How to move forward after losing a child by suicide

I lost my son to suicide just over three weeks ago. He was 19, a 2nd year university student who seemed to have everything to live for. He had been diagnosed with ‘mild depression’ and did all the things he was advised to do - he reached out, spoke to family and friends & had even booked a counselling session (which should have been last week) so it came as a total shock to everyone.

The last three weeks have been tough - I have experienced every emotion, but thought I was coping ok. I realise now that I am just at the start of a long journey. Yesterday was his funeral & today I am emotionally broken. I think the final goodbye has hit me hard & I cannot stop crying.

I keep wondering how I move forward from this. I haven’t been back to work yet. (I ‘m a secondary school teacher in a very deprived area) Going back just seems like an impossible task at the moment, yet I feel guilty for not being there for the students and part of me wonders if a phased return might be a good distraction to help me.

I’d appreciate advice from anyone else who has tragically been in a similar situation. When does it start to get easier? How do I move forward? What are your experiences of getting back to some normality & work?

Thank you,

Hello Jane70,

I can see that you’re new to the community. I hope you find it to be a support to you, but I am so sorry for the loss of your son which brings you here.

I know you’ve mentioned you’ve experienced every emotion, and that’s completely understandable. I wanted to share some sources of support that might help you right now.

  • Child Bereavement UK support families with the loss of a child. They also support bereaved children. You can call their helpline on 0800 02 888 40.

  • The Compassionate Friends support families who have lost a child of any age. You can call them on 0345 123 2304

Sue Ryder also has some resources which can help you cope with grief.

Thank you again for sharing – please keep reaching out and know that you are not alone.

Take care,

Dear Jane70. My daughter took her own life 12 weeks ago and I am so sorry for the devastation you are left with as I truly understand. I too coped well up to the funeral and then the day after I just fell apart. Losing a child, a very part of who you are and have loved and nurtured with hopes and dreams is unlike another loss. There is no getting over this, we simply each struggle to find a way to live with the pain, missing and emptiness, alongside what for so many is total disbelief in the early times as you will be in shock for some time to come. You may be left with so many wishes and if only’s and try to make sense of what has happened and we never can. There are natural stages you will go through, and some unlike anyone else. I haven’t worked since losing my daughter and struggle to find meaning and purpose. What I’m trying to say is that there is no answer to anything you wish to know right now, All you can do is get through each day, maybe hour or minute at a time, this is all too early for you and how you feel can change at any time. You must be patient and kind to your needs because this is learning to live with what can feel impossible at first. You might find SoBS a good site also because they are specifically for those who have lost others through suicide. Everyone on the site is kind and really gets it and can share understanding, experience and hope. With care x

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Thank you so much for your reply Sam. I’m so sorry that you are also going through this… I am starting to realise what a long journey this is going to be & that I need to take some time to process it and work out my own feelings. I know everyone’s experience of grief is different but it’s useful to know that it is probably too soon to be thinking about going back to work. A friend of a friend who is in a similar situation, but several years on, described it as a hole. It will always be there and at the start it is a raw, open hole, but slowly you start to surround it with other things and build stepping stones around it to help you cope. I thought this was a good analogy & I hope it brings you some comfort as it did me. Sending love and hope. Xx

Dear Jane70, I am so sorry you have lost your son. I lost my precious daughter 5 years ago and she also took her own life. The first weeks were so terrible … I felt as though I was going mad and was constantly crying. I think it is the shock and trauma and is so difficult to understand. Like you, it came as a complete shock. For several weeks I could not even go out of my house and it took me 8 months to get back to work. But I want you to know that it will get easier … I’m not sure how it happens but somehow I began to feel more peaceful. I still get my bad days but they are easier to cope with. I guess I am learning to live differently.
My daughter’s name is Gemma and my husband and I have 3 other children so I try to stay strong as they need me. My GP suggested that I talk to Gemma and that has helped me. She is still my daughter and that will never change.
I hope this helps you. Sending you a big hug xxx

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Hello Jane70
I truly understand. My circumstance is very similar to your. My son finished his freshman year at ASU. He was 17. It has been almost 4 years this May. I am in Az. I am here to talk. I understand where you are. Remember everyone grieves differently. Hang in there