Telling a family story of loss can help a family create a healing story. I will focus on suicide loss at the moment but this article could apply to other losses as well. How to create a story and why would you want to do this?
When creating your family story have each person say or write down their thoughts of the experience. What feelings come with the loss? What knowledge does each individual have of the situation and what information did each individual think others already knew about? Was anything being hidden from others? There may be more ideas you have, add them as well.
Age, past experience of death and loss, culture, belief system, proximity to the person who died and connection or attachment bonds to the deceased all play a part in how the loss is processed and how each individual reacts.
The reason for creating a family story is to help have a shared experience where everyone understands each other. With suicide loss there may be disbelief or denial it was a suicide. Some people may have more information than others.
Feeling united as a group and family is helpful for everyone. Each person understands the same story; the blanks are filled in. There is no longer silence among those who have a shared grief experience. The story that is shared with others is the same.
The STORY is a suicide loss experience; different than someone dying of cancer and at the same time a death loss. Take a moment to listen to the family story of loss if you have an opportunity. Look for the comments that tell you there is strength and courage in this family. Be compassionate, you never know when, where and how death a loss will touch your life. You may be the one who writes the next family story.
All my best,
Barbara Gillett Saunders