People who commit
suicide may feel that their death is better for themselves and their loved ones
or friends. They have reached the end of their tolerance for a problem or
problems in their own life. Unfortunately, a person committing suicide
isn't in the state of mind to consider the horrific effects this act has on
those left behind.
The first section of
the book (chapters 1 and 2) include Ross's personal story followed by some
short comments from other suicide survivors. Ross lost her husband to
suicide. She shares in detail the story of her life from the moment her
husband shoots himself until she recovers from the horrible grief and stress
his suicide caused her. Unfortunately, suicide is often considered a
possible homicide in this country and survivors are treated as possible
suspects. This just intensifies the grief the family is already feeling.
This grief is compounded if family turns its back because of their
inability to cope with the fact that your husband, wife, child, aunt, uncle,
grandparent, or close friend chose to end his/her life. This chapter
should be read by anyone contemplating this final act - perhaps it will open
their eyes to the fact that they aren't ending problems; they are just opening
another group of problems for their family or friend to cope with.
The second section
includes some very useful information. Chapter 3 deals with the grief
cycle following a suicide that also includes a discussion of posttraumatic
stress. A discussion of helping yourself following a suicide
is found in Chapter 4. Here you will find a good
discussion of coping with the steps of grief: control, anger, guilt,
action, and coping rituals. Forty-nine tips for helping yourself survive are
provided. Study this list of tips and choose some to try if you are
trying to regain your focus after a suicide. Surely one of them will be
just what you needed to do.
Chapter 5, A Time to
Talk, a Time to Listen is, in my opinion, the most useful chapter in this book
if you are the relative or friend of someone surviving suicide. It gives
examples of what to say along with what NOT to say. Some excellent
listening techniques are also provided. This chapter may also apply to
anyone going through grief due to death from natural causes (aging, disease).
If you read no other chapter, be sure to read this one before trying to
help someone get over suicide.
chapters (chapters 7-11) discuss: being widowed by a suicide, helping
children cope, God and suicide, and provide some practical things that must be
done after a suicide occurs. This author stresses the value of joining a
suicide support group while going through the process of grieving. The members will understand the differences
between grief from a natural death and grief from a suicide.
informational section includes these topics: reflections about suicide, deadly
messages, breaking free, a unifying force, and not so unusual experiences.
These are practical chapters that will help you get back on your feet.
Knowing the information will also enable to you to be helpful to a family
member or friend recovering from the lost of a loved one through suicide.
Section four lists
resources about suicide. This information will help locate everything
from written material to support groups.
© 2003 Diana Pederson
Diana Pederson lives
in Lansing, Michigan.
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