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On Losing Loved Ones to Suicide: 15 Ways to Celebrate Their Lives

By HERWriter
 
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Losing Loved Ones to Suicide: 15 Ways to Celebrate Their Lives Erwin Wodicka/PhotoSpin

Jenise Harmon, a psychotherapist who has worked with survivors of suicide in Columbus, Ohio shared her seven tips via email:

1) “It’s important to realize that you, a survivor of suicide, [have] the right to celebrate the life of the one you lost. They were important, they were loved.”

2) “Either by yourself or with others, write a letter or card to your loved one. Tell them what you love about them, what you miss.”

3) “Have a celebration – gather those who loved them. Tell stories together, eat food that reminds you of them, laugh and cry together.”

4) “Write an article or a blog post about the one you lost, and share it. Let the world know about them.”

5) “Keep their memory alive. Don’t be afraid to talk about them at family gatherings.”

6) “You are not alone. When you are a survivor of suicide, there can be an intense feeling of shame. Don’t become stuck in this. You deserve to grieve and mourn. You also deserve to be able to celebrate and remember the good times.”

Dianna Bonny, a survivor of suicide and advocate, lost both her husband and her best friend. She shared a couple of her methods that have helped her and her children through the grieving process:

1) “Rituals are a great way to reorganize traumatic energy. My children wrote letters to their father and then we burned them in a ceremonial way. Also, making prayer flags from old clothing can be a way of repurposing old memorabilia.”

2) “It is so important to honor oneself in the aftermath. Suicide creates a giant void that will easily fill with blame, shame and guilt if not properly tended too. Be highly attuned to the things you allow to fill that space by making a conscious choice to heal, and cultivate a regular practice of extending compassion and forgiveness to yourself.

“Be proactive and explore the many wonderful healing modalities available now that can make a huge difference: meditation, tapping, breath work and [eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy to name a few.”

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.