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.