM IT. PROVERBS 22:6
MY CHILDREN'S FATHER HUNG HIMSELF. HE HAD BEEN STRGGLING WITH DEPRESSION FOR MORE THAN ALL OUR MARRIAGE. MORE THAN 13 YEARS. WE HAVE BEEN DIVORCED FOR OVER 2 YEARS. HE RESENTED ME, BECAUSE HE HAD TO TAKE ON ALOT OF TAXES, BUT HE GOT THE HOUSE. AT SOME POINT I WAS GOING TO MOVE BACK IN TO HELP. BUT HE HELD ON TO ISSUES IN OUR BREAK UP, AND STARTED BLAMMING ME FOR MANY FINANCIAL ISSUES. I HAD TO MOVE AND RENT, I HAVE NO HOPE INSITE FOR FUTURE HOME PURCHASING, BECAUSE WE TOOK MONEY OUT OF OUR PREVIOUS HOUSE TO PAY OFF HIS MOMS, AND RE BUILT HIS MOTHERS HOUSE TO CARE FOR HER, HER EX HUSBAND, tHE GRANDPA) AND BE ABLE TO FIT OUR FAMILY IN AND RUN A BUSINESS. SO AFTER HIS DEATH THE CHILDREN JUST WANTED THEIR DOG AND CATS... THE BROTHER WHO BEAT ME UP IN MARCH.....FOR BEING IN THE HOUSE... HE WONT ALLOW ME ACCESS TO THE HOUSE THAT IS IN MY NAME..I AM ON THE LOAN AND THE DEED. AND MORTGAGE IS DUE! I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR IT. THEY ARE LOOTING AND RUMAGING THROUGH MY CHILDRENS STUFF. THEY HAVENT BEEN ABLE TO GO SEE THE FORTS THEIR FATHER JUST BUILT THEM, ON THEIR BUNK BEDS. THEY NEED SOME OF HIS SHIRTS THAT HE WORE, SO I CAN MAKE PILLOWS FOR THEM. THEY ARE NOT GIVING THEM THE DOG THAT THEIR DAD GOT FOR THEM AFTER THE 2 DOGS THAT HE GAVE THEM AFTER THEIR GRANDMA PASSED. AND THE CATS EITHER, EACH CHILD HAS THEIR OWN CAT! THE GRANDFATHER AND BROTHER WONT GIVE THEM TO THE KIDS.
THEY BLAME ME! EVEN THOUGHT STEVE HAD TRIED COMMITING SUICIDE BEFORE WE WERE MARRIED! I HAD HELPED HIM THROUGH MANY EPISODES, WITHE ALL ALONG THE FAMILIES DENIAL! SO THE FAMILY SAYS THAT, I WONT BE ALOUD TO SET FOOT IN THERE, AND THEY WILL BURN THE HOUSE DOWN BEFORE I CAN OWN IT. THE BROTHER IS HARASSING MY BOYFRIEND, IN FRONT OF MY BOYFRIENDS KIDS. AND THE POLICE SAY THAT THE BROTHER WHO IS A SQUATTER, HAS ESTABLISHED RESIDENCY, HOW CAN THAT BE. HE SQUATED ON HIS DADS PORTION OF THE PROPERTY. IT IS A SECONDARY LIVING UNIT. HE HAD NO PROPERTY IN THE MAIN HOUSE, WHERE MY CHILDREN LIVED. PEOPLE ARE GOING THROUGH MY KIDS PERSON STUFF! DECIDEING WHAT THEY CAN HAVE! I STILL HAD THINGS THERE. I JUST WENT TO NOTARY WITH STEVE LESS THAN A MONTH AGO, AND SIGNED REMODIFICATION PAPERS. TOGETHER! I CAN'T AFFORD A LAWYER. I KNOW THEY ARE GRIEVING, BUT THEY ARE ADULTS. THEY DONT HEAR MY CHILDREN BEGGING TO TOUCH THE LAST THING THEIR DADDY TOUCHED. AND CUDDLE WITH THE DOG THAT THEIR DADDY CUDDLED WITH. THEY WANT TO WALK IN THAT HOUSE, . THEY HAVE NO RIGHTS. BY THE TIME I GET THEM EVICTECTED THE HOUSE WILL BE EMPTY, AND DESTROYED AND I WONT BE ABLE TO LIVE THERE, BUT I WILL OWE ON IT, I WONT BE ABLE TO SELL IT, CUZ THE PRO APPLIANCES WILL BE TAKEN OUT, I CANT AFFORD TO REPLACE, THEY ARE STEALING FROM MY CHILDRENS FUTURE! WHO CAN HELP ME???
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