Members of our Lived Experience Collective, Joan and Tanya, deliver a podcast on grief and healing specifically for those who have lost loved ones to suicide.
We are two people who have lost loved ones to suicide. It’s a conversation about grief, but it’s also a conversation about hope & an exploration of whether it is possible to grieve with meaning after the very worst kind of loss.
When someone dies by suicide, those left behind have questions. Family and friends might ask why, when, or contemplate what happened in the days or hours leading up to death. Those questions are tough, and continue to be tough. But there are also questions about some very practical things – how could this have happened? How did they do it? And what made them think of this?
In the days immediately after a suicide, what happens? Shock? Devastation? Do you feel too much or absolutely nothing? How do you navigate those difficult and harrowing days immediately after a death by suicide?
Today we talk anger and the role this big emotion might or might not play in the grief that follows a suicide.
When it comes to suicide, they always say – there is never one cause. But if you talk to anyone who is grieving suicide – all they can think about is why. And those whys sometimes take you to dark places. Why did they do it? Why did they leave me? Why wasn’t I enough? So why do we need to know? Why does the search for why become so important?
Of all forms of death, suicide still attracts the biggest stigma. People are embarrassed by it, they’re shocked, overwhelmed, sometimes even repulsed. It’s something we don’t like to talk about, we don’t even like to think about the possibility of it. Well, our episode today is about one of the consequences of this stigma. When we’ve been taught not to talk about something, when the time comes to talk about it – we don’t know how.
Today our conversation is about an absolutely huge topic in the world of suicide and bereavement – blame and guilt. In the confusion that follows a suicide, loved ones go on the search for answers. And with the act of searching, accusation often follows. We might blame others, we sometimes blame the past, we also blame ourselves. Could we have stopped someone from killing themselves? Did something we do contribute to their death? The ‘what if’ road is a heart breaking one and today, we’re reflecting on where it might lead.
Sometimes after a person has died, we discover things about them that we never knew in life – both good and bad. When discoveries & perhaps scandalous discoveries are made – what happens to the memories you hold of that person & your beliefs about the relationship you had with them? We wanted to know. So, today we’re talking and sharing secrets. They say there are some secrets we take to the grave. But sometimes those secrets don’t stay there.
Families have many questions when someone dies by their own hand, but so too does the state. Institutions become involved – the police, pathologists, medical examiners and the coroner all suddenly have a ringside seat to your life.
You are still the bereaved, but the state now sees you as something else – the witness.
At a time when you’re dealing with the most awful grief, you may find yourself trying to navigate the maze of a complex legal system.
Today we’re going to talk about what the formal process of investigation surrounding a suicide was like for us.
Today we’re talking about the funerals we held for our loved ones – we’re talking celebration and sadness. How do you ‘do’ a funeral when your loved one has died by suicide? Where do you even start?