SUPPORT GROUPS. One thing that many people experience after the loss of a loved one is a feeling of isolation. This feeling is even more common after a loss by suicide than one due to accident or illness. Suicide is difficult to discuss for many people and they find themselves literally at a loss for words that can be comforting or encouraging.
Walter and I didn’t discover the support group experience until about six weeks after Michelle’s death. We found it to be one of the most healing experiences we have had. It was a safe environment in which to speak about our personal experiences related to Michelle’s death and its aftermath. The important element for us, as suicide loss survivors, is to be in a group with other survivors. As Walter said in his recent post, “to lose a loved one to suicide is like no other loss in life.”
As time passed, we began attending a second group. Each of these groups meets twice a month. We grew in confidence in dealing with our emotions and found that we were able to help others in the same way. Our continued attendance in these groups was motivated as much by our desire to help others as it was to help ourselves.
Two things I think are helpful: First, find a group where you feel comfortable, where you feel safe in disclosing your feelings. Second, try to be consistent in your attendance, not only for your benefit but for the benefit of others in the group who count on seeing you and hearing your story.
Please refer to the “Support Groups” page here on our website, To Save Just One, for any group that may be ongoing in your area, as well as new groups that may be starting.