Sadly, despite your best efforts, suicide is not always preventable. Guilt seems to be an emotion universal to all who are left behind after a loved one’s suicide, and overcoming it might be your greatest obstacle on the path to healing. You are not responsible for your loved one’s choice to end their life.
“Parents need to remind themselves that, while they have great influence over their children’s lives, they do not personally create every aspect of their children’s being. . . . From their earliest years, children are shaped by an assortment of outside influences [and internal conditions] beyond the control of parents. Even children and teenagers have to bear responsibility for their actions.
“Spouses also tend to feel acutely guilty for a suicide. The natural partnership that comprises marriage implies a mutual responsibility to look after each other. But spouses need to realize that the root causes of suicide—notably clinical depression—are beyond the control of even the most devoted husband or wife” (Jeffrey Jackson, “SOS: A Handbook for Survivors of Suicide” [American Association of Suicidology], yourlifecounts.org).
These principles also apply to a child whose parent, sibling, or friend dies from suicide—the child is not to blame for their loved one’s suicide.
If you are having significant difficulty dealing with your loved one’s passing, seek help from your bishop or a mental health professional in your community.
Church and Community Resources
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