A colleague also shared a hurtful experience following the suicide of her physician brother. Though she was just a child, she vividly remembers the sound of her neighbor’s footsteps as she crossed their wooden porch. When her mother answered the loud knock, the neighbor asked, “Jean, how’d he do it?”
It’s shocking to hear that someone has taken their life but even more shocking to learn that people do not give the bereaved the same support they give for other deaths. Why should we shy away from someone who is grieving just because their loved one took their life? As one widow stated, “My husband was a good man and lived a good life; he just chose to end it badly.”
When you learn that someone has died and the cause of death is suicide, please do the same things for the bereaved that you would do to comfort and support anyone that has experienced a death. They’ll need your support now and for a long time to come. It’s just the right thing to do.