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Interacting with Others – You as the Teacher.

As strange as this may sound, your loss has made you a “teacher”. Many of your family, friends and acquaintances have not experienced a major loss, or if they have, are cradling it in their hearts alone, so they do not know what to say or do in case it upsets or offends you. Many people find dealing with someone in mourning very scary. You, even in all your grief, will have to let them know that it is ok to approach you. This may be easiest by sending an email or asking someone who is already supporting you to print up a letter. The contents can be as simple as this example:

Dear Family and Friends,

I know you may be afraid of  approaching or contacting me in case I get upset, and perhaps  you are afraid you might cry too, but please do not be. I might cry but we can both handle that together and I won’t always cry. Please use ______________ name and talk about him/her. If you are not sure if you should talk about a particular thing then just ask me if I want to talk about it. Sometimes just sitting/walking with me awhile is all that’s needed and other times just letting me talk while you listen. Even an email lets me know I’m not alone. It’s ok to contact me on “special” days like anniversaries/ birthdays/ Christmas.

Mourning doesn’t mean I have to be left alone -  though sometimes I may want to be alone. Yes, you can invite me places . Sometimes I will be able to say “yes” and other times I will not have the strength- but I will greatly appreciate your asking. Remember me  and include me as time goes by.

Grief  isn’t something that can be “fixed” or “gotten over”, it is something that each person has to work through, and the loss adapted to, in their own time. There are no “quick fixes”. Processing the grief from a suicide death can take many years - there are so many questions and so many confusing emotions.

Because grief is a very emotional journey, there will be times when I may not be the easiest or nicest person to be around but please persist. If the time comes, just say “ I’m here to support you. I know you are having a difficult time. Perhaps we need some time out. Would you like to go for a walk/drive/ take a rest?”  (Even though I’m grieving I still have to take responsibility for my actions and words, but cut me a little slack please.)

A major loss like this does change people, I will not be quite the person you knew before and “yes”, you can mention the word “suicide.” Please try to learn a little about suicide prevention as well, as we don’t want this to happen to anyone else’s loved one. (www.suicidology.comwww.suicidepreventionfnq.org.au ) People do not suicide because they are “bad” or “evil”, they suicide because they feel overwhelmingly distressed and their “brain talk” has convinced them they have run out of options.

If you have photos or stories of _____________ please let me see/hear them. Let us remember this very special person for his/her life. Don't let _____________ death overshadow the part he/she played in our lives.                

Your friend.


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SOS Survivors of Suicide Bereavement Support Association Inc. ABN 15 084 233 358. Ph: 1300 767 022
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