At first, and for some time after the death, you may not even be able to think about the way forward because all of your efforts will go into surviving and dealing with the emotional challenges and practical problems it has brought. Losing a loved one always takes a long time to come to terms with but bereavement by suicide is known to involve a particularly difficult and lengthy period of grieving.
People may expect that you will recover within months; the truth is that you may never recover completely but you will adapt to a changed life over time. Many people find that the second year may feel worse than the first (apart from the shock) and the third may be little better. Be prepared for this however don’t think that it means you will always feel the pain so keenly. You may not be able to imagine how the pain will lessen but over time the gaps in between the moments of thinking about your loss gradually get bigger and bigger. Things will never be the same as before but you will find a “new normal”.
Many bereaved people find anniversaries difficult – it could be a birthday, Christmas or the anniversary of the death. They are reminders that time has passed and that our loved ones are no longer here. Often the anticipation of the event is worse than the reality, perhaps driven by a fear of re-experiencing the shock and pain. Some people find it best to try and go about their normal routine or do something to keep busy, others find it helpful to organise a day out with a relative or friend, perhaps to go somewhere that you can remember the person who died.
Eventually you may find that life is feeling “more normal” and at some stage you may find yourself considering major life choices – perhaps meeting a new partner, having a baby or moving to a new home. Be prepared that these new opportunities can suddenly raise feelings and questions which you may not be expecting. Be aware of this, it is very natural and make sure that you continue to seek support when you need it.
You are always welcome to use our services, no matter how long ago your bereavement.