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Save. Suicide Awareness Voices of Education

When the Worst Has Happened - Suicide Survivors

When the worst has happened and you have lost a loved one to suicide there is little that can be said to comfort you. SAVE recommends the book Suicide: Survivors - A Guide For Those Left Behind by Adina Wrobleski that many have found helpful during the grieving process. It does not take it away, but it has helped many understand and correct some of the wrong information that people believe about suicide.

It is okay to grieve. The death of a loved one can feel like sudden, unexpected and drastic amputation of a limb without any anesthesia. The pain cannot be described and no scale can measure the loss. We want so much for our loved one to return so that we can do something, and we ache knowing that it just can’t happen. You need to know that it's okay to grieve.

It is okay to cry. Tears release the flood of sorrow of missing the one you love. Tears relieve the brut force of hurting, enabling us to "level off" and continue our cruise along the stream of life. Shedding tears is not a sign of weakness-it is a sign of our human nature and emotions of deep despair and sorrow. It's okay to cry. It is okay to heal: We do not need to "prove" that we loved the person who has died. As the months pass we are slowly able to move around with less outward grieving each day. We need not feel "guilty", for this is not an indication that we love less. It only means that, although we don't like it, we are learning to accept death and it's finality of the pain our loved one suffered. It's a healthy sign of healing. It's okay to heal.

It is okay to laugh. Laughter is not a sign of "less" grief. Laughter is not a sign of "less" love. It's a sign that many of our thoughts and memories are happy ones and our dear one would have wanted us to laugh again. It's okay to laugh.


Grief is as old as mankind but is one of the most neglected of human problems. As we become aware of this, we begin to realize the enormous cost that it has been to the individual, to the families and to society, in terms of pain and suffering because we have neglected the healing of grief.

Essential to a grieving person is to have at least one person who will allow them and actually give them permission to grieve. Some people can turn to a friend or to a family member. Others find a support group helpful that will allow one to be the way one needs to be as they work through their grief.

Dealing appropriately with grief is important in helping to preserve healthy individuals and nurturing families, to avoid destroying bodies and their psyche, their marriages and their relationships. You can postpone grief but you cannot avoid it. As other stresses come along, one becomes less able to cope if one has other unresolved grief.

It requires a great deal of energy to avoid grief and robs one of energy for creative expression in relating to other people and in living a fulfilling life. It limits one's life potential. Suppressing grief keeps you in a continual state of distress and shock, unable to move from it. Our body feels the effects of it in physical ailments. Our emotional life also suffers. Our spiritual life suffers. When this occurs we often hear it said that the person is "stuck in grief".

When a person faces their grief, allows their feeling to flow, speaks of their grief, allows its expression, it is then that the focus moves from death and dying to promoting life and living. This is normal and okay, it is part of the grieving process.

Suicide: Survivors - A Guide For Those Left Behind by Adina Wrobleski

Suicide: Survivors is a wonderful book published on suicide and suicide grief. The author, Adina Wrobleski, was the original founder of SAVE, and an expert on suicide. She has spent many years studying the subject after her daughter, Lynn, died by suicide in the late 1970's. Reading this book is a good "first step" for someone beginning the arduous journey of trying to work through suicide grief. This book can be ordered directly from SAVE, click here to purchase Suicide: Survivors online.