When Someone You Love Decides to Die from Suicide

ErinSurvival18 Comments

When someone you love decides to die by suicide, you are left feeling shaken to the core. Someone in my extended family died by suicide ten days ago. I’m really really upset.

I loved this family member very very much, but I couldn’t afford the $1000 plane ticket to go to his funeral. I feel so guilty for not being physically there to pay my respects. To grieve.

And I feel so guilty because I thought I was this mental health expert. And I am…I just didn’t see this coming. I hadn’t talked to this family member in years. Not beyond Facebook message.

We’d lost touch after his wife had died. And his kids grew up, I grew up, our lives changed. Yet I thought we were part of this unspoken agreement to stay there for one another. To stay ALIVE for one another.

I realize that no matter how much I educate myself on mental health, I can’t protect anyone from their pain. And I want to. I want to save everyone.

This hurts so much. This inability to do anything to help hurts so much. This family member he took action that ended his chances for ever getting help.

I feel angry and I feel guilty. I feel nauseous. I feel love. I feel regret.

I feel this like a punch in the stomach that never stops landing. I feel shaken, like a ghost is screaming at me to DO SOMETHING and I can’t move a muscle. It’s too late. I’m too late.

I know from experience that when I’ve felt suicidal, I was not rational. I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I couldn’t think straight. There was no room in my head to contemplate how my death would devastate everyone I knew. All I could think was, “I HAVE TO MAKE THIS FEELING STOP RIGHT NOW.”

Having written that last paragraph, I feel a little less guilty about not somehow being able to save this person I care so much about. As far as I know, he was trying to make his feelings stop in the only way he felt he could.

That does not mean his decision to end his life was acceptable or right. But…it happened. He died. It’s too late for any of us to help him. He made it too late.

Fuck, fuck, fuck!

I hate my life a lot of the time, but I love it enough to keep going. I feel so thankful for that.

All I can do is keep my life jacket on and remain floating. I can’t look down into the depths of the ocean. I have to look at the sky. The giant sky that is there for me to take in. It’s there for you, too.

When you can’t keep swimming, just stay afloat.

ErinWhen Someone You Love Decides to Die from Suicide

18 Comments on “When Someone You Love Decides to Die from Suicide”

  1. Nemya

    I’m so sorry for your loss. The grieving process is normal but that guilt is suffocating. May you be comforted and strengthened. <3

  2. K

    I’m sorry. Losing someone to suicide is brutal. Especially so when you have a deeper understanding of it yourself – it’s like it speaks specifically to you.

    Your ending phrase, “When you can’t keep swimming, just stay afloat,” reminds me of my maxim, that’s helped me: survive the bad days, capitalize on the good.

  3. Amy

    I’m sorry for your loss. When we know how much something hurts, we always want to keep others from experiencing that same pain, but can’t save everyone. Know that your words have done much to help and heal others.

  4. Deniz

    Your stories are inspiring and your writing is capturing, thank you so much for sharing.
    I’m starting a new online project that features inspiring stories and poetry about depression. I struggled with depression for many years and now I’m a therapeutic yoga consultant who specializes in depression. If you would like one of your articles to be featured on the upcoming platform Depression Decoded, please feel free to contact me. I will include a link at the end of your article to your website, so it can also serve as a good promotion. Check out my website if you first want to know who I am :-)



  5. Jamie

    I periodically check back to your website every few weeks to see if anything new has been posted. I just saw this tonight, and all I can say is that I get it. While not family, a co-worker committed suicide not that many weeks ago. I struggled with MANY feelings after that suicide… ranging from everything that you felt and described here, as well as the feelings I had to sort through because I went to the funeral. I feel as if I mostly processed it now and can adequately “move on” so to speak but it is hard. Like you, I knew the lack of rational thought process behind this action while other people learned about it by researching it on a computer. Like you, I felt bad that this person got to that place and didn’t say anything or didn’t let anyone help them. Like you, I wished that that person would just come back and choose something different… something not permanent. While I felt this, I also felt anger at them for doing it. People that are more sensitive, that have struggled with depression, I think process this a little bit different. I think that we think that we should KNOW when someone is in this place… but we don’t… because the reality is that they are just as good at hiding their pain as we were at hiding ours at one point. I don’t know you, or your loved one, but I can say that we can’t help everyone. Depression is more complicated than putting words over a wound. But I can also tell you that your blog helps me… helps others (although I can’t speak for them) because I Know when I read your writing I often think….. oh, I GET that. And I am not alone. I am finally out of my dark place for the moment and actually in a really “light” place. But your words matter. Your raw feelings filled with truth matter. And they help. Thank you SO much for just being you. You have no idea how many people you are helping at the moment. Hopefully, you can keep that thought in mind on the days when that lie fills your head that tell you that you failed your family member. You didn’t fail. I promise. It was just bigger than you. And who knows… whatever facebook messages you exchanged at one time might have helped him hold off longer and you might not know that. You are a success. You matter. You are a blessing.

  6. That Girl Wearing Glasses

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I know in my suicide attempts, I wasnt thinking at the time. You’re right, its just the all consuming need to make everything stop. I am so sorry for your pain but you will get through it. I’ve just started reading your blog and much like myself, you seem to be a bit of a conundrum in that you both hate and love your life. Its the love bit we should focus on. Remember who the person was, love who the person was, not who they may have been. I think its important to focus on what we had with a person and what we have instead of what could have been, something thats hard for me as I’m currently relapsing. I wish you all the best and all my positive thoughts. Stay strong

    TGWG x


  7. Beth

    I’m so, so sorry. My condolences.
    I can’t pretend to know exactly how you feel, of course, but I understand the helpless how helpless it feels when you can’t shield everyone you love from pain… it hurts so much. I wish you didn’t have to go through this.
    Thank you for writing.

  8. kaylee

    I’m sorry for your loss and the emotions you are feeling.
    “when you can’t keep swimming, just stay afloat.” really helped my mental state today.
    I hate those moments when I feel like I’m sinking to the bottom. But there is only one way to go from here, up.
    Keep positive.
    Feel free to e mail.

  9. Maddie

    I found your blog after feeling like I’ve hit rock bottom for the millionth time in my life. I googled “I want to cut myself” and your blog was the first to pop up. After binge reading all of your posts, thank you. I’m still here with no cuts. Everything you write about speaks so much to me. I use to self harm for years. I’m still in the mourning process of losing a friend in a freak car accident a few months ago so seeing this post was like a “sign” that I needed. Keep fighting, girl. You’re pretty awesome.

  10. A

    I’m not sure exactly how I landed on your blog this morning, but I couldn’t convince myself to navigate away from the page without leaving a short comment. I’m sorry for your loss. I won’t pretend to know what it’s like to lose someone under these circumstances, but I do know what it’s like to get stuck in the empty void of depression, and how it feels when you can’t find a way into the light. Thank you so much for your thoughtful posts. Without even knowing you, they make me feel like I’m not alone in this, and help me to keep focus and push forward for another day.

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