Navigating life after a suicide loss

Losing a loved one to suicide is difficult and can be overwhelming. The ripples of impact from a loss can be far-reaching, including family and friends, co-workers, and community members. We acknowledge these painful emotions and can help you or a loved one navigate the grieving process after a suicide loss.

There is no “right” way to grieve the loss of a loved one to suicide. If you are struggling, there is support available.

Connecting with Support

Find a support group. You don’t have to cope with your loss alone. Foundation 2 Crisis Services provides free support groups for suicide loss survivors. Learn more here.

From the Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Do what feels right to you. Don’t feel pressured to talk right away. Do what feels right to you. If you choose to discuss your loss, speaking can give your friends and family the opportunity to talk to you in an appropriate way.

Write. You may find it helpful to write your feelings or to write a letter to your lost loved one. This can be a safe place to express some of the things you were not able to say before their death.

Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to let your friends provide support to you, or to look for resources in your community such as therapists, co-workers, to family members.

The Foundation 2 crisis line is available 24/7 to help provide support, including with emotions after a loss to suicide. Our trained crisis counselors are experienced in navigating life after a loss to suicide and can help you navigate your current feelings and make a plan for the future.

Taylor’s Story

In this month’s episode of “When Life Gets Tough,” Taylor Vanderlind shares her personal story of loss and resistance after her dad died by suicide in 2018. Following his passing, Taylor has become a dedicated advocate for mental health services, and suicide prevention and intervention. She now lives in Cedar Rapids and partners with Foundation 2 on community projects and advocacy.

“The biggest thing is about honoring the person how you remember them, not about how you are sad. Everybody’s sad. It’s okay to be sad. Being sad is a part of the grief. But finding things that were special about that person and honoring those things and (remembering) those things, and the people that all loved him, having them all together as support, I think made a big difference.”

Suicide content warning: this podcast episode contains a substantial discussion about suicide and thoughts of suicide. Please use discretion when listening.*
*Podcast timestamps for content navigation:
00:00 – 1:06 – Introduction
1:07 – 5:49 – Taylor’s personal story about suicide loss (content trigger warning)
5:50 – 9:43 – The grieving process
9:44 – 11:54  – Practicing resilience   
11:55 – 13:44 – Becoming an advocate
13:45 – 12:58 – Words of comfort and advice
12:58 – 16:53 – Honoring a loved one
16:54 – 17:38 Available support services & conclusion

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