The 5 Stages of Grief for Suicide Survivors

Although some are the same, most of the 5 stages of grief go out the window when someone you love commits suicide.  Let me first say that since their inception, the stages of grief have been fiercely debated.  It’s been said, to put a person’s feelings into a set of stages after an unexpected loss is not realistic BUT humor me.  Let’s explore the 5 stages of grief for suicide survivors.


This one is definitely correct.  To say I didn’t believe my sister killed herself is an understatement.  I’m still in denial a year and a half later.  I still sit around some days, waiting for her to show up, even though her ashes are 4 feet away from me.  Denial has no set time frame which is good because you’re basically going to be in denial for the rest of your life.


My anger ran deep, I’m sorry to say.  At first, it was anger over leaving my nephews and brother in law.  Then it was anger over leaving my girls, my mom, my aunts and uncles, cousins, and her friends (who were like family.)  BUT my real anger was a selfish anger, an unrelenting seething anger at her, for leaving me.  How could she leave me?  I just couldn’t comprehend what happened and why she didn’t come to me. Then we move on to the worst stage.


Guilt is defined as a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.  This is the one that eats me alive all day, every day.  If I had called her back right away.  If I was more supportive.  If I was down there with her.  The “ifs” will make you sick everyday.  There was nothing anyone could have done, but that doesn’t stop the feeling of guilt to creep in every day.


The “are you sures” and the “maybe it was an accident” and the biggest question, “WHY?”  Whether there was a note left or not, you’ll still ask “why” every day.  I can’t imagine how it feels to never receive a note, even though my sister’s wasn’t very specific, at least we knew for a fact.  All the questions in your head are enough to make you lose your mind.  This is the stage that I will stay in, I don’t have an answer for how long.


What a lot of people think is depression, in the beginning, is really just shock or a plethora of other emotions you feel when your world is shaken to its core.  This is not to be confused with clinical depression, which can be chronic.  They say you only have “episodes” of depression after the unexpected passing of a loved one.  It’s also common for the depression to last a long time (you don’t say!!)  The signs of depression from grief usually start when you give your grief some type of finality.

Finality is NOT Acceptance

In the original stages of grief, acceptance is always last.  You will never find acceptance on my stages because I will never accept this life as my own, Before Jessie was my life.  What I do accept is that I have a “new” life now, After Jessie.  I will live this life to the fullest.  I will try to make someone’s (anyone’s) life better by telling my story.  I will do every thing in my power, to never let my nephew or my daughters forget Jessie, or her love for them.  And I will tell myself every day, that my sister did not leave me, she left her pain.


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9 thoughts on “The 5 Stages of Grief for Suicide Survivors”

  1. Oh Connie, I am so sorry that you have had to experience this, I had no idea. Looking back, I think I met your girls at the park a few days after this happened that Summer, your beautiful little Mamas.. as they were so nice to my little man. I couldn’t piece together what they were talking about then, but now it all makes sense.
    My brother attempted suicide when I was 21. I only got to anger– and boy was I ticked. Mad that he did this to our family… How dare he? How dare he try to change all of our lives by trying to end his. It has been 20 years and so many things have changed, but I still try to push that anger away on the daily, knowing that he has had to live with that ripple effect, trying to understand him so that he never looks back. I hardly know you, but I am proud of you for making this blog, and hoping that it brings peace to you and your family and is therapeutic for your soul. Glad that our girls are friends as we stumble through this life.

    1. I had no idea about your brother. You know the saying “Be kind because you never know what people are going through” is the truest thing anyone has ever said. Just like you had no idea what had happened to me, I had no idea what you were going through. It really is amazing how people fall into your life at exactly the right time. I am so glad too. Madden adores Macy and my other girls love all little kids, especially a spitfire like your son lol. Thank you for sharing with me Cara. I’m so glad we fell into each others’ lives!!

  2. I honestly don’t think I will ever be able to accept it, I just thank God for you and your girls and Jackson, or I would never have been able to climb out of the depression… Like me, Jessie will always love you and is so so so proud of you!

  3. I haven’t had to go through this – but did have a close friend (and military vet) get killed when he was struck by a truck while helping some other people who were in a car accident. To be honest with you – I’m still in the denial stage (and it was years ago), but I was in the anger stage for a while. I’m convinced that, for me, there’s never ‘true’ healing, just learning to live with it. I do genuinely appreciate you sharing your story, though.

    1. Thank you Mike. Death changes you, whether it’s peripheral or right next to you. Thank you for sharing your story.

  4. Connie, I am so sorry that you have had to experience this.
    I haven’t gone through this, but I was at the other end. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and its a difficult illness. I’m not sure what brought your sister to do this but I can understand it. I wish you the best for you and your girls. Lots of positive vibes and hugs.

    1. Thank you so much Andrea. I get up everyday and put one foot in front of the other for my girls. Thank you for reading and being so supportive, it’s greatly appreciated.

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