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Lost sort of a nephew...

The son of a very close friend, someone that I call my sister, had her step-son commit suicide last Wednesday. He has been on family vacations with us for over a decade, and my four daughters considered him (David) to be a big brother.

ALL of my daughters are distraught by this, as any of his friends are, but two of them actually lived with David, and one of my 18 yr old daughters found him in the home after he committed suicide.

As a parent, I grieve the loss of someone that to me was like a nephew, and I grieve for the loss by my daughters, and for his parents.

What I want to ask is how can I help my daughter that discovered the body process through this. It is bad enough to lose someone, but the last image of him that she has in her head is horrible. I am VERY worried for my daughter, and feel helpless.

Any advice out there from you guys?

Note: Yes, we already have three of the daughters in counseling.
Hi Wink,

I can't truly empathise, having been on the other side of the fence as it were - however some thoughts immediately spring to mind based partly on intuition and how my Dad seems to have dealt with preventing me going the same way.

(In no particular order)

*Stick with the counselling - it may feel like some days it goes nowhere but I've found when I was in counselling - where I was almost mourning a part of my life I no longer had - that talking it over is the best start, particularly in an envirionment like counselling where it's non-confrontational and directed.

*Try not to blame yourselves...I don't know David's reasons for taking his own life, but understand that depression and mental illness do not discriminate, they can strike anyone at any point - depression is irrational for the sufferer, his motives and reasoning would have seemed clear to him no matter how senseless they seem to an onlooker.

*For the reasons noted above - don't play the 'If Only' game - you dealt with him as you did because you did not know he was suicidal - he did not tell you - you are blameless.

That's the advice that immediately springs to mind - feel free to ask any questions or PM me, I hope that's helpful and that you're able to grieve in a safe way.

Much love,

total eclipse

SF Friend
Staff Alumni
I am sorry for your loss i do hope all involved are getting therapy. When ready just listen to her okay get her to express her sadness in writing or other ways. grief therapy is so helpful hugs

Great words, well written. I just shared it with my wife, and it made perfect sense to her. The irrational part especially.

Total Eclipse,

Thanks, the counseling isn't doing any good yet, but hopefully they will get something out of it. Only two session in so far, second was yesterday, and two daughters find it worthless, especially speaking to a stranger.

Thanks to you both.
Hi Brian,

As Total Eclipse says, it will take time - for counselling to work a certain amount of trust needs to build and that can only happen over time - indeed sometimes the benefits can only be seen retrospectively.

One other piece of advice which occurs (and more may come, my head is something akin to a pinball machine!), is that you are allowed to have off-days. What you're dealing with is traumatic and horrible in the worst way, it is not always a linear line to being at peace with what has happened - I use that phrase because 'recovery' seems wrong somehow...Nevertheless there will be days where this thing just hits you and ruins life for a time - that happens, it is called the grieving process and that's what it is - a process. But over time you will find this happens less to the point where you know how to deal with it should it come along again.

Think of it not as forgetting David, just finding better ways to remember him.

*If not applicable - please hurl advice with great force from great height - although I hope you don't have to...*

Much love,
Think of it not as forgetting David, just finding better ways to remember him.
Thanks Chris, this is very similar to something that I wrote today.

"David, thanks for being a part of our lives, I choose not to miss you in sadness, but to remember you with a smile on my face."

Positive memories of the past vs. negative memories of what we will miss in the future.

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