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Death and Grieving

I have been struggling to know how to cope with the aftermath of the death of a close loved one...

My father died, choosing to leave, less than a year ago and it seems I cannot allow myself to make much personal progress past it, emotionally. I feel a deep attachment to the thought, sadness behind the fact that he is gone, have moments where I am completely absorbed in the loss of him. He was the last and only family I had, and while I feel more empathy and compassion towards others since he has died, I feel I lack it for/pertaining to myself. I have not seen a lot of material dealing with this particular type of event, specifically suicide death survival, and was wondering if anyone had insight, suggestions, etc?

Obviously I am aware of grief counseling, as well as group settings, but thought I would inquire in the forum.

Thanks :)


  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    You have my sympathies. It is a little difficult becoming an adult orphan. My parents have both passed away, as did my only half-sister. So now there is just me. I don't dwell on it, but it is an odd feeling.
  • mfranzdorfmfranzdorf Veteran
    edited July 2013
    Since you have been aware that you are mortal, you have known that your father would die one way or another, eventually. I don't know what his reason was for choosing to end his life on his own terms. I could see if he was terminally ill and didn't want to endure long suffering, the taking of one's own life might seem logical. I can only imagine the pain and confusion you are dealing with if his suicide doesn't seem to have a real "reason" that is obvious to you right now. He must have been really hurting inside. Your father was inpermanent, just like all of us, but seeing him leave in an unexpected, unnatural way must be difficult.

    Allow yourself to grieve, to go through the stages. Sit with your grief. Get mad a hell if you need to, but give your mind time to process this and deal with it. See life for what it is, delicate , precious and temporary.
    May you find your peace.
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    Here is a resource from my FB feed:
  • edited July 2013
    I guess I should make it clear that, I do have insight as to why he made his choice, which doesn't particularly make it more acceptable to me.

    I also have let myself grieve, tried to deal with it in the typical ways, and it seems to only enforce the knowledge as well as drive to pursue a more fulfilled/meaningful life. One that leaves those around me better cared for when I am not longer present... I guess I have a deep buried guilt, a feeling of wanting to remedy my selfishness and inability to truly understand that which is meaningful in life. On that note, I do not want to act out of guilt or pain or wanting my father to come back to me. I feel it is unfair to those I attempt to help and myself to do so, to others because it will blind me to their needs and reactions and to myself because it only sets me up for more failed expectations and unfulfilled fantasy.

    I guess I can put it plainly by saying, I want to create positive and share the love my father gave me in his lifetime with others, but not in an unhealthy fashion due to my deep-set inner guilt. Is it important that the intentions to end suffering in those around myself be 'pure' or are 'impure?' I'm unsure. I wonder if the outcome changes?
  • Straight_ManStraight_Man Gentle Man Veteran
    I can relate some to your problem, in that my father died because he refused medical treatment that would have terribly disfigured his face. My mother cared for him at home, with treatment supplied by a hospice(oral morphine, no limit to it, literally, except to end pain) and administered by her. I was there and went insane for a time with pain and living grief, knowing he would die soon. I thought part of me was dying with him.

    I sat with it and sat with it, and finally came to the decision that he chose to die and chose how. He himself made the cold choice that his life was over. He had taken all the reality blows he could. Mom and I could not have prevented this, the cancer eventually killed him. He took three months to die.

    Well, you say this does not relate to all your circumstances maybe-- but in general you see it does, because we both had our fathers choose to end their lives. It was their choice, there was in reality nothing we could have done for them to end their suffering while they yet lived.

    So you and I are not to blame for our father's respective deaths. Let the guilt lift, it is grief guilt trying to work itself from us. Let it escape from you, and do not let it return. to a large degree I have done so, and got closure, though it took 11 plus years since he died to get to this point for me. Please do not torture yourself more, it will keep working at you until you work through it, then let it go, and then find things to do in his memory to at first help cope with life yourself and then move on from there to do things to honor his love. you owe it to yourself not to torture yourself.
  • If you died, would you want your family and friends to feel sad and guilty day after day after day? Of course not. Imagine how your father would feel if he knew about how his death is affecting you. I'm sure he would want you to let go. If you can't do that for yourself, then do it for him. So whenever you think about him, it should be a reminder for you to let go.

    You may also want to consider regularly dedicating merit to him. More info at this link.
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    @adventuress, you have my deepest and most heartfelt sympathies.

    Grief is immensely personal; no two people can ever experience the same emotions, even for the same person; my father died, in old age, of the standard complications the elderly fall prey to, in 2010.
    While at the time, I consciously dedicated my efforts to being supportive of my mother, who felt his passing acutely (57 years of marriage) and still misses him deeply every day, I found that once an undefined period had passed, I began to miss him more, and that the vacuum left by his death actually grew....

    I can't begin to pinpoint why this should be; I mourned with everyone at the time, and know I did not suppress my feelings. Yet time seems to have pointed out his absence more, not less.
    In my period of meditation, I allow thoughts and memories of him to come forward, and I acknowledge them, permit them to expand, and sit with 'him' for a while. Sometimes I smile, at other times I cringe (times when he and I did not see eye to eye, particularly!) but mostly, I just 'sit and watch'.

    Then, I thank him for his presence in my life (what unseen mechanism made me his daughter? Why me, to him? Why him, to me?) and am grateful for the entire experience.

    Then I get up, do a 'brushing my body' (Qi Gong) sequence, bow to my altar, and leave the room.
    He's in there, along with so many other "things"....but whether he follows me during the day, is up to me, not 'him'......
  • Death, perhaps because of being three times an orphan, or of my career of evaluating folks who are suicidal, or of my adoptive mother becoming a quadriplegic for 25 years or my introduction to Buddhism via Evan-Wentz book of the dead; my view of death is not of loss but of appreciation, of opportunity, of mercy, of dropping into the clear light, or it’s the next big travel event.
    Meditation upon death is direct and efficient, it is virtuous and reading for 49 days…omg what a gift to another soul.
    Hopefully, grieving is a process of coming to appreciation and gratefulness…in which we may dance upon the grave of the dead.

  • I am sorry for your loss.

    You are alone without your parents; and if without kids or other family - truly alone.
    But it's a state that doesn't need to be permanent.
    When you've recovered from your loss a bit, form another family, perhaps one that includes others who find themselves all alone.
    Humans need each other in this way; it's natural. You can help heal yourself -and others at the same time - if you are there for each other and form a new, caring group, large or small. There are a few different ways to have a "family".

    I wish you the best and Peace.
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
    When a father dies, it is time to become the father.
    When a mother dies, it is time to become the mother.

    What better thing to wish for a dying being than to wish them what they wish and in so doing take up the inescapable mantle of mother and father?
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    I cannot relate as far as feeling alone in the world. But as for grief in general, give it time. I know that sounds like a cheesy cliche, but it's really true.
    My ex-fiance (who I lived with for 14 years and had 2 children with) died 4 years ago. It wasn't a conscious choice but at the same time he knew mixing alcohol with drugs it was a risk that he chose to take.
    I vacillated between sadness, anger, grief, guilt, and many other feelings for about 2.5-3 years. It took a long time to process, and I'd get really frustrated. I'd tell myself "You left him, you knew it was the right choice and it was, so don't feel guilty." but it never helped. I would start crying randomly while driving, while shopping, while reading to the kids, you name it.
    Over time, it lessened. I still miss him, and once in a while I still cry for him, mostly because of what his life should have been and he chose otherwise. But as the saying goes, time does lessen pain. For some, it takes longer than others. That doesn't mean the pain is every entirely gone. It just means you now have a scar, and your life takes on a new version of normal.
    There is no magic time or day. 6 months, 1 year, 5 years. We are all different. It's ok if it takes longer for you to get over it than someone else. I have lost friends to suicide, and it's very difficult to deal with and process even then. I have a hard time relating. But perhaps it might help to do a meditational practice of seeing him on his way and wishing him well, giving him permission, so to speak, to move on to whatever lies next. It can help you both.
    For a long time, I had a sense of Eric (my ex) being around, being out there, somewhere. I struggled with that a lot. Then more recently, that feeling completely disappeared. I don't know if it's just how I processed the grief, or if he really was out there in some sense and more recently reincarnated or otherwise moved on. Now that I don't feel him out there anywhere, I feel a lot better.
    Letting go of any part we had in their lives (and their decision to let go of life), I think, is helpful. I don't mean to pretend they weren't there or anything. But to attach guilt or responsibility to their life or their choices is a bit pointless. For me, coming to that realization helped. I felt guilt when i left him because I knew the road he went down wouldn't be good. I felt bad because we have kids and I felt like maybe I should have done something, anything, more than the 9+ years I put into trying to make it work despite his repeated alcohol and drug problems. I had to let go of my attachment to being responsible for him, as if I could have controlled any aspect of his life or the outcome of it.Then, my grief started to lessen.
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