Mixed feelings on suicide


Bini
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A few years ago I made a post about my uncle who attempted suicide. This week he successfully took his life. I won't get into too much of a backstory, but in short, he had a long history of depression and alcohol abuse. Anyway, despite reality, family does not acknowledge that his death was suicide. Instead, they are telling people what happened was an accident. For some reason this really bothers me. I'm all for remembering the good things about him, and I realise that withholding certain details are not uncommon for this kind of death, but it still doesn't feel right.

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Guest LiterateParakeet

So sorry for your loss.  Everyone grieves differently (I'm sure you know that already).  But I've often been surprised that a death in the family, rather bring people closer together can cause contention, and fighting.  I"m not saying this very well, I just mean that different ideas about how to handle the death of a loved one is normal...and suicide vastly complicates things. 

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A few years ago I made a post about my uncle who attempted suicide. This week he successfully took his life. I won't get into too much of a backstory, but in short, he had a long history of depression and alcohol abuse. Anyway, despite reality, family does not acknowledge that his death was suicide. Instead, they are telling people what happened was an accident. For some reason this really bothers me. I'm all for remembering the good things about him, and I realise that withholding certain details are not uncommon for this kind of death, but it still doesn't feel right.

 

The (for lack of a better word) cover-up strikes me as unfortunate, because a) it's just not true, b) the suicide might be, at least in part, a result of specific medical factors or family dynamics that need to be resolved, and c) it's a missed opportunity to talk about mental health/substance abuse generally.

 

Even so--I think it's his immediate family's call (spouse, kids, siblings) and not yours as a niece.  In the long run, at least when they're around, I think you'll find yourself happier if you bite your tongue a bit.

 

So sorry for your loss.  Death of a family member is always rough . . .

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In many places there is a very strong rule that nothing bad can ever be said about the dead, nothing negative, no matter who true it is.

It looks like that's what you have here.

The best rule when someone has a death of someone near to them is to say ... basically nothing.  Just listen.  Let them talk.

You have spoken the truth about your uncle (here) and it seems you have accepted his situation.

So like some others have said, I think the thing now is to say ... nothing.

dc

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Guest MormonGator

You don't know who suffers from depression and who doesn't.

It's a horrible disease because people think you are "faking" or can just "get over it" 

 

That said, I've seen many, many people in my life who choose to be miserable and bring everyone else down. Don't be like them, and don't blame it on depression. 

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A few years ago I made a post about my uncle who attempted suicide. This week he successfully took his life. I won't get into too much of a backstory, but in short, he had a long history of depression and alcohol abuse. Anyway, despite reality, family does not acknowledge that his death was suicide. Instead, they are telling people what happened was an accident. For some reason this really bothers me. I'm all for remembering the good things about him, and I realise that withholding certain details are not uncommon for this kind of death, but it still doesn't feel right.

It is their way of coping with the grief. Consider it temporary and all will come to their senses eventually. My condolences for your loss.

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If you see someone struggling due to this lack of truth, feel free to help them and share the truth.  Of course, they'll probably still be struggling, because suicide makes people struggle.  But at least they'll have the truth.

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So sorry to hear this, Bini!  My condolences to you and your family.

 

My best friend's brother killed himself on Christmas Eve.  It's his second attempt at it.  My friend doesn't seem to have a problem telling people his brother killed himself.  He and his wife went to take care of things, help out with the funeral arrangements, etc.  They expect to be there through the New Year.  They left their kids at home.  He thinks it's not good for them to have to do a funeral at Christmas.  The kids are mid to late teens but even then, they're still quite not sure what to feel with their parents gone for the holidays to take care of their uncle.  The youngest one is staying at my house for the moment.

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These days I think it's so important to talk about depression and suicide.  You just never know when it might help someone else.  

 

 

I agree.  But I think it has to be at the right time and the right place.

I don't think the situation Bini is in at this time is the right time.

dc

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I agree.  But I think it has to be at the right time and the right place.

I don't think the situation Bini is in at this time is the right time.

dc

 

I'm just saying that these days it's best not to try to hide it in the family or pretend it's not there or didn't happen.  

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Bini,

 

   Firstly, I am so sorry that you have experienced this kind of loss.  I know that it is unlike normal grief.... because those who remain are left haunted with the "what ifs", and shattering shock......I know, because my baby sister took her own life eleven months ago.

 

  Firstly, we never hid it. At first people politely did not directly say it, but as time has passed both my family, and her friends have become more vocal about it. For us, it is because we do not want anyone to think we are in any way ashamed of her, or what happened. She had an illness. There is no shame when someone dies from cancer, or some other disease/ illness......yet we have a long history of incorrect notions, beliefs, stigma, and shame regarding suicide. It is still an illness that causes it. This is why we often say, when people ask how she died.... " Depression".  When people are in that kind of place.....they cannot think clearly. Pain drowns out everything, false notions pound at them. Sometimes they just want the pain to go away, and cannot understand what else will go with it.  Additionally, there is the false belief that it is a selfish act that also contributes to "shame" etc... when in reality, they often think that they will taint everyone, and that those they love will be better off without them.  My sister had two young children, and she never would have done something to hurt them.....and to us, that is the strongest indication of how twisted her perceptions were.  It was clear in her journal that she thought they would be better off without her, and that she was not worthy of them.

 

   The reason I have been vocal, is because we as a society need to be educated about the truth behind the causes of suicide, as well as learn how to perceive mental illness is new ways. If people did not feel ashamed, and if others understood better how to respond......so many losses could be prevented. My sister told her younger sister ( and her maternal side) about her plans, and tragically, she did not know how to respond, or that she should have taken it seriously ( which is common).  I know that she did not tell me, because she knew I would have taken it seriously and acted/ prevented.  I unfortunately had told her a story of intervening for someone in the past.

 

   I am so sorry that your family does not understand these things. Of course it is their own choice..... but often concealing things in that way causes people to have to bottle up their pain, feelings, reactions.... and leaves them in silent torment and confusion over what happened.  It is difficult beyond words even for those of us who are allowed to openly talk about it.  It is so hard to grasp, and the mental wheels of self-blame, and thinking over " what ifs..." is pure torment.  I logically understand it was not my fault, and that I was there for her and told her many times that I loved her.... but its still hard to stop those wheels from spinning sometimes. I miss her so much. 

 

This is an article that I wrote ( I hope I am allowed to post it--it is not spam or selling anything). I continue to be amazed at how many clicks this gets, and I am glad.... because of all of my posts, this is the one I most would want to be viewed. It is my little voice contributing to the effort of breaking the stigmas.  It details both the issues surrounding suicide and mental illness in general, as well as what I experienced through the loss of my precious sister.

 

https://delaneylynnlostinthought.wordpress.com/2015/09/22/september-is-national-suicide-prevention-month/

 

 

  I hope that you and your family can find understanding and peace. I am so sorry, my heart goes out to you.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've had time to reflect on all of this. I'm less bothered now. I think some of them are simply in denial, to be honest. Though to be fair, I know everyone grieves in their own way. His funeral was not done until after Christmas, as his wife didn't want to put that burden on the living, our her own family (she and her sons). I didn't attend, I couldn't. From what I understand, only those in California attended and everyone else did not go. Thanks for the condolences. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I first just wanted to thank everyone for their comments on this page. I came across this forum and felt like it was time to share some of what I've been dealing with over the years. I haven't had a chance to do this much, so I hope my words will at least be somewhat applicable to what's already been discussed. I've never posted in a forum, so please bear with me. I'm currently in a program offered by the LDS church, specifically through BYU-Idaho called Pathway. It's an educational opportunity that I've needed for years to get back into studying and school. I love it and it has caused me to do some serious thinking this week about my life, what's happened in it, and how God has used symbolism to touch me in a way that was specific to me.

When I was 16, my brother-law committed suicide. A few years later, another brother-in-law took his life. Over Easter weekend of 2014, my sister took her life. While each suicide affected me in some way, shape or form over the years, this last one was really hard for me and my family. She was my buddy, my sis and my friend. I can't begin to imagine what it would have been like if we would have been able to be inside her head, thinking the thoughts, feeling the feelings, being present inside her mind during those most difficult times. I think about my parents, her kids, my other siblings, her co-workers, and get overwhelmed sometimes, even still, with the thoughts that must race through their minds knowing she's gone. Yep, I stress about what other people might be stressing about, lol.

On the day of my sister's funeral, I prayed. I prayed a lot. After the interment, my wife had to take my son home, and I was going to my parent's place, so we drove separately. I was alone in my car on the drive home and I prayed some more. I cried out to God that in some way I might have a reassurance that she was doing okay; that she was safe. That's all I wanted. As I was coming around a bend on the freeway, I looked out to the west in the Salt Lake valley and saw the most amazing, beautiful and vibrant sunset I had ever seen in my life. Ever. I've seen plenty of sunsets, but it is my belief that on that day, at that moment, God had made that one just for me. I'm a man in my thirties, so call it cheesy and cliché if you will, but that one was mine and it was God saying, "She's okay." I just needed those two words. I believe God has the ability to speak to us using symbols throughout our lives. Has anyone else ever had an experience similar to this? A similar thing happened to me after the first suicide happened in our family.

Our family has had our share of mixed feelings too like Bini pointed out. My Dad reminds me all the time that he's still mad. My other sister wants to smack her upside the head, and I still can't believe she's gone. I watch her two adult sons struggle all the time with it and don't know how to help them.

What I want to express most though is that I know I couldn't be pushing along like I have had it not been for a firm belief that I'll be okay, that she's okay and that things are in God's hands. This week in our class, I read this scripture which has given me some relief, hope and joy, knowing that God is in charge. I know it wasn't referring to suicide in the verse, but it sure hit home considering what I've shared above:

"O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster." - 2 Nephi 9:10, Book of Mormon

I know I'll see her again. I wish I could have talked with her more. I know we all struggle when it happens close around us. For those of you that have had this happen in your family, how are you doing? How are you dealing with it?

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21 hours ago, mcurtis80 said:

...knowing that God is in charge...

Today's lesson in Priesthood/Relief Society was related to "Adversity". Our instructor in High Priest lost his teenage daughter to suicide about 7 months ago, so it is still very heavy on his heart. He shared how he has found solace in the statement you made above and by the fact that he has to see things in the eternal timeline not just in the now. 

Knowing of his lose a couple of months ago, I read a wonderful talk on suicide by Elder Ballard: Suicide: Some Things We Know, and Some We Do Not

Our High Priest Instructor, and my personal dear friend, played the following video for us as well: The Refiner's Fire

May our Heavenly Father bless you mcurtis80. Thank you for posting and we hope you will stick around and share with us all in many areas on the forums. 

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