Suicide and the ones left behind
By Lana Cheaito Hood

People around me committing suicide made my eyebrows fall out.  Obviously this wasn’t the most standout part of the events, or the most difficult to deal with.  But let me just tell you, having an ugly crying face is one thing.  Having an ugly crying face AND no eyebrows.. that was a whole other kettle of crap.  Suicide is heartbreaking for the ones left behind.

Unfortunately, in my short (but really realllllly long) 25 years, I’ve lost two very much loved people to suicide.  Within a really short space of time.  My stepdad passed away in 2010, and my ex boyfriend and friend did the same the year after.

Suicide and the ones left behind

Everyone grieves in their own way

When something like this happens, everyone affected by the event reacts in different ways.  For me, both times, I had to get out of my house and go and be with friends and talk about nothingness.  I could not even begin to sort out the thoughts in my head to be able to process anything.  There is literally not a single “right” way to deal with this sort of thing.  Everyone is totally different.  Some will cry immediately for hours, days, weeks even.

Others will do their grieving silently.  Nowadays, more and more people are taking to social media like Facebook and Twitter and Instagram to voice their grief – and that is absolutely fine.  People tend to be quite critical of this, as if it’s a cry for attention.  But from being the “status writing person”, it’s not that at all.  It is a way in our modern world of technology to vent and let out exactly what we’re feeling, sometimes in hope of support and kind words from those around us, other times just to get the words rattling around their thoughts, out of their head.

Questions in the minds of the ones left behind

Everyone has the same thing in common though.  Questions.  Why?  How?  Could I have done more?  How did it get to this?  What about the ones left behind to deal with everything?

A lot of people say suicide is selfish.  And in some ways, I understand exactly what they mean.  Especially when it comes to the family members, children, parents etc they’re leaving behind.  By choice.  But if you think about it really honestly.. imagine how much pain you must be in, to willingly leave the people you love the most.  The people who love you unconditionally.

When you look at it like that, you realise that, yes to us it’s devastating… but to them… I can’t even begin to fathom the feelings they must have.  That’s their only way out.  And instead of having resentment or anger, it’s important to remember that for them, this really was the only way for them to cope.  And it really isn’t actually anything to do with us.  The chances are, they didn’t want to leave their loved ones, but their pain overtook the love they felt for the ones left behind.

They didn’t want to leave people behind

I see how the suicide of people still has a place in the day to day lives of the ones who miss them.
I see it on Facebook, the Mum and Sister of my ex, (two of the kindest people I’ve ever met).  Their pain is still very much there, and will never really go away.  But so is the love given to them by everyone who likes or comments on their statuses and pictures.

I see it in my sister, who’s getting married this year – I know she feels sad that her Dad isn’t going to be there.  It breaks my heart that he won’t be there to see the insanely amazing person she’s becoming (not to mention the fantastic Mother she turned into the minute she sneezed my gorgeous nephew out).

In myself, well I already said about the crazy pills I’m on.  Anxiety is still a major part of my life, and if my boyfriend, mum or best friend doesn’t answer the phone, my first thought is that something terrible must have happened.  It’s brought me sadness, paranoia, mental health issues, anger problems, the list is endless.

The most vibrant, electric souls

I don’t want to go into too much detail about my Stepdad and Ex, because their stories aren’t mine to tell.  But what I will say is that they were both the most vibrant, electric souls I’ve ever met.  They had so many similarities.  They were always the loudest, funniest people in the room.  I’ve said many times before that there was a spark in them, something that drew people to them everywhere they went.  Both intelligent, kind and generous.  And in some way or another, they had so much impact on me, my life, and who I am today.  Why I look at the world the way I do.  Why I read certain things in people I probably wouldn’t have before.  And why I swear basically every other word when I talk.  But both unfortunately were battling some pretty big demons.

We need to talk about suicide

Suicide is a major cause of death, especially in males in the UK.  It’s only increasing.  So please remember, it is so important to talk about.  Whether you’re going through something, know someone who is going through stuff or just want to get more information… do it.  I look back and have so, so many regrets and so much guilt about not doing more, knowing that there was something wrong, with both of them, and not being there to help more than I did.  That’s something I have to live with forever, and I will.

But what I’m taking from that is I will do my absolute best to be there to offer an ear and words of advice and encouragement to absolutely anyone who needs it.  Hell, I’ll even shave my eyebrows so they can laugh at me if I have to.  (Please don’t make me, I looked like a thumb).

Remember you are loved.  And someone is always there to help.

Reproduced with permission, originally posted here: The Ones Left Behind 


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  1. Connie 20th September 2017 at 1:09 pm -

    I think this is spot on. I lost my sister to suicide in 2015. She was my best friend. She was also the most vibrant, laughing, beautiful person. She was the life of the party. In her note, she wrote, that although she was surrounded by people who loved her, she always felt alone. I don’t think she was selfish, I agree with you, she was in so much pain that she couldn’t she the light at the end of the tunnel anymore. I miss her every second of every day. Beautiful post.

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