Grieving with family and friends
Suicide prevention

Grieving with family and friends

Different people grieve differently; and this means that grieving with others can be healing, and hold its own challenges. What can you do to support yourself and others?

Ranjitha Jeurkar

If you’re part of a family, or a group of friends, all of whom are dealing with the loss:

  • Respect that every person has their own way of grieving, and that may be different from how you’re dealing with the loss. For some people, it could be about acknowledging or talking about the person who died; others may want to grieve more privately. If their ways of processing these difficult emotions are not in alignment with your value-system, recognize that this is what they need to do to cope right now.

  • Creating a space where you all can remember the person who passed can help you acknowledge what they mean to you, and, the impact of the loss itself. This could be done through means of a ritual , participating together in something the deceased used to be fond of, or sharing memories of times spent with them.

  • That said, if you prefer to grieve in private, you don’t need to feel obligated to bring people together for this purpose.

Be patient with yourself and others. Awareness around suicide is low, and few people are likely to experience a loss such as this one. It’s okay if you, or those around you don’t know how to deal with the flurry of emotions that this causes. Be patient with those who don’t understand what you’re going through; but draw your boundaries clearly. While you can empathize or see how others may not be able to understand the situation the way you do, you needn’t continue spending time with them or confiding in them.

This article is part of a series on Understanding and coping with a loss to suicide. Read the other articles in this series:

1. Why suicide grief can be complex

2. What does grief look like?

3. Self-care in the immediate aftermath

4. On the need to understand why

5. Where should you seek help?

6. Grieving together with family and friends

7. Breaking the news to others

8. What to do with the note

This series has been compiled with inputs from Shweta Srinivasan, psychologist, The Mind Clan and suicide bereavement support group manager at Sisters Living Works and Nyana Sabharwal, co-founder of We Hear You, a suicide support bereavement group.

White Swan Foundation
www.whiteswanfoundation.org