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A Prayer for Those Who Have Lost Loved Ones to Suicide

A Prayer for Those Who Have Lost Loved Ones to Suicide

“It is a serious thing just to be alive on this fresh morning in this broken world.” — Mary Oliver

Losing a loved one to suicide shapes your life forever. Even knowing someone who’s lost someone to suicide can change your life.

Suicide loss presents a unique kind of grief, complicated by unanswered questions, stigma from those who don’t understand, and sometimes immense guilt in the face of such devastation.

It’s uncomfortable to talk about. Which is why we should talk about it.

Today, for me, talking about suicide loss means writing a prayer for those who have survived it.

Whether you’ve lost a loved one to suicide or not, I think it’s important to show up to the conversation with compassion and an open mind — with the willingness to understand what someone else is going through or has gone through.

If you do know someone who's lost someone this way, please pass this prayer along to them as a heartfelt "I see you." It always makes me feel less solitary when people do that for me.

For better and for worse, for each other and for yourself, thank you for showing up for this life. It does mean the world to someone.

Losing a loved one to suicide shapes your life forever. Even knowing someone who’s lost someone to suicide can change your life. Suicide loss presents a unique kind of grief, complicated by unanswered questions, stigma from those who don’t understand, and sometimes immense guilt. It’s uncomfortable to talk about, which is why we should. Today, for me, talking about suicide loss means writing a prayer for those who have survived it.

A Prayer for Those Who Have Lost Loved Ones to Suicide

May we be free to grieve in our own ways.

May we take all the time we need to heal the wounds nobody can see.

May we give ourselves the compassion we wish our loved ones could have felt.

May we open our hearts even though it hurts, and recognize that it hurts because it mattered, and that our hearts are big enough to hold it all.

May we allow ourselves the space to process such great pain.

May we learn patience and forgiveness and accept that so many questions will not have answers.

May we never close our own lives to the support we know we need.

May the support systems we build teach us courage and faith, and to honor our loved ones’ lives and everything they were to us.

May the pain we carry grow lighter as we grow stronger.

May we find purpose in the darkness we’ve crawled through, and be brave enough to make meaning out of what we can’t change.

May we choose expression over silence, and solidarity over solitude.

May we create something beautiful out of what happened, whatever kind of beauty we’re drawn to, and may everything we do in love, be done for them.

In their name, may we learn to love all over again, and again, and again.

"May the radiance and beauty of their lives never be defined by their death." (unknown)

As we remember their light, may we feel that same light flowing through our veins.

No matter how long it’s been, may we feel their presence so completely, it’s almost as if they’ve never left.

. . .

Tell me:

What did you need to hear most today, or what did you need most back when your grief was brand new?

Tell me in the comments. Hearing your thoughts helps us all.

Love,

Jen

Losing a loved one to suicide shapes your life forever. Even knowing someone who’s lost someone to suicide can change your life. Suicide loss presents a unique kind of grief, complicated by unanswered questions, stigma from those who don’t understand, and sometimes immense guilt. It’s uncomfortable to talk about, which is why we should. Today, for me, talking about suicide loss means writing a prayer for those who have survived it.

Comments on this post (10)

  • Mar 21, 2021

    Thank you for sharing this, Jim, because it’s a very very difficult subject to talk about when it’s common to keep quiet about it. May we all know peace.

    — Jennifer Williamson

  • Mar 21, 2021

    My heart is saddened by the stories of loved ones lost to suicide – a uniquely tragic grief. I lost a good friend and neighbor (and my high-flying stockbroker) to a self-inflicted gun shot wound some thirty years ago. Arriving home I instantly knew why all the flashing lights of the first responders were at his house. My friend was dead. I knew why too. My friend was severely depressed and a heavy binge drinker. When a high-flying stick he promoted crashed he crashed too.

    Sometimes I think of that day and I am saddened. I can still see him riding his black Harley Sportster. I know depression and drinking too. I stopped drinking six years ago thanks to my family. I still fight the depression. Bob was my friend, neighbor and a good person. He wasn’t a son, a daughter, a father, a mother, a sister or a brother to me. Just a friend. Just a friend whose killer was himself and whose memory brings a tear.

    Bless you all and bless you Jen,

    — Jim

  • Mar 14, 2021

    Debbie, Madeleine’s mum ~ may you be surrounded by the love and grace of your daughter’s presence always. I am deeply sorry for your tremendous loss. I too have found that touching the depth of my sorrow as well as the height of my hope has helped me find my way through such great grief. I have to read about both, understand both, in order to be fully available to this new life. My heart goes out to you as you continue forward, with Madeleine’s love as your guide.

    — Jennifer Williamson

  • Mar 14, 2021

    Jennifer, thank you for taking the time and the great effort to be here, to consider how you are as you try to process what happened, to continue, to share, to express your emotions and struggle and pain here. I can say that for myself, it’s so helpful to read what you wrote.

    I am deeply sorry for the loss of your child and your love, Liam. My heart goes out to you. It takes so much from us to “carry on” after suicide. We have to build life-giving skills like compassion and mindfulness, we have to express ourselves honestly, and learn patience and acceptance to the max. It’s no small thing just to keep on trying and to be present for our lives.

    Also, I think we can only handle so much at one time – so much trauma, emotion, heartache. Our brains and hearts need time and space to process and heal. I’ve found my memories, happy and sad, have filtered back in slowly. It took a lot of time and a lot of healing inside before I was ready to remember what I thought I’d forgotten.

    Thank you for sharing what’s real and raw for you right now. Who knows who you might help or encourage by doing so. Together, we rebuild. x

    — Jennifer Williamson

  • Mar 14, 2021

    Debbie, I think when we speak about them and use their names and hear their names being used by others, it can be such a relief – in the way that expressing what’s otherwise pushed down and locked away is a relief. We need that. We need those conversations. I would give anything to hear my brother’s voice again, too. As the days and years go by, it always shocks me how clear and powerful his voice and presence can be in my mind, and in my heart. Sending you love and a big big hug as this important day comes by. With you. <3

    — Jennifer Williamson

  • Mar 14, 2021

    Thank you. This is beautiful. I am reading extensively, going toward the fire, and I need to read about both sorrow and hope to bear this.
    I’m glad I found your blog.

    Debbie, Madeleine’s mum (24)

    — Debbie

  • Mar 14, 2021

    Thank you Jen.

    — Jim

  • Mar 14, 2021

    Beautiful words are coming out of you. Your finding your rhythm and the notes of your words are pleasing to read.
    !

    — Jack Hurst

  • Mar 14, 2021

    “May we open our hearts even though it hurts, and recognize that it hurts because it mattered, and that our hearts are big enough to hold it all.”

    This speaks to me the most. Often I feel my heart cannot hold the enormity of my son’s death. I try to breathe and lean into the pain, which is counterintuitive and needed to be learned, yet this is a skill like any other. I try to ground into my body, and focus on something physical that I can see or hear or touch or feel. This gets me out of my head for a moment, and give my body the space to feel.

    There are so many complicated emotions with this type of death. My son, my love, was also the person who killed him. I try to access the good memories and recall the love, but it’s difficult to reach them. It’s as if I’ve disassociated myself from his memories to protect myself in some ways. I’m hoping they will start to filter back in time.

    Thank you for this post and for this space to express ourselves.

    Jennifer

    Liam’s mom (1998-2020)

    — Jennifer

  • Mar 14, 2021

    Thank you for this heartfelt writing! Today I need or would give anything to hear his voice again it will almost be four years on April 2nd. Second question I needed to hear his name and just someone saying it instead of not saying it because they didn’t want to bring up his death!

    — Debbie

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