What not to say or do to someone who has lost a child to suicide
Ten years ago, my son Jesse committed suicide. He jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a complete shock and also totally expected. Many people were great. Some were not.
- •Don't say or do nothingThis happened a lot. I get that it's awkward . Death is always an uncomfortable subject and suicide more so. But nothing was more appalling than people who would act like it didn't happen. They would see me and start talking about something else and never even acknowledge it. You can always say," I don't know what to say". It's better than nothing. Also, know that the fact that my child killed himself is pretty much the ONLY thing I'm thinking about.. everything else is just static.
- •Don't ask how he did itIf you haven't heard, why the hell do you want to know? I wish I had thought to say something like this but the first few months , I was so fragile that I would tell them. I didn't realize I had the option to say nothing and walk away.
- •Don't ask for detailsYeah, really . Once again, why would you want to know? It's awful, trust me. You don't need to know the details.
- •Don't make it about youI remember a neighbor stopping me in the middle of the grocery store and crying and hanging on to me. The last thing I wanted to do was comfort someone else. I actually did say,after listening for 5 minutes , " I can't do this" and left the store.
- •Don't say I have to go to grief counselingPeople grieve differently . Not everyone wants to join a group. Leave it alone.
- •Don't say something so stupid that I'll never be able to forget itMy sister in law had a boyfriend at the time whose son had mental problems. Within the same month, he also tried to kill himself by stabbing himself in the chest. They were able to save him with surgery. Apparently , this was a huge inconvenience to my sister in law. She actually said to me, " at least Jesse did it right" . We don't talk anymore.
- •Don't tell me he's in a better placeLet's face it. You don't know where he is and neither do I . I just know he's not here.