Everyone reacts differently to the shock that someone they know has died. There’s no right way to grieve, and everyone’s got different ways of dealing with their feelings. Lots of people feel disbelief or they go into denial and just carry on as normal as though nothing has happened. They try and pretend that things are the same as they always were so they don’t have to deal with their feelings at that particular time. Other people get angry, sometimes at a specific person, or with the world in general or even at the person who’s died. It’s not that unusual for people to blame themselves, even though, really, they weren’t to blame at all. Visit our Support After Suicide page.
No matter what we think about our family, when one of them dies, it’s hard to deal with. When we’re close to someone, it’s easy to feel guilty that we didn’t do something that we think might have helped to save them, whatever it is that they died from. People feel anxious about how they’re going to cope and can have problems with sleeping or find that they lose their appetite, feel tired all the time or feel really down and lonely. The important thing to realise is that all these are normal things to feel when someone dies.
Let’s be honest – we don’t always find it easy to talk about how we feel. People can find it really hard to talk to someone they know, especially seeing that they might be upset too, or perhaps the person who’s died is the person that we would normally talk to. People find it hard talking about death and dead people, and so other people might not know what to say to you or how to bring the subject up. They’re not being out of order, they’re just out of their depth. It’s often easy to talk to someone you don’t know – someone who isn’t going to judge you, who doesn’t know your family or friends. It might help talking to someone over the phone, rather than face to face. Why not try calling CALM?
Speaking to someone
Coming to terms with someone dying doesn’t mean we forget that person, or that they stop being important to us. It’s alright to be upset. It’s normal and there’s no shame in showing our emotions. There’s no time limit on grief and don’t rush yourself or let others rush you. CALM isn’t there to judge. Just to listen.
Bereavement by suicide / sudden traumatic death
Suicide is the single biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK, and nearly 80% of all suicides in the UK are male. Dealing with a bereavement following a suicide is unfortunately only too common, but there are agencies and people out there who would like to help.
CALM host the Suicide Bereavement Support Partnership which aims to secure timely and appropriate support for those bereaved by suicide. Visit the website, which is a fantastic source of information, here: www.supportaftersuicide.org.uk
The Dept of Health and NHS have produced a handbook, ‘Help Is At Hand’, on bereavement by suicide and sudden traumatic death. There’s information in there about grief by suicide, what you can expect to feel, coping mechanisms, and a contact list of useful addresses at the back. You can download Help is at Hand as a PDF HERE
The CALM office can post you some hard copies of ‘Help is at Hand’, so if you would like a copy or more information about how CALM can support you, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also contact Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS) who are there to help those specifically bereaved in this way. They offer support information, help by email, support groups and a national helpline. Visit their website HERE.
There is a Guide to the Coroner’s Investigations HERE, which explains what is involved in an Coroner’s Inquest and gives details of where you can get more information.