Surviving the Suicide of Your Child
Resources, Books, Support
Find resources, books, support groups, and narratives from parents who lost a child to suicide below.
Many of these resources have helped me survive these past nine years of grieving.
That’s when my world changed. That’s when hope for me became something I used to have. That’s when I lost my 20-year-old son, Dylan, to suicide.
Carrying on in the wake of his suicide has meant seeking support, resources, and groups. Many of the resources below have helped me find a way to keep going after my child’s suicide. Perhaps they will help you too.
Coping with Suicide Loss
Iris Bolton, the author of “Beyond Surviving: Suggestions for Survivors,” has written several books about suicide loss, grief, and healing. Her book, My Son, My Son, helped me feel less alone. Bolton writes about losing her son to suicide, stories of hope and healing, and grief after suicide loss.
“Beyond Surviving: Suggestions for Survivors”
by Iris M. Bolton
1. Know you can survive; you may not think so, but you can.
2. Struggle with “why” it happened until you no longer need to know “why” or until YOU are satisfied with partial answers.
3. Know you may feel overwhelmed by the intensity of your feelings but that all your feelings are normal.
4. Anger, guilt, confusion, forgetfulness are common responses. You are not crazy, you are in mourning.
5. Be aware you may feel appropriate anger at the person, at the world, at God, at yourself. It’s okay to express it.
6. You may feel guilty for what you think you did or did not do. Guilt can turn into regret, through forgiveness.
7. Having suicidal thoughts is common. It does not mean that you will act on those thoughts.
8. Remember to take one moment or one day at a time.
9. Find a good listener with whom to share. Call someone if you need to talk.
10. Don’t be afraid to cry. Tears are healing.
11. Give yourself time to heal.
12. Remember, the choice was not yours. No one is the sole influence on another’s life.
13. Expect setbacks. If emotions return like a tidal wave, you may only be experiencing a remnant of grief, an unfinished piece.
14. Try to put off major decisions.
15. Give yourself permission to get professional help.
16. Be aware of the pain in your family and friends.
17. Be patient with yourself and others who may not understand.
18. Set your own limits and learn to say no.
19. Steer clear of people who want to tell you what or how to feel.
20. Know that there are support groups that can be helpful, such as Compassionate Friends or Survivors of Suicide groups.
21. Call on your personal faith to help you through.
22. It is common to experience physical reaction to your grief, e.g. headaches, loss of appetite, inability to sleep.
23. The willingness to laugh with other and at yourself is healing.
24. Wear out your questions, anger, guilt, or other feelings until you can let them go. Letting go doesn’t mean forgetting.
25. Know that you will never be the same again, but you can survive and even go beyond just surviving.
Iris Bolton, Suicide and its Aftermath (Dunne, McIntosh, Dunne-Maxim, Norton et al., 1987). American Association for Suicidology
Suicide Grief Websites and Support Groups
Resources: Grief, Guilt, Hope
Support: Poems, Books, Reflections
A Collection of Poetry Featuring the Best Poems of Love, Loss, and Losing a ChildKeep reading
If You’ve Lost a Child to Suicide… These Resources May Be Helpful Few things can so devastate us as the suicide of a loved one, especially of one’s own child. Fr Ron Rolheiser Seven Resources for Support If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988. (Or 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).…Keep reading
Books and Resources on SuicideKeep reading
Loss Survivors A Note About Terminology: Loss Survivors are also called Survivors of Suicide–a confusing term used to depict those left behind after the suicide of a loved one. Using Loss Survivors as a term clarifies the confusion between the semantics of Survivors of Suicide–who are loss survivors–and Suicide Survivors (those who have attempted suicide…Keep reading
Instrumental Guitar Music (Written and Performed by Beth Brown, Dylan’s Mom) Does the Pain Ever End? To those of you that still feel you aren’t even sure you want to be here and you can’t imagine ever being happy again. The pain does change, it softens. You will want to live again and be able…Keep reading
Surviving Your Child’s Suicide Suicide is Not a Choice Current research absolutely supports the validity of mental illness. Current research and researchers in the mental health field know indelibly that suicide is not a choice your child makes. Beth Brown, My Forever Son Stopping the Stigma of Suicide The Stigma of Suicide As much as…Keep reading
More Resources and Support
The suicide of a child of any age presents unique circumstances that can intensify and prolong the mourning process for parents, family members and friends. Suicide is believed to be a reaction to overwhelming feelings of loneliness, worthlessness, helplessness, hopelessness and depression. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in the United States among 10-14 year olds and 15-24 year olds, and the second leading cause among 25-34 year olds.2017 The Compassionate Friends, USA
“Every 11 Minutes, Someone Dies by Suicide-A Look at the Staggering Suicide Facts and Figures”Beth Brown, My Forever Son
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada and China)
- Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (United Kingdom)
Coping with Impossible Grief: Losing a Child to Suicide
Nationally, suicide has emerged as the second leading cause of death for children ages 10-19 years old.
*Nearly 1 in 6 teens has seriously contemplated suicide in the past year.
*Suicide affects people of all backgrounds.
*Early identification of risk factors can aid behavioral health specialists in prevention strategies for youth at risk of suicide.
*Suicide is complex and tragic yet often preventable if communities are provided with the right tools.Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Center for Suicide and Research
Suicide Data and Statistics from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
SuicideData: United States State Fact Sheets
Online Support After Suicide Loss
Parents, Friends, Family Members
These two online groups offer support, hope, and healing for parents, friends, and families of those bereaved by the suicide of a child.
They are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Both online support groups for parents of suicides and families and friends of suicide are free.
These support groups for survivors consist of other bereaved parents (parents of suicides), and family and friends (Families and Friends of Suicide).