Common Experiences in Suicide Grief

Grieving the sudden and traumatic loss of a loved one is painful. Suicide grief sometimes makes things more complicated and may feel quite different from the grief you may have experienced following other losses.

You might struggle with complicated social, emotional, and cultural issues that can make your grief overwhelming and leave you feeling isolated. It is not uncommon to experience changes and challenges in your personal relationships, your spiritual beliefs, and in your concentration and memory. Your emotions and general health may also be impacted.

Other common feelings or experiences that may come up for loss survivors include:

  • Continued questions of, “why?” – relentless search for an explanation, replaying events and conversations in search of an answer
  • Shock and disbelief, waiting to wake up from a bad dream
  • Despair and deep pain, feelings of hopelessness that things will ever feel differently
  • Fear and anxiety, excessive worrying there may be another tragic event or death, especially by suicide
  • Forgetfulness, having trouble concentrating or remembering short-term tasks or recent conversations
  • Anger and feelings of blame towards the deceased person, your faith/religion, others in your or the deceased person’s life
  • Guilt or shame, replaying events and things you wish had happened differently
  • Relief, especially if the deceased had been outwardly suffering and/or had made previous suicide attempts
  • Isolation and social disruption, unable to connect and identify with others who haven’t experienced this type of loss, feeling too much pain or exhaustion to engage with others
  • Trauma and feeling hyper-alert or on guard, reliving the event or days around the event

  • There is no right or wrong way to grieve and no one will experience it in the same exact way
  • There is no specific timeline to grief – it is unique for everyone and evolves over time
  • Give yourself and others permission to grieve
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If you or someone you care about has lost a loved one to suicide, The Samaritans on Cape Cod and the Islands is here to offer support and resources if and when you are interested. Reach us at or (508) 548-7999, ext. 104.

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