our small town was recently devastated by a murder/suicide. Having grieved
numerous deaths by suicide personally, my heart goes out to the family and
friends left behind. While I did not know the families involved, my heart hurts
for them; I can only imagine the consuming agony they must feel. Surviving
Michael’s suicide was gut-wrenching at times, but I cannot begin to fathom the
pain of knowing that someone I love not only took his own life, but someone else’s
How can you
minister to family and friends whose loved one has committed such a travesty?
This is someone’s son, someone’s niece, someone’s sister, someone’s friend…
What do you say when there are no words?
friends need to know that you love them unconditionally and that you hurt with
them. Being there for them, crying with them, offering to do small tasks such
as housecleaning or laundry shows them you care. Don’t judge family members
based on current circumstances; they need support now more than ever. They do
not want you to judge their loved one’s entire life but their final actions. Just
as you would listen and share stories with those who died by natural causes, be
willing to listen to favorite memories.
and friends may feel guilt over what happened. Lovingly assure them that they
are not to blame for someone else’s actions…there may have been warning signs
that were missed, and friends and family will be tempted to beat themselves up
over these. “If only I’d …” The thought is that someone I could have prevented
this from happening and yet I didn’t. In most cases, the opposite is true: you could not have prevented this from
happening no matter what you had done. Statistics show that people who have
lost someone to suicide often struggle with suicidal tendencies in the
aftermath of their loved one’s death. If you or your friend are struggling to
process what has happened, find a trusted pastor or counselor to talk where you
can wrestle through the complicated grief.
you to click here and read the story of a woman who survived her son’s
murder/suicide. She offers suggestions for survivors to help them in the
find a SOS (survivors of suicide) support group where you can meet with others
who have faced similar loss. You can find a local chapter by visiting here.
If you have
been touched by a murder/suicide know that my prayers are with you.
Labels: Mental Health, Suicide