Posts Tagged ‘relief in suicide bereavement’

Odd as it may seem, some who are grieving a suicide may simultaneously experience relief. Researchers Jordan and McIntosh cite two reasons for a possible sense of relief following a suicide. First, the “disruption and problems” of dealing with a depressed and suicidal person “diminish or disappear” with his or her death. In some cases, the researchers note that a suicide survivor even feels guilty about feeling relieved.

The second reason for relief in suicide survivors is the perception that “their loved one’s psychological pain is now over and they no longer must bear that pain.” (Grief After Suicide. New York: Routledge, 2011, p.32)

I never experienced relief of the first kind. It was not the case that my daughter Mary caused disruptions and problems for our family. The opposite was true: she enhanced our lives uniquely, and her death was our diminishment.

But two mornings after my daughter died, I walked into the kitchen with this announcement: “I always wanted what was best for Mary. So if dying makes her happy, well . . . maybe it had to be.” Seated at the kitchen table were my mother, my sister, my sister-in-law, and some family friends. They looked at me as though I had lost my mind; and in a certain sense, I had.

Shock and denial had overtaken me. From the first hour of grief, in fact, shock had wrapped my inner devastation in cotton and denial had refused to admit the overwhelming loss. Despite the psychological defenses my mind had erected, there was a fragment of peace to be found on that dismal morning. It was the relief–the hope, really–that Mary’s pain had come to an end.

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