Coping with suicide of a family member

Reply Sun 18 Feb, 2007 08:27 pm
It was my father-in-law; it just happened a little more than a week ago. I don't know if it's wrong of me to be airing this online or not, but I am just so shocked and I feel overwhelmed, and this is where I talk to people, so... I don't really know if it will do me any good to write about it or not, but it just seems like having somewhere to put some thoughts down would be nice.

I can't believe my husband has to deal with this. I just never would have thought that his dad would be the type of person to do that. And I keep thinking, if it's so incredibly hard for me to accept that this happened and deal with it, how does it feel to have it be your own father that did it? I feel like I have absolutely no idea what the right things to say are or how to help.

We went home the day after we heard and stayed for a week, and it seemed a little more manageable then for some reason-- I guess we were both still in shock. We just got home day before yesterday, and as we drove back, it was like a weight just settled down over both of us. I guess maybe we were both so busy with family and everything when we were back there that it was easier to put it aside; now that it's just the two of us back here it seems more real and life seems emptier.

I can't believe how long it takes to accept that it's real. It just hits you over and over and over again. You'd think the shock and disbelief would've worn off by now, but it still hits me like a bucket of ice water every so often-- we really won't ever hear his voice again.

The fact that it was his choice makes it so strange. I'm so mad and so sorry for him at the same time. We didn't have a close relationship; I'd always thought he was not a very nice father in a lot of ways. I'm torn between blaming him because this seems kind of like he just took his typical self-absorbtion to an extreme, or feeling like he went crazy for some medical reason and it wasn't his fault. He seems in some ways to have been preparing and planning to do this, but also just a short time ago to have been pretty much normal.

I don't know, I guess I'll have more to say later; I really have to go do schoolwork (this semester is going to be kind of tough to salvage now, on top of everything else) and I just don't know what there is to say anyway. I hope I don't regret it later that I started this topic, but I keep feeling like maybe it will help me clear my mind to have a place to write this stuff.

(I really didn't know which forum would have been most appropriate to put this in; probably should've been R&M, sorry...)
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Reply Sun 18 Feb, 2007 08:32 pm
That's a tough question to answer.

I've never gone through such a situation and thus do not feel qualified to answer.

My sympathies.
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Reply Sun 18 Feb, 2007 08:35 pm
Hey cyphercat, I've been worrying about you since smorgs mentioned that you had sad news, so if nothing else I'm happy to see you and find out more about what happened.

What an awful thing to go through. I've experienced it twice, at a remove -- my uncle when I was little (my dad was devastated) and my cousin, when I was an adult (we weren't close but he'd come to visit about a year before he did it). It's one of the very hardest kinds of deaths to deal with, I think.

Take care.
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Reply Sun 18 Feb, 2007 08:43 pm
Oh, cypher, I'm sorry.

I remember a bunch about him, and I can easily figure a kind of malevolent aggressiveness in the suicide, that mixed with despair. For both of you, there is probably self doubt about your to-me-reasonable dealing with him.

His trouble started before you two were born. From my distance I can feel very sorry for him, empathize. But I'm sorrier for his son..
you guys could probably do with counselling, this is a big load. But the wrong counsellor could be worse, my opinion. Ask around..

My only sort of weak suggestion is to go for walks, hikes, together, silent ones or talking ones.

Does your hub have, gadtheword, a hobby? Once when I went through a whole batch of grieving... that is when I picked up drawing for the first time. I know you already have art, which is a challenge and maybe not a comfort now... but then maybe it can be. But for him, he sure needs to know this didn't start with him, and believe it.
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Reply Sun 18 Feb, 2007 09:03 pm
Book marking
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Reply Sun 18 Feb, 2007 09:50 pm
Been through it three times, but never with a family member. The loss of a parent is rough enough, let alone the suicide consideration. Try hard not to waste energy thinking of what you could have done, or picked up on to prevent it. No one knows what secrets are kept close to the heart and no one accept the deceased is to blame, which is a zero sum game in that no profit can be had by establishing blame. I wish I knew a way to fast forward the grieving process, but no. You have my sympathy.
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Reply Sun 18 Feb, 2007 09:53 pm
I have no words of wisdom, cypher. Just letting you know that I'm listening and sending hugs.

{{{{{{{cypher and Mr cypher}}}}}}}}

I do think you're perfectly normal in having conflicting feelings of shock, sadness and anger. The only experience I have with this is the husband of a co-worker. She went home from work one day and found him in the living room. We were mostly sad for her, angry at him, but I think the largest emotion was shock. Little by little the shock was replaced by acceptance, but the flip-flop between sadness and anger lasted a long while (and we weren't even related!).

I can't begin to imagine your husband's grief and emotional bundle. Your's either, cypher, and yet this will affect you both in different ways.

Take care and vent here whenever you feel the need.
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Reply Sun 18 Feb, 2007 10:07 pm
Egads! My heart aches for you and Mr C., Cypher. I wish I had something to say to make it easier.
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Reply Sun 18 Feb, 2007 10:37 pm
I'm so sorry.
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Reply Sun 18 Feb, 2007 11:51 pm
It has been 3 years since my Mom's younger sister took her own life,
and your feelings are very similar to those I felt afterwards. Those
feelings of shock and disbelief hitting you like a bucket of ice water
may continue for a while, I know they did for me.

This was my favorite Aunt, someone I could tell everything to.
Unfortunately, she was bipolar and on Lithium, but she hid her
true condition very well. Being the type of person she was,
an encouraging lady whom everyone loved, our family and friends
just could not believe she actually did such a thing.

I can only say that what Ossobuco suggested is what helped me.
As hard as it may be, get out of the house. Talk to friends and
stay active.

I'll be praying for you both.
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Reply Sun 18 Feb, 2007 11:58 pm
I can well imagine what your husband is going through, cyphercat, because I lost my father that way. He committed suicide in 1990. Do you have PM privileges?
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Reply Mon 19 Feb, 2007 05:47 am

Posting here is a good idea. You need to be available to support your husband and you can't do this without some support for yourself. I'd guess that like most married couples you have an overlapping support system and right now in the real world your husband's need for listening ears is much more imperative than your need.

Remember, you don't have the power to make everything go away. You can't change what your father-in-law chose to do. All you can do is provide a peaceful haven so that your husband can come to grips with the new order in his new world.

Hold your dominion.
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Reply Mon 19 Feb, 2007 05:53 am
You and your husband have my deepest sympathy. I understand by personal experience what you are going through. Your a2k friends have given wise counsel. Nothing can ease the pain, yet you will get through this.
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Reply Mon 19 Feb, 2007 06:14 am
Cyphercat-So sorry to hear of your loss. The death of someone is always a trauma, so much more so if it is self inflicted. Be gentle with yourself and your husband. You have suffered a severe shock, and it will take some time for you to be comfortable with it emotionally.

Both you and especially your husband will be barraged by conflicting emotions......................sadness, anger, grief. You may be faced with the "what ifs". Understand that this is a perfectly normal reaction to what has happened in your lives.

If your husband needs to talk, allow him to say what is in his heart, even though he may say the same things over and over. He needs to work it through from every angle, and having you to listen will be a great comfort to him.

I agree with those who say that you need to get out, become involved in something that would be both enjoyable and comfortable for you.

I think that you did the absolutely right thing by sharing with us. We are all here for each other.

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Reply Mon 19 Feb, 2007 06:43 am
cyphercat, Sympathies to you and your husband. What a difficult and painful thing to get your mind around. Hard to accept.

No advice from me. You got plenty of good advice from others. Just sympathy.
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Reply Mon 19 Feb, 2007 08:07 am
Oh Cypher. I am so sorry.

I hope you keep talking here. We care about you and the bigger your arsenal for coping, the better.

Just remember you are not expected to be Superwoman. Please be easy on yourself. I don't want you to get forgotten in all this.
From all I have learned about you Cypher, you are strong and have a gift for compassion. I know you will be pouring intense energies into your hubby and making sure he is taken care of during this time, and to a certain extent that is all right and good, but my wish is that you do not get forgotten in the process.

(((cypher))) Keep affirming your reality.
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Reply Mon 19 Feb, 2007 10:44 am
I'm so sorry to read this, cypher. Best to you and Mr. C.
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Reply Mon 19 Feb, 2007 10:50 am
I'm also very sorry to hear about the loss in your family. Life really throws us some curve balls from time to time. My sister made an attempt at suicide about 13 years ago. What was so difficult was that while she was getting treatment there was no advice for the family on how to deal and offer support. Then a friends husband committed suicide just 2 days after having dinner with us and our kids. I wish I could remember what the minister said at his funeral. He really had comforting things to say about the situation.
Take care of yourself and know that you have support here.
Thinking of you and your family,
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Reply Mon 19 Feb, 2007 08:21 pm
Thank you all so much for your kind replies and for listening.

Thanks especially for reassurance that it's okay to be talking about it here. Mr C's family is very concerned with how people will think of him if they know he killed himself, so it feels kind of like you're just supposed to tell people he passed away and kind of imply that it was of natural causes. Noddy mentioned this and it's true, a lot of our support system is overlapping; it feels like there are a whole lot of people that I'm not supposed to talk about this to honestly.

Osso, I'm glad you remember that other incident I talked about here last summer, because it certainly affects my feelings about it; you touched on a lot of how I'm feeling about that. I don't really believe that I affected him that much, but of course I keep thinking in the back of my mind, "if I had been nicer, if I'd been more forgiving..."

Mostly I know he was just a very, very troubled person and that one incident with me was hardly going to turn the tide one way or the other, but sometimes I think maybe I did make him a lot more depressed because he felt like I came between him and his son. I know I didn't really come between them; after all, he was still the person Mr C was closest to besides me; they couldn't have been much closer (which of course makes this just that much more awful). But I do think he really believed that I'd damaged their relationship, and I think part of his depression was about feeling like his kids didn't need him anymore. Maybe he didn't know what to do with himself if he wasn't being a parent.

And Eva, I do have PM privileges; it would be nice to hear from you.

Thank you all again, I've read over every single post twice and every kind thought means SO much to me. I'll be back with more thoughts later I'm sure, but I have a killer headache at the moment that demands some caffeine or asprin or both...
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Reply Mon 19 Feb, 2007 08:40 pm

I am so sorry to hear this. I can only imagine what it must feel like, coming to terms with what's happened. Terribly difficult I'm certain & I really feel for you. It doesn't make things any easier for your husband or you that his family appears to be so concerned about the "family reputation". That must make it even harder to talk openly about what's actually happened & to express your own feelings of shock & grief.
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