“WAKEUP Call”…Why Did You Say That?

I am amazed at the insensitivity of some people when death and loss occur.  Do people think before they speak?  I am going to presume people do not know what they do not know.  

Suicide death brings with it different problems than those related to death by illness, accident and dying by natural causes when an individual is old and lived a full life.  This is where the “WAKEUP Call” comes in.

As a friend, co-worker, neighbour or anyone who wants to talk about someone dying by suicide use your discretionary skills.  You may not know who will overhear a conversation and what the loss experience of another person is, especially where suicide loss is involved.

A survivor of suicide loss is an individual who has had someone die by suicide. FYI, these people do not generally advertise their grief or loss category.  This is all the more reason to not joke or be disrespectful of any death loss.  Keep your comments to yourself or in a private setting not in the workplace or public restaurant, etc.

Some individuals who have had a person they know die by suicide have mentioned being unexpectedly triggered during ordinary conversations with others.  A few words that have been flippantly made during dialogues are,

  • I’m going to go kill myself
  • Oh, go jump off a bridge
  • I’m just hanging around

For some people, this is the way they get attention or it is there way of getting a point across.

Now, if you are the person who is dealing with a suicide situation, these words can be disturbing.  They may never tell you this, but there may be a point when they stop being around you.  If they are brave enough, they might tell you how they feel about the words you use. 

A survivor of suicide loss in many cases is trying to deal with a death, understand why this happened, what signs if any they missed and much more.

For many people the healing process starts with talking about their loss.

Imagine, not feeling is safe or not knowing where it is safe to talk about your loss.

Now that you know a few concerns of survivors of suicide loss, perhaps you can be the person who speaks with compassion, offers a listening ear with no judgment and educates others.  A survivor of suicide loss did not ask to be one.  None of them want to wear that hat, would you?

All my best,

Barbara Gillett Saunders

Grief Counsellor/Thanatologist