TW: Suicide is discussed at length in this episode. If you feel it wouldn’t be healthy for you to listen in, please don’t. Should you feel that no one in your life can be trusted with all that you are going through, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, 800-273-8255, or hurry to schedule an appointment with a recommended therapist.
Grieving a dead loved one is always difficult, but sometimes the grief process is complicated by factors that aren’t typically in play when an elderly relative passes naturally and peacefully. Suicide often invokes in friends and family member feelings of guilt about “what might I have done differently” or shame because of the loved one’s having chosen to end their life and how that might reflect on us. Other complicating factors can be intense feelings of anger and abandonment, shock, loneliness because of difficulty sharing what we are experiencing with others (coupled with, too often, their reticence in discussing this person’s life that ended that way), and wrestling with emotions about this person’s (or now our) incomplete life. Grief will often be tougher when it a death was sudden, contaminated by crime, or by our sometimes feeling relief that this person is now gone. We can easily get tangled up.
This episode features three panelists, Lisa Hansen (a wonderful therapist), Jana Riess (someone who has in several instances suffered losses that are very complicated), and Latter-day Faith host, Dan Wotherspoon (who is currently struggling with four deaths in his family or close circle that have occurred in the past three and a half months, two by suicide). Our hope in presenting this discussion is that you will come away with not only great advice and perspectives but also a sense of not being alone in your own grieving or feelings that we aren’t doing it right, failing as a human being, and more.
It is a powerful episode. Please listen and share with others.
Jana Riess, “Suicide, Complicated Grief and the Hidden Darkness of the Heart,” Religion News Service, October15, 2020.
Jana Riess, Flunking Sainthood: A Year of Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray, and Still Loving My Neighbor, (Paraclete Press, 2011).
“Grieving (and Can We Do It Better?), Mormon Matters podcast, July 12, 2013.
This episode featured both Jana and Lisa, along with Connie Ericksen and Cindy Jones