Loss of a Friend
Q: One of my close friends committed suicide and I am having trouble dealing with it. Can you please help me? I miss her a lot and feel like it’s my fault. I know it’s not, but there were some things that I knew she struggled with. I told my parents who also tried to help her. She ended her life and I feel responsible.
A: It is such a tragedy when someone believes that death is more appealing than life. Every person is incredibly special and unique and losing a friend or family member is very tough to deal with. It is not unusual for those who are close to someone who committed suicide to feel like they could have done something to prevent it. It’s a natural reaction to hearing such news. People wonder if they missed the signs, they second guess their actions, and question whether they should have just taken a little more time to visit the last time they saw the person.
“It is not unusual for those who are close to someone who committed suicide to feel like they could have done something to prevent it.”
Your friend’s suicide is not your fault. It sounds like you know that in your head, but you’re having a hard time letting it sink into your heart. This will take some time. Your friend was obviously struggling with deep and conflicting emotions. You can be assured that there was much more going on in your friend’s life than what she shared with you. There may have also been some emotional illness contributing to this tragedy. The important thing to note here is that suicide was her choice, and hers alone. It’s the saddest choice anyone could ever make. I can almost guarantee that your friend had suicidal thoughts long before you and your parents tried to help. Very often, the person who is suicidal is secretive and hides what’s really going on in their thoughts and feelings. They keep trying to deal with the pain in their life on their own, and in the end, it overwhelms them. Life is not meant to be lived alone. We need to reach out to others who are hurting. In the same way, when we’re hurting, we also need to reach out to others who can help us through a tough time.
“Your friend’s suicide is not your fault.”
When people are having problems, or going through tough times, it’s helpful to encourage them to talk to somebody. You spoke with your parents because you were concerned for your friend. Telling a trusted adult, is a good idea when we are confused about what we should do or when we think things are out of our hands. Your concern for your friend is commendable and you should never feel guilty or that somehow your help wasn’t “enough.” Sadly, your friend thought she could handle it alone. Dealing with your friend’s death will be very difficult. Please continue to talk to your parents about this. You may also want to meet with a counselor, pastor, or youth leader. They are experienced in helping young people process emotions, doubts, regret and guilt. Talking about your feelings will help you through the grieving process, but it won’t make it go away. We were created with emotions and feelings, keeping them bottled up is not a healthy thing to do. Some communities and churches have support groups for survivors of suicide.
“Be kind to yourself and keep making the right choice to live your life to the fullest.”
I want you to know that suicide and suicidal thoughts are a major problem in our society. Approximately one out of four people know someone who has committed suicide. Each day in our nation, there are an average of over 3,470 attempts by young people grades 9-12. If these percentages are additionally applied to grades 7 & 8, the numbers would be higher. That is a staggering thought, and only emphasizes even more the importance of encouraging all of us to be open about our struggles. Be kind to yourself and keep making the right choice to live your life to the fullest.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Call 1-800-273-8255 Available 24 hours everyday http://prp.jasonfoundation.com/facts/youth-suicide-statistics/