SUPPORT GROUP | PARADOXES OF GRIEVING | EXPLAINING SUICIDE TO A CHILD | HOW TO LISTEN TO THE BEREAVED | RESPONDING TO SURVIVORS | FORGIVE HIM | SURVIVORS BILL OF RIGHTS
SURVIVORS OF SUICIDE SUPPORT GROUP
All are welcome, family, friends etc. The group meets the last Monday of every month (except in December it is the second Monday of the month)at:
Harrow United Church
955 Mulvey (corner of Harrow near Corydon) Winnipeg, MB
(click here for map)
Time: 7 - 8:30 p.m.
Mon. Nov. 30, 2009
Mon. Dec. 14, 2009 (Please note this is the 2nd
Mon. in Dec.)
Mon. Jan. 25, 2010
Mon. Feb. 22, 2010
Mon. Mar. 29, 2010
Mon. Apr. 26, 2010
Mon. May 31, 2010
Mon. June 28, 2010
Mon. July 26, 2010
Mon. Aug. 30, 2010
Mon. Sept. 27, 2010
Mon. Oct. 25, 2010
Mon. Nov. 29, 2010
Mon. Dec. 13, 2010(Please note this is the 2nd
Mon. in Dec.)
Please call 204-831-3610 for further information.
PARADOXES OF GRIEVING
- You will get worse before you get better
- To regain independence, allow yourself to be dependent
- You may have to be selfish before you can be selfless
- You may not want to be with others, yet you don't want to be alone
- When you mourn the deceased least, you may remember her/him best
- It isn't the mountains that wear you out, it is the little things that break us down
- Grieving is not easy. It takes physical and mental strength. Listen to your body.
- You may go forward and then backward. Remember to take baby steps.
EXPLAINING SUICIDE TO A CHILD
Some feelings children might feel after losing someone they love to suicide:
- Abandoned – that the person who died didn't love them
- Feel that the death is their fault – if they would have loved the person more or behaved differently, the death would not have happened
- Afraid that they will die too, or that others they love will die also
- Worried about who will take care of them
- Guilt – because they thought about the person's death
- Embarrassed – to see other people or to go back to school
- Angry – with the person who died, at God, at everyone
- Denial – pretend like nothing happened
- Numb – can't feel anything
- Wish it would all go away
Most children and adolescents have a multitude of feelings, or he/she may feel nothing at all. Whatever he/she is expressing, it is the role of the adult to help. Validate the child's feelings and experiences; give them the permission to let their feelings out. Never tell a child how he/she should feel, or discourage them from expressing negative emotions.
Information given to a child should be age appropriate. Some children are satisfied with a simple explanation, while others may ask for more details. A good way to start is to explain the role depression plays in a death by suicide. Over 90% of all suicides are attributed to untreated depression. Very simply, depression is a disease of the brain, and like other diseases (heart, stroke, diabetes) it needs the care of a physician. In cases where the child is knowledgeable or suffers from depression itself, it is imperative to stress that not all depressions end in suicide; with early intervention and proper treatment people who suffer from depression go on to live full lives.
One of the most important roles of an adult is to reassure the child that the deceased loved them, but because of the illness, he/she may not have been able to express their love. The child must also be told that it was not their fault and nothing they said or did, or didn't say caused the death.
Some older children might ask questions related to the morals of suicide. It is best to steer clear of this if possible. Suicide is not a moral/immoral choice – it is the end result of a major depression.
Children need to feel they can talk and ask questions whenever they feel the need. They also need to understand that they will always be loved and taken care of.
HOW TO LISTEN TO THE BEREAVED
You Are NOT listening when….
- You say you understand when you haven't had the same experience
- You have an answer for my problem before I've finished telling you what my problem is
- You cut me off before I finish speaking or finish my sentence for me
- You are determined to tell me something
- You tell me about your experience, making mine seem unimportant
- You are communicating to someone else in the room
- You refuse my thanks by saying you really haven't done anything
You ARE listening when…
- You really try to understand me even if I'm not making much sense
- You grasp my point of view even when it goes against your own sincere convictions
- You realize the hour we spent together has left me tired and drained
- You allow me the dignity of making my own decisions
- You do not take my problem away from me, but allow me to deal with it in my own way.
- You hold back your desire to give me good advice
- You do not offer me religious solace when you sense I am not ready for it
- You accept my gift of gratitude by telling me how good it makes you feel to know you have been helpful
- You come quietly into my private world and let me be me
When we don't know what to say and do and nothing seems to be needed, we can feel useless to our friends. But, one of the most important things we can do for a grieving friend is listen.
WHEN WORDS AREN'T ENOUGH
Responding to Survivors of Suicide
Coping with death is never easy. Most people do not know how to respond, especially when the cause of death is suicide. Although there is not one right or wrong way to grieve a death by suicide, through talking to many survivors, SPEAK has come up with the following recommendations that have been found to be useful and relevant. Understand that the primary cause of suicide is untreated depression .
1. EXPRESS SYMPATHY
Avoid statements like, “You'll marry again”, or “At least you have other children” or God needed another angel in heaven. These statements can be very upsetting. A heartfelt “I'm sorry for your loss” is appropriate.
2. UNDERSTAND THAT THE SURVIVOR MAY BE EXPERIENCING A NUMBER OF INTENSE EMOTIONS.
Shock, pain, anger, bewilderment, disbelief, yearning, anxiety, depression and stress are some of the feelings expressed by some survivors. Do not take rebuffs personally, try another time to visit or chat.
3. REMEMBER THAT GRIEF IS AN INTENSELY INDIVIDUALISTIC JOURNEY
Although you may have experienced grief in your life, avoid statements like “I know how you feel”, and don't compare the survivors loss to losses that you may have experienced.
Listening is the most helpful thing you can do for a survivor. Acknowledge the difficulty of the situation and make your self available if the survivor wants to talk. Take the initiative yourself, survivors have many things on their minds and social protocol is not one of them.
Sometimes a hug is worth more than a thousand words. A hug is a sign that you are there for your friend/family member and your feelings for them and the deceased will never change.
FORGIVE HIM - POEM
Forgive Him Forgive Her
For Leaving So Soon,
For Leaving Without Saying Goodbye,
For Leaving Without Preparing You,
For Leaving Without Fulfilling All the Promises,
For Leaving With a Piece of Yourself,
For Leaving With Your World of Dreams and Aspirations
SURVIVORS BILL OF RIGHTS
- I have the right to be free of guilt.
- I have the right not to feel responsible for the suicide death.
- I have the right to express my feelings and emotions, even if they do not seem acceptable, as long as they do not interfere with the rights of others.
- I have the right to have my questions answered honestly by authorities and family members.
- I have the right not to be deceived because others fell they can spare me further grief.
- I have the right to maintain a sense of hopefulness.
- I have the right to peace and dignity.
- I have the right to positive feelings about one I lost through suicide, regardless of events prior to or at the time of the untimely death.
- I have the right to retain my individuality and not be judged because of the suicide death.
- I have the right to seek counseling and support groups to enable me to explore my feelings honestly to further the acceptance process.
- I have the right to reach acceptance.
- I have the right to a new beginning. I have the right to be.
This particular Bill of Rights has been excerpted from E. Betsy Ross’s book “Life After Suicide: A Ray of Hope for those Left Behind”