Dealing with news of a suicide

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by raylea, Dec 15, 2014.

  1. raylea

    raylea New Member

    Hello everyone,
    I posted some time ago about my son and his/our issues. I guess you could say we are in a holding pattern, no news from him. Have tried texting and calling a few times, no replies or answers.

    Then, last night I found out his best friend from school commited suicide. my son is 22, his friend the same age. During their middle school and high school years his friend lived with us off and on while his mom wasnt able to take care of him, psychological issues at first and then she had medical issues after that. In high school I think he came and stayed with us primarily because it was just too much for him. His mom was home but just wasnt well, I never really questioned too much, just was there for him. I always laughed to myself because he always seemed to show up when we were about to eat. Of course there was always a plate for him.

    He and my son were so much alike. So very intelligent but never felt like they fit in with "the crowd". Of course they were tight friends. Then life happened, my son and his friend drifted apart at the close of high school. I moved away, my son moved away and so did his friend. he was never far from my mind though when I would see a mention of a certain video game they always played, or a song from a band they liked and would listen to at our house.

    And then last night I heard the awful news. It has affected me so deeply. I think partly because he was like my own son and i cared deeply for this kid and I also feel how easily it could be my own son. His friend had talked with me about things before and it was obvious he suffered from depression. Same as my son. Shortly after my son moved away we were talking on the phone and he told me how unhappy he was and had always been. How he wanted to end it all and be free. of course I told him to Occupational Therapist (OT) talk like that, I loved him so much just hang on, things will get better. He got really upset with me and said "mom, if you really loved me you would accept my decision and let me do what I need to do". That was so profound. If our loved one is truly tired of life and you have honestly seen them struggle with happiness from the time they were old enough to walk, is it sefishness to beg them to stay? Is it just that WE dont want the pain of having them say good bye forever? WE dont want to live with the stigma of having a child take their own lives? " " I would rather you live miserable than me have to suffer losing you" My rational mind tells me to not even think like that. I guess my emotional mind also. Am I a terrible person for thinking like that? I just cant "wrap my head around" this thought and feel terrible.

    Anyway, Im 99% sure my son doesnt know about his friends passing. I have been trying to contact him but I think his phone is dead. I want to talk with him so bad but also dread when the time comes and having him find out. Im afraid it will be just enough to tip the scales in his mind and something terrible happens. Im also worring that he already knows and wont or cant have the support he needs for such tragic news.

    Please any thoughts or advice, feeling so sad and afraid
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2014
  2. GuideMe

    GuideMe Active Member

    No, you are not wrong for feeling that way. I have thought a lot about why people commit suicide, had it happen to someone very close, a couple of people in fact, and one time, I was on the brink of it myself. Right there at the door. The door was just waiting for me to knock. I didn't want to end my life. I wanted to live. But I wanted the pain to stop. The unrelenting pain. It felt like there was an iron on my soul for a very long time. The emotional pain was torture and although I have suffered from severe depression for a long time, I never suffered anything like that before in my entire life. I think the human mind can only take so much. Sometimes, I get very angry at God that I had to experience pain like that. It took a toll. My point is, I understand it. I understand now why and how people can actually take their own lives. I would never want someone like that to suffer, so I understand what you mean. You can't save everyone from suicide. When you think like you are right now "am I terrible person for thinking like that?", NO! YOU ARE NOT! It just means you have compassion.

    However, you don't want to lose your son to suicide, that's for sure. You have to challenge him every time he mentions it. If he says "mom, if you really loved me you would accept my decision and let me do what I need to do", you say to him, "son, I can't accept it because the reasons why you want to do it, everything bad you believe about yourself, are false. I can't accept a decision that you can never take back because they are derived and based on false reasons. Even if some of the things you believe about yourself are true , everyone deserves forgiveness and a chance to be happy, no matter how bad the sin or sins. And for all who committed trespasses against you, you didn't deserve it. You didn't deserve it. So no, I cannot accept your decision, especially since I truly don't know what the reasons are. I know you have things that deeply, deeply bother you that you refuse to tell me or anyone else about that are hidden deep down inside. You once and for all need to let it all come to light so you can get help, forgiveness, truth, healing and then happiness. Again, I refuse to accept a decision like that without at least knowing the truth, the real truth and all of the truth and even if you don't tell me, at least you can tell someone else, but you can't tell me that you have tried ALL that you can, you cannot tell me that with a straight face, so no I will not accept it." Maybe you can text or email him that. Take what you want from it, re-write it, add some things, but at least it's something and it's a challenge to his thoughts of taking his own life. It seems that at this point in time, well at least before his boyfriend suicide, that he is taking your acceptance seriously by asking "why can't you just accept it?" That tells me, he needs your acceptance. Don't ever appear accept it. I know that you never would anyway. If he does ever commit suicide god for bid, it will be of his own mind making, but him asking you for acceptance, means you might have a say so in his decision in his opinion. At the end of the day, no matter what he decides, you could never be at fault for a decision like that. You can't blame yourself. However, I wouldn't tell him any of this right now. Right now, a crisis is happening. Or maybe you can, I really don't know. This is something I would use in the far future if the problem still exist months or years from now and if it gets to be too much, you might have to start calling the police every time he threatens it. You can't, (no one can) , talk someone out of a suicide all the time. It's just not possible.

    Everyone deserves a chance to be happy, they just got to believe it themselves that they are worth, no matter what might have happen to them or what they might have done themselves. They need to forgive themselves for whatever they perceived that they did wrong. They need to stop blaming themselves for things that were and were not their fault. They need to stop beating themselves up, especially for things they did when they were kids and teens.

    As for your worry about your son on how he is going to take the news, your concerns are valid. This is will change his world right now and cause major upset. However, it might take some time for him to digest it. When he finds out , he could very well go into shock and denial. Not feel anything for weeks or months, then bam, out of nowhere, all the feelings will hit him. So keep that in mind that he might seem fine now or for the first few weeks, but that could just be the shock and the shock does wear off. Or, it might him as soon as he finds out. You never know which way it will go, so be aware.

    At the very end of the day, he is 22 years old now. You can't stop your own life forever or until he gets better. That's just a fact. Things will happen in life and he needs to be strong enough to handle them. You don't deserve any of this either. He needs to get help for himself, he needs to find help for himself. That is not your job anymore. You can help where you can, but it is ultimately up to him. Maybe he should learn from his friends suicide that this is real. This is real life. Depression is real and he himself needs help for it, now or never. This isn't a joke anymore. Maybe it will be the wake up call your son needs. Maybe he can honor his friends suicide by getting help for himself. I would say that to him too if it is the right time.
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    Last edited: Dec 16, 2014
  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am so very sorry raylea. What a really sad place for you to be.

    I don't believe you can judge yourself for the feelings you're having, suicide has a deep and profound impact on everyone who knew the person. It's a very difficult thing for us to accept. Many of us have sat on that edge pondering that choice, but most of us back off of is hard to fathom a loved one making that choice.

    My son in law committed suicide so I understand a lot of what you're feeling, it has a different response then a normal death because it is a choice someone makes, a choice the rest of us don't understand. I wrestled with my response to my son in laws death for a long time, I didn't know how to feel about it. Many folks were angry, many were devastated, my daughter among the devastated, so I know the impact, and yet, since I was not in his shoes at that moment, I cannot judge him for slipping off that edge.

    The other part for you is telling your son the news and your worry about his reaction and the possibility he may someday make the same choice since he is so like the young man who died. That is a tough place to be. Do you have a therapist you might talk to about your feelings and how to proceed? Or a minister, or counselor? These are deep feelings which deserve to be expressed in a safe place where you can receive the guidance you require so that you can feel safe and cope with all the emotional responses suicide brings. After my son in law passed, I gathered up the children and my daughter and found professionals to help them. I found a suicide support group lead by a therapist that my daughter and I attended. It was very helpful to realize that all of my responses were quite normal. It was a place we could voice our feelings and listen to others who'd gone through the same experience. Getting some support for yourself will give you a better framework to hold this all in. It's a lot to take in.

    Find some support for yourself as soon as possible. There are professionals who deal with suicide specifically who are very knowledgable and can assist you and your son. I am so sorry. This is a hard place to be. There is a lot of grief. I hope this young man can rest in peace now. I hope you can find peace as well. Sending hugs and prayers for you and your son..........