Will I ever get over the guilt?

guilt-heart‘GUILT. Guilt comes from a mistaken belief that we could have, or should have, prevented the death from happening, or from regret over irreconciled aspects of the relationship. In truth, we all do the best we can given our human shortcomings. We cannot predict the future, nor do we have power over the events in our universe. It is human nature to subconsciously blame oneself rather than accept these truths.’ (From a Handbook for Survivors of Suicide by Jeffrery Jackson)

It breaks my heart every time I hear of another young life lost to suicide and another family shattered.

When a newly bereaved parent joins the support group, nine times out of ten the first thing they write about is now they feel responsible for their child’s death.

As parents we feel we should be able to protect our children from all harm, therefore when anything happens to them we tend to blame ourselves. When a child dies by suicide, whether a teenager, a young adult or an older adult we still feel somehow that we should have been able to do something to prevent it.

Why didn’t we see the signs? If we did see the signs, why didn’t we intervene? Why didn’t they come to us for help? We failed them, we let them down. I hear this over and over again.

If course this is illogical. We know we loved our children with every fibre of our being and we would literally have laid down our lives to save them, but we couldn’t.

We are bombarded with messages everywhere about parental responsibility and pride. If a child gets a glowing report at school, gets a good degree or a new job, parents glow with pride. ‘We must be doing something right’ they say.

 So does this mean that we did something wrong if our child dies by suicide? Of course not, but try telling that to a parent whose child has died. How do we still feel proud of our son or daughter and what does it say about our parenting skill?. We feel like it is the ultimate failure as a parent and it can be crippling on top of the grief of losing our child, we have to cope with the stigma and guilt on top of our grief and it feels unbearable.

From my experience guilt is the most destructive and obstructive emotion and is the biggest hurdle we have to overcome if we want to start to recover and heal and learn to live with our loss.

I only had one counselling session; it was about 4 months after Toby died. I felt that I should really find out how to handle this from a professional and I chose my counsellor carefully. I wanted someone who could really relate to my pain and had experience in this area. I went to the first session and handed over my £40. The first thing she said to me was ‘Tell me about Toby?’ I left there an hour later and howled uncontrollably all the way home in the car, screaming over and over ‘I killed him’.

You see I had spent an hour telling this lady about Toby, everything I had done for him, how I had picked him up every time he fell, how I had baled him out, supported him and nurtured him. But all I could see was that I should have left him alone more to get on with his life, therefore I was convinced that my overbearing mothering was what had led him to kill himself. I had never taught him to cope with problems on his own. It was my fault!

Fortunately this feeling did not last, and I was able to see that all I was guilty of was loving my son and doing what I thought was best for him at the time. If I had cut him loose and let him get on with it I would just be beating myself up for not doing more.

Three things helped,

The first was reading a very practical and helpful book written by Jeffrey Jackson who lost his wife to suicide.


The chapter on Guilt really helped me process my feelings and put them in perspective.

When I read the following:-

You are not responsible for your loved one’s suicide in any way, shape, or form. Write it down. Say it to yourself over and over again, (even when it feels false). Tattoo it onto your brain. Because it’s the truth.

I wept and wept. I felt a huge sense of relief

The second was part of an article I ready called ‘Reinforcement in the Aftermath of Suicide’


RESPONSIBILITY:  Putting it into perspective.
I have a responsibility TO those I love…
to be loving, patient, considerate and kind, to be loyal, respectful and honest, to be appreciative, encouraging and comforting, to share myself and care for myself; …..to be the best possible “ME”…….


I am not responsible FOR them…
not for their achievements, successes or triumphs, not for their joy, gratification or fulfilment, not for their defeats, failures or disappointments, not for their thoughts, choices or mistakes, …..And, most of all, not for their suicide…….
For HAD I been responsible, this death would not have occurred.


To assume responsibility for this death, or to place responsibility upon another, robs the one who died of their personhood and invalidates the enormity of their pain and their desperate need for relief.

The third was when I went to my GP and I told him that I would have found it easier to cope with losing Toby if he had died of an illness. He said to me ‘Your son did die of an illness, it was called depression’.

We no more caused our child’s death than a parent who loses a child to cancer, our child was crippled with an illness, it was just an illness that no one could see.

So……..where does that leave me now…….

In reality, as a parent we will never totally get rid of this guilt, it is natural and programmed into us, but we can fight to stop it jeopardising our recovery.

I feel very proud of my son, and I know I was the best mother I knew how to be. I was not responsible for his death, but of course I suffer from the normal parental guilt that I would have felt even if he had lived.

It is hard when I am at work, or at social events to  hear parents bragging about their child’s achievements, I am not bitter – it is great for them, but I can’t tell them how well my son turned out. I  can tell them however, about what a beautiful person he was and feel proud he is my son even though he is not around and will not achieve anymore milestones. I am not ashamed of the way he died, as I now know that thousands of beautiful, talented youngsters take their lives every year, and his death was not a reflection on my parenting skills.

This entry was posted in bereavement, Grief, guilt, Healing, Loss, parents, suicide. Bookmark the permalink.

80 Responses to Will I ever get over the guilt?

  1. shaye says:

    Recognize so much of my own experience in this post, Anne. And interesting your experience with the counsellor. My younger daughter went to many different therapists after her sister committed suicide. Some of them helped for a bit, but never quite the right way. Then she went to a therapist who after a couple of sessions said to my daughter, “I’ve heard a lot about your sister and about your relationship with your sister before she died. But I’d like to hear about how you felt when your sister died. And how you feel now.” My daughter said, for the first time in the three years after her sister died, she actually started to cry during therapy. And she cried the entire session.
    For me, the worst times are when I think about what might have been. If only I’d…
    The best times are when I just think about what I’m going to do right now. No past, no future. Just now.
    Bless you, Anne. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  2. alispencer says:

    I agree with every word , Thanks for finding this Anne xx

  3. lensgirl53 says:

    Thank you…this has been most helpful. Guilt is always at the forefront of our minds but the statements: “For HAD I been responsible, this death would not have occurred.” and ‘Your son did die of an illness, it was called depression’.” …makes perfect sense. If only our minds would agree with our hearts.

    • Mary Shinnick says:

      THANK YOU. Anne.
      all of you Mums/ parents, out there, who has lost a child through suicide.
      Mary, mother of Patrick. RIP. 16/07/2019. Age:30. My beautiful son, blond, blue eye s, cheeky smile,athletic. Father to Myla(4 yrs old). wonderful Daddy.
      1 Sister, 3 Brothers.
      We love you
      we miss you.
      I miss you, too much,

  4. lensgirl53 says:

    I am reblogging this on lensgirl53.wordpress.com

  5. lensgirl53 says:

    Reblogged this on In the Wake of Suicide….trying to understand and commented:
    I find this to be very helpful. Even though, I seem logical and understanding of what happened to my son one minute…in the next I can be overwhelmed with a sense that I should have known…should have been more helpful but in reality, I could not have know that he would die by suicide or I WOULD HAVE SAVED HIM!!!!!

    • Pat O says:


      • annwae says:

        I know the ‘if onlys’ will drive you insane. I pray you find peace. I found I don’t ask that any more, I have found peace and acceptance but it is a tough journey.

      • Roseanna says:

        I feel the same way I talked to my daughter every day and noticed the week before she had started secluding herself more and I questioned her on and she said it was because I was working overtime and she worked nights and was too tired to wait up for me made sense I aske her again are you sure everything is ok and she assured me is was. The day she hung herself I talked to earlier in the day everything is ok mom she had her hair done was planning a trip what did I miss why didn’t I check on her i smothered her and babied her but she felt like a looser. It’s so hard to wonder if when she was dying did she call out for me I cry daily and go through the motions of living for my living children but I feel like an empty shell

      • absoluteze says:

        My son’s phone was beside him too I assume. One of the last things he did was to text me, “I love you Dad” That is the most precious text I’ve ever received and I will cherish the fact that even though he was in such pain he still told me he loved me because we never parted company or said goodbye without saying I love you as well. It’s only been a few weeks and I’m still hurting badly and still somewhat numb. I fear the coming weeks and months.

      • Jennifer says:

        Bless you. We lost our 22 year old son that suicide in 2015. It will be 3 years this October. His phone was beside him as well. He texted my husband , myself , his three younger brothers and his girlfriend that he loved us too. The hardest thing to do is to continue this life without him here. Three years in almost, I actually find It harder and harder. Take refuge in the numbness. I will continue to lift you in prayer for the following days ahead of you. God bless you and keep you🙏🏻💙

    • kluvcards says:

      I feel the same way. I would move mountains for my kids. He would not have died had I any say so in the matter. ❤

  6. jmgoyder says:

    I am so sorry. Lensgirl reblogged the post and I clicked the link. I thought I was already following your blog. Now I am.

  7. annwae says:

    He didn’t want to leave you he wanted to leave his pain behind. You did nothing wrong, you loved him and you are a good mother. Try writing him a letter and talking to him. You know you did your best and I hope in time you can know that in your heart x

  8. bez says:

    Anne thank you so much for your blog.My lovely kind generous son committed suicide nearly two years ago. I can relate to all these feelings of guilt which I am finding so hard to let go of. I am writing this late because of another sleepless night.I go to bed thinking of him, wake up thinking of him and during the day even when you keep yourself busy the thoughts still creep in. I feel the second anniversary is worse than the first somehow. I try to think of the happy times and there were many but all I can think of is the weeks before he died and how he died. I know he loved his family and I know he was in such pain and turmoil and anguish that he felt that was the way out because I know he put on a social media site (although I do not participate in them) a few days before he died “the hardest part of life is living it” which says how he felt. He left a note to the family explaining why he chose to go which is some comfort I suppose. I often think if he died in a car accident I could accept it better but perhaps I am deluding myself. Anyway I know there are thousands going through what I am and my heart goes out to you and everyone else who has lost a child because nothing will be the same again but I know I HAVE to find a way through it for the sake of his grandma, his aunty, my husband his twin brother and myself. I am glad that you are finding some peace. God bless you.

    • annwae says:

      Hi Bez, I a, so sorry you are going through this nightmare too. I said the same to my GP, that I would find it easier if he had died from an illness or an accident, and he said to me ‘but he did die from an illness, it was depression’. This helped med see that my son had a disease. I didn’t get a note but I suspect my sons sentiments would be similar to your sons. They were just sensitive souls too beautiful for this world

  9. Carla says:

    After our son completed his suicide jan. Of 2013 my life has been a struggle out of hell. I came upon your post. The hardest thing I’ve been dealing with is the guilt. We knew what state he was in. He was 34 at the time. He was our first born son. He was my everything. He new our love for him was endless! I’m trying to understand why he would do this to us. I know that it was to end his immense pain. He had been diagnosed with bi-polar and many years with depression. He had so many right things about him. Some days it’s hard to get my head and heart together on all of this! The guilt post helped a lot. Thankyou.

    • annwae says:

      I’m so sorry Carla. The guilt is so hard to bear and will never go completely but we know in out hearts we loved our sons and did everything we could to save them. They are at peace now. I found this book by Jeffrey Jackson called a Handbook for Survivors of Suicide helped me more than any other. I am glad it helped. Sending love and best wishes

      • Carla says:

        Two days after our sons death we received this little booklet at the funeral home by Jeffery Jackson. Words can’t explain how this book helped us.

  10. Carole says:

    Ann, it has helped me to read all the words above relating to your blog. I lost my wonderful 17 year old son in September 2014 and this is the first Christmas. He was a beautiful and sensitive person and a twin brother to his sister. The guilt is enormous and I know I have to get past the feeling that I have let him down but that is how I feel. Why didn’t I know he was in such a bad place?

    • annwae says:

      Hi Carole, how could you know, they hide it so well. I read a great quote on forgiveness the other day. How can we possibly need to forgive ourselves for not knowing something we did not know. If we had known we would have done anything to save them. If we had been responsible for their lives they would still be here. Of course we will always feel guilt, I think it just goes with the job of being a mother. I hope you can find some peace and loving memories this Christmas, sending love and best wishes x

  11. scott says:

    Carole..I too lost my wonderful son in Sept 2014 and we just managed to get through Xmas and New Year.We didn’t know he was in a bad place either x

    • Carole says:

      Thanks, Scott. It’s so difficult, yesterday was six months since we lost him and I have to plan for his twin’s imminent 18th birthday. I know you will also have all of this. Love to your family x

  12. Brent Nelson says:

    Thank you for this post and those of all the people who have left their comments. I lost my son in Jan of 2013. As you said, the guilt does not totally go away. I have been going through a little more than usual lately. The thoughts and literature here have helped place my thoughts back into a better perspective. Although our lives will never be the same, They are so much better than they were two years ago.

  13. kluvcards says:

    It’s going to take a lot of re-reading and time to process….but I agree with every word you have said. Thank you.

  14. Sharon says:

    I lost my son in 2009…..he shot himself in the heart with a nail gun. I said the same things that I’ve read here “if only he would have died from an illness, maybe I could handle it better”. I actually thought I was going to die from the pain, I just couldn’t bear (and still can’t sometimes) the thoughts of “what if I had….” or “what if I hadn’t”. It’s like a continuing cycle. It is better, but sometimes, like tonight I was overwhelmed with guilt. Bless everyone of you, with your unbearable pain. What used to be a 24-7 unbearable pain now is an occasional unbearable pain. Thank you for all of your comments….it has helped me so much tonight.

  15. Volak Nuon says:

    I lost my son to a suicide on June 23, 2015 he set fire on himself!! I am going crazy !! I don’t think I ever can gain myself back to normal! The guilt is killing me!! I need help!

    • annwae says:

      I am so sorry, I know you are going through hell and wondering how you will survive. You can find a way through. I recommend joining our support group http://www.losingachildtosuicide.ning.com where you will find comfort and support from other parents.

      • Volak Nuon says:

        Thank so much Ann, I am so lost and very much in pain!! I don’t see any hope at this moment! My heart fill with pain and guilt. Thank again I will join the support group.

    • Marie Tobin says:

      Volak, I remember you from a meeting in the fall, my son died last summer also, but i only went to one of those survivor loss meetings in October. My love and prayers to you, please contact me if you wish, i want to reach out again. I too, have a mother’s deep grief and guilt, maybe we can help each other. If you go back to that group in North Andover, maybe we can talk.

      • Volak Nuon says:

        Dear Marie I love to meet with you and talk. I went to a group meeting at North Andover for a couple of time.. However, I did’t go for a while.now. I feel it is so hard for me each day to move on with my life the deep grief and guilt are pounding in my chest!! Some time I felt like it is not truth I was dreaming but when I wake up Victor is not here my son gone for ever! I have join this support group does help me go through this difficult time. All people here are very nice and understand the pain and the griefs I go through. Most people say times will help however, it does not work for me. I miss my son so much!! Here is my contact 978 328- 3329 I hope we can meet.

      • Marie Tobin says:

        I will call you after Easter, love to you….I think you may recognize me. I had told you my sister in law was from Cambodia. Are you on Facebook? I will call.please be kind to yourself. ..all of us did the best we could with the knowledge we had at hand…xo

      • Volak Nuon says:

        I think I remember you. Looking for word to talk to you!Thanks, Volak

  16. Sharon says:

    I feel your pain…..please know that you are not alone in your feelings. I really thought I would lose my mind at first, that is normal, but time does heal even though I didn’t believe it at the time. Hold on. After the initial shock was over (which took quite some time) I would say to myself, “I need to just get through this next hour” ….. and sometimes it was the next 15 minutes. Hold on. Hold on.

  17. Volak Nuon says:

    Dear Sharon, thank very much for your support and understand my feeling. I feel so lucky to find this post!! Thank in Mmmmmmmmmmmmm

  18. Lorrie says:

    Our sweet wonderful daughter Lisa died from suicide on December 24, 2015. She was 35 years young and had struggled for 15 years at least from treatment resistant depression. She was in therapy and had every kind of medicine and treatments out their. We were waiting for a date for the VNS surgery, it was just around the corner. Yet I guess for her the pain and possibility of it not working was just to much. It also blindsided us when she hung herself, as we were always searching for more help. Now the guilt and the what if s just haunt us and the pain of losing her is just overwhelming. I would have done anything to have saved her and taken her pain and all the love we and her fiancée gave her just was not enough. The depression took our daughter and it made her believe that taking her life was the right thing to do. What I now have come to believe is that depression is a very evil disease that tricks and toys with our lived ones. The shame they feel is so sad and I can say and always told my Lisa that I was never ashamed of her illness, just so sorry she had this disease… We must all continue to help others who struggle with depression and I have no ideal how we will make it through this, as it seems the sadness will probably never go away or the guilt we feel. I will get this book by Jeffery Jackson and pray that something, anything we can take away from it will help put some peace in our hearts. We must never let the same depression take over us as it did our children and loved ones, we must fight it every day to win over this evil disease. May God Bless each and everyone of you…

  19. Julie says:

    It’s only been one month since my son took his own life. We are still dealing with the shock and grief of losing him, especially bc he showed no signs. My heart aches for him everyday. The continous cyle of guilt and if only’s flood our minds. We loved him so much that each day hurts being without him. I know that with time my family will get through this but it is so hard moving on without him. The things i read here have given me some comfort. As a parent you can’t help but feel responsible for your child’s actions and reading that statement that i am not responsible for his suicide is reassuring and helps to put it into perspective. Glad i found this.

  20. Bernardine morgan says:

    Our son past away in Mach 2016 , he was 24 he took his own life , I feel like someone has torn my heart out , the guilt I feel , not knowing why the grief and shock is unbearable , my heart aches for him everyday , I agree as a parent you question what Did I do wrong how do you carry on.

  21. Sam collins says:

    Thank you to all the loving parents who have shared the immense pain and anguish of losing a child ( young adult) to suicide. i lost my son to suicide 6 months ago in January. I look back and see the signs but he never spoke of his anguish or suffering and the guilt and sense of responsibility is overwhelming for me and his sisters. I try to be strong and carry on for them. To show them a way through the pain. But I’m faking it and it’s exhausting pretending all the time. I struggle each day inside to carry on, not knowing ‘why’ and it always comes back to guilt and grief of not being able to save him. My heart is literally broken.

  22. Pauline says:

    I lost my son at 17 two years ago to suicide and I have struggled silently I thought it was my fault because I was so protective but all I did was love him more than anything in the world I was never going to let anyone hurt him if I had of had more boundaries for him would he still be here. We gave him everything we could being out only child but is that not what parents do .I never say I had a son I still talk of him as though hes here and we will always remain proud of him .

  23. Tammie Graham says:

    Our family has very recently sufferred the loss of my first born son we are all struggling to get past the unbearable pain we feel. I feel such a sense of emptiness our lives have changed forever.how do we heal and go forward from this seemingly unbearable pain.

  24. Theresa Mccurdy says:

    I just lost my gorgeous beautiful girl to suicide at the age of 31. She was smart, funny and an amazing daughter. I have so m uch guilt.i should have done more x

  25. Theresa Mccurdy says:

    I just lost my gorgeous beautiful girl to suicide at the age of 31. She was smart, funny and an amazing daughter. I have so m uch guilt.i should have done more x sorry- first time i have written on a page.my beautiful girl was so lively and funny, luvd life and done loads.she hit a bit of a low which i thought she would get past, but she never. I dont cry a lot and dont know why x seen this page, thought to myself i need to talk to someone x

  26. Irene says:

    It’s been a week since my beautiful kind talented boy walked in front of a train. I was the last person to speak to him and I will NEVER forgive myself. I adored him but never told him enough, just assumed he already knew. As all of you have said, life is changed forever, the pain is never ending and just living seems pointless.

  27. Carole says:

    Two years ago this week my amazing and wonderful son took his life at 17. He was adored by his family, loved by his friends and very talented. I agree that as a mum I will forever wish I could have known and saved my precious boy; I feel I let him down. In the immediate aftermath we are numb with shock and grief and then we have to pick up the pieces for the sake of our families. The pain never lessens but time teaches us to live with it, we have to.

  28. Mattsmum says:

    My handsome 22 year old son took his own life on 29th July 2016.I too have guilt that I didn’t do enough to help him.Having read all your helpful posts,I see that I would have done ANYTHING to save him if I had known.I have cried so many tears I never thought was possible.I stood in the middle if a field and let out an enormous scream that had been stuck in the pit of my stomach.My life feels so empty which feels awful to say because I have a daughter too.I feel there is so much pressure on her to stay safe.Life for us has to carry on,I don’t know how I dare say that,but we all know we have to carry on.I am sorry for all of your losses because I really do feel your pain.

    • Jennifer says:

      I feel your pain. My son was also 22 and took his own life in October of 2015. Lately, the guilt seems to have become stronger. I have three other boys, but I still feel an overwhelming emptiness without my first born here with us. Living a nightmare that I cannot wake from:(

      • anne teal says:

        My boy brad would have been 24 today The pain today is as raw as November 14th 2016 My god please give me strength

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  29. Anne teal says:

    I am truly touched by this article, it made a lot of sense and helped me massively. I lost my beautiful 23 year old son to suicide 6 months ago, and guilt is eating me alive, if only I had done this or done that. I felt like he died because I failed him. I miss my boy every second of every day, it’s so painful. Im so torn as I want to die to be with him but I can’t as I’m also a mother to 2 little boys as well as my angel, and they miss him too so so much. Thank you for sharing this, it makes so much sense at a time when nothing has made sense to me for 6 months.

    • Jennifer says:

      I too, lost my precious son to suicide at 22 years old a year and a half ago. It’s heartwrenching and the pain of losing our children does make us want to join them . I’ve said that so many times. But I also have more children, 3 boys. They love and muss their older brother so much. I feel your pain and I understand. But just know that our strength comes from two things;. First, God love and grace. And second, our boys memories and their love for us would want us to carry on. Prayers n hugs for u

      • Anne teal says:

        Definitely! Our sons love is still there, it’s all around us every day. They would want us to carry on. I don’t have the demons that my boy had which enables me to live a ‘normal’ life, it’s just so hard to do that without my son, he and my other 2 sons are my life
        My boy didn’t want to die, he just didn’t know how to live. It’s so sad that love can’t make them better because if that was the case, our children would be here with us
        God bless Anne x

  30. Brenda Cassidy says:

    My son hung himself in February this year and I’m riddled with guilt. There was talk between me my husband and my son about him moving back home and I didn’t want it. Now I feel so guilty. I know I’ll never get over this and I deserve to feel bad.

    • Anne teal says:

      Hi Brenda, I feel your pain Hun, my son took his life 3 months before your son, I just wanted to say you don’t deserve to feel bad, you feel the worst you will ever feel but you don’t deserve it. I’ve recently realised that when they are so ill, there’s nothing we can do to make a difference. We can help the best way we can but we can’t stop them when their minds are made up. Please Hun cling on to the fact that if you could of stopped your beautiful sons death, you would have. And your right, you won’t ever get over this tragedy, you will only learn to live with it. Your in my thoughts and prayers Hun.
      Much love Anne (Brads mum) xx

    • msdonnal says:

      my son died by suicide in 2012. He was 34. The guilt is the most cruel thing, besides of course never seeing my first born again. I actually “made” him leave my house 2 years before by insisting he get his own apartment. I thought I was coddling him too much and it would help him grow up. He acted like he thought this was a good idea too and now I deal with guilt….OH GOD WHY DID I DO THAT.

    • David Kyre says:

      I agree with your last sentence. All of the well intentioned advice of rationalizing guilt and all the internet hugs don’t do a thing. I too accept this deserved life sentence of living hell.

  31. Jennifer says:

    My son died by suicide in 2015. He was 22. I feel such guilt for not seeing any warning signs. As his mom, I was supposed to protect him. There was no note left so we are left to always wonder. The police did not investigate properly, did not collect the bullet and lied about its whereabouts until recently admitting it was gone. His friends have been evasive and some even moved out of state since. We’ve hired PI’s who did nothing but take our money. There are literally hundreds of factors that lead us to believe it wasn’t suicide or that someone played a part in it. But, we can’t anyone associated with the police department to truly listen. They determined it suicide before even arriving at my sons home. The entire ordeal has been a nightmare. We’ve exhausted every avenue to determine what really happened. And don’t know what to do now. I promised my son after he died that I would never give up looking for answers. Any suggestions? Anyone else feel this way or been through similar?

  32. David Kyre says:

    We’re coming up on 2nd death day for my 21 yr old son who hanged himself Sept 16, 2015. We look for the magic words to make us feel better. Won’t happen. The pain of losing a child will never go away. The inscesant intensity wanes but the ever present underlying sadness won’t wane. And knowing the reason why he killed himself won’t bring him back or make it easier to accept. But I understand the need to keep expressing all of our feelings regarding our common struggle.

  33. Jennifer says:

    No, it won’t bring him back. But, if someone played a part in his death or hurt him in anyway, I want to know, I want justice for my son. As his mom, I’m obligated to seek answers until God tells me no more .

  34. David Kyre says:

    Can’t blame you there.

  35. David Kyre says:

    Can’t blame you there.

  36. Grace says:

    Thank you for this blog. Feels like there is so little on parental survival. My daughter took her life August 25, 2017, at 11 years old. I was gutted. Feel like she has half my soul. Counseling isn’t helping much. I will order that book you talk about earlier. I have a few already but not strong enough to read them yet. Please, someone tell me this gets a little less gut-wrenching? Is there any help out there for parents of suicide? I would like to follow your blog, if I can figure out how. Thanks to all of you for posting. Helps so much to hear the other side of things.

    • annwae says:

      Dear Grace I can’t imagine the pain of losing a child so young in this way. Yes the guy wrenching pain does get better. Of course you will love her forever and miss her always but you can survive. There is a support forum losingachildtosuicide.ning.com

    • Jennifer says:

      You check out my website dedicated to my son who also died of suicide in 2015. Christophersstory.com and my book Christopher’s story It might help you as well. Prayers for you. There really are slot of resources out there!

  37. Sue says:

    There’s norhing anyone can say to make me feel it wasn’t my fault my child killed herself with Heroin. I didn’t discipline her enough—I let her do
    what she wanted to do. Why I ask myself was I so naive to think all I needed to do was to give her my love, not make waves and hope she’d grow out of it like I did when I was her age.

  38. Mark d says:

    Just want to say that is the best thing I’ve read since I lost my son just over a month ago. I have been searching ways to cope because I’m struggling so bad. This really helped me God bless you xx

    • Anne teal says:

      Keep going mark, I promise you the pain never goes away but the intensity will lessen. I’m 16 months on from losing my beautiful boy brad aged 23, I never thought getting this far was possible.
      Sending strength
      Anne x

  39. Grace says:

    Jennifer, thank you for your website. I still cry every day after almost 7 months. Reading your site helps me know I’m not the only one who lost a child. It gives me some hope. God bless.

    • Jennifer Cothran says:

      Awe I’m so glad because my hope comes in healing. For others and for myself. Our children were, are and will always be our heart. Prayers for you always. Feel free to comment on My site as well. And there is music with a lot of the posts. I allow have It in book form on amazon and Barnes n noble

    • Caroline Eliott says:

      I read what was written about guilt it has helped so much I lost my son suicide Jan 31st 2017. Since then I have felt so much guilt I should have said this and that tried to have done more.

      It has taken alot for me to realise what others have said that no matter how I tried it was not my fault. I agree about human failings. We are only human . I could not be there 24/7 .

      I miss him all the time but I try now to focus on the happier times and I am lucky i have a daughter I have to give her love and time . My son is always with me in heart my memories I had 38 wonderful years I thank God for giving me that precious time.

      None of us know how long we have there will be moments when tears fall I can’t help that grief washes over . But life dosnt stop and I have learned to appreciate life and what I do have my son is with me all the time in heart .

  40. Ava W. says:

    Melissa my precious daughter, committed suicide on January 24, 2018, I will never be the same
    again. She left behind to beautiful daughters, my heart is broken only God knows my pain, and broken heart. It’s hard to understand the mind, and why’s of our own children. Will their be a change?

  41. Melissa says:

    Just Wow! I never thought of it this way… the guilt has practically killed me from the inside out. I won’t get past it overnight but this article has given me something to think about.
    Weas Moms think we need to fix everything, we are their Mama’s but sometimes we can’t fix everything and there in lies the guilt.
    God Bless you and I’m so sorry for your loss!

  42. Grace says:

    Hi all. Wanted to send strength to everyone. Sometimes I feel like it’s one foot forward and two feet back with me. So to release all this angry, sad energy, I have started a foundation in honor of my daughter. Please look for it in the near future. It’s called GIANNA’S VOICE. This is all I can do, help other families or kids, just to survive myself. I pray for guidance. Is just stunning how many people have been somehow affected by suicide…I had no idea the numbers were so incredibly high. Sing with the Angels my beautiful daughter, guide me here on Earth, and know that my love for you has never lessened. I will love you with all my heart and soul and look forward to being together again in Heaven.

  43. Sarah Sparks says:

    Guilt and being a parent goes hand in hand I think. — I lost my 16 year old daughter to suicide 8 days before Christmas 2018. My son and I found her, and it is an impression forever stamped in my mind. She suffered from a rare brain disorder, that caused seizures, developmental issues, depression and anxiety. She never felt she belonged in this world. It wasn’t easy for her. She expressed to me ALL the time she didn’t want to be alive. Everyday I would ask her how she was doing…. and she said “Dead”. She said nothing else, just “Dead”. She was in counseling once a week for quite a long time, and eventually I took her to a psychiatrist. Leading up to her suicide, we all felt she was doing better. She was happier. She was showing signs of improvement. I’ve often heard that happens once they make the final decision to end their life. Part of me feels peace knowing she doesn’t have to suffer so much, but the hardest part is the immense guilt I have. People tell me all the time, “you were a good mother”, “you did everything”, “feeling guilty doesn’t help you heal”, but I have so much to feel guilty for in my own head. I absolutely DID NOT do everything I could’ve. I was often irritated at the constant sadness she felt. There were times I left her alone at home for the night so I could get a “break”, instead of staying with her. This eats me alive. There were so many nights driving home from counseling I was tiered and irritated and many many times I didn’t speak to her about how it went, I wasn’t positive and talkative. She sat there with her headphones on and looked out the window. Why oh why was I so consumed with the burden of driving her there, and rushing, and making dinner, and and … that I could not see past that and talk to her? So many times she came into my room wanting to lay with me or spend time with me and I was so tiered or busy talking on the phone, that I didn’t just stop everything and hold her and talk to her. These reasons and sooooo soooo many others that I have, keep the guilt fresh in my mind. What do you say to the parent who KNOWS they could’ve done more and better? What do you say to those like me who feel like they KNOW that they could have most certainly changed what happened? The only thing that has ever helped me, is that I shouldn’t be so egotistical to think that in this world, I am that powerful. I am not that powerful. I am not.

  44. Grace says:

    Sarah, if you ever get to see this, please know your post above is deeply shared by me. I’m still in counseling after almost a year and a half. The guilt is naturally there. Nothing anyone can say will change that. I’m trying to work on forgiving myself and HER. Guess I’m a bit angry with my daughter for taking her life. Then I look deep into how she must be doing now. No fear, no anxiety, just love and happiness. She always said she didn’t belong in this world too. I believe that now. Every day I wake up is one day closer to being with her again. But I see her smile and hear her giggle all the time. We’ve had to face the most devastating thing a person could ever experience. There has to be something peaceful about knowing (when you’re not doubting) that she’s happy and safe. If this is how she had to leave, I take some comfort in knowing she chose when and how. Thank God she wasn’t hurt, scared or otherwise having a bad experience and someone else took her life. With all said, I still break down (is like a sledge hammer) and suffer PTSD. Our lives are forever changed.

    Fly on baby girl.

  45. Karen Webster says:

    I lost my beautiful boy on 26 Oct 19. I read your story and it’s has helped a little. My grief is still very raw and yes I do blame myself. He had tried this only 6 months before and had tried a few times before that. On the eve before, I spoke to him. He seemed in good spirits. It hurts so much that he was in so much pain and he couldn’t tell me so I could help him. I am totally broken but I need to be strong for his dad and 3 sisters.

    • annwae says:

      I’m so sorry Karen, it hurts so much that our sons didn’t tell us how desperate they were. It is devastating and you have a long journey ahead. Please use the support group or phone a helpline. Don’t be too strong as you need to grieve in your own way I think it is natural for parents to feel responsible but we could not help if we didn’t know they were suffering. We can’t bring them back but we can slowly grieve and heal and learn to live again. I wish you all the best on your journey and I hope you find the support you need.

  46. My son committed suicide 31/1/17 it was his birthday 28/9/78 this year on his birthday I had a meltdown crying losing it I was on vacation with my sister’s it all ended up arguing. They think I should have moved on.

    There are too many elements his sister didn’t help she wasn’t nice things she said about or too him. He once cried and said to me why dosnt she like me mum. His last night on this earth ( of course I didn’t know this) I let him down.

    We were trying to find somewhere to live together I was doing my best I was being bullied at work was suffering stress . My daughter told me why are you always on his side. I tried to be all things to all people. I found a place with local authorities help my son didn’t like it . It was in a quite village with a health centre almost next door. So I told council it wasn’t right next day son changed his mind I had work said I can’t talk now. Later he came round I said I can’t cope I have tried to help I can’t do this iwas so tired I fell asleep but woke after half HR he was getting up I said don’t go stay here I knew in the morning my head would be clearer he said where would I sleep I said my room .

    I slept on the sofa because I suffered from reflux . He said mum have to go back have the cats to feed. He got his bicyle turned he said bye mum and waved (he never waved) . I said bye I love you he said love you too mum. The next day a knock at the door thought it was him it was a policeman telling me my son had passed away. Everything was like it was frozen in time I cried didn’t eat walked around like a zombie. Had to go through things his funeral coroner’s court etc. My daughter went round the next day took all his things she sorted funeral everything she came round day after his funeral said I am an only child now.
    I have struggled ever since to be this perfect mum to her but I never am she can be wonderful or cruel. I have been shut out from my two grandchildren two girls 10 and 12 it’s always been son in laws mum who has most contact. My daughter always puts me down the way I dress my character. After she heard about my meltdown on vacation she said that she won’t tolerate my so called behaviour. That we should talk I can’t talk I can’t argue anymore I have nothing left in me . One of my sister’s is narcistic she sees my daughter she wanted my daughter as her own daughters treated her bad. My daughter sees no wrong. This same sister was also messaging my mentally ill son behind my back . There is more to my sister and my daughter which I won’t go into I had tried to help my sister as her daughter’s were not talking to her including her in my family outings etc her ultimate goal to have what I had. Every time anything happens it involves my sister . She had told my daughter about my meltdown on holiday without me knowing causing my daughter to send horrible message stop using deans death . I wasn’t I can’t cope with the guilt I feel. Still feel. I can’t wipe someone out I gave birth to knew for 38 years.
    I have decided to distance from my daughter I the stress is too much at the moment I can’t be this perfect mother she wants me to be . I was ill last year my daughter would not take me to the hospital she lives 5 mins from. She told me when she did come to see me you have been bad mum not coming over (was ill ). I got rushed to Aand E at one point they thought the worst. Daughter said your thin you need to eat even if it hurts. She didnt pick me up from hospital a good freinds daughter did. So I now can’t do this I need space from my sister and daughter to save my sanity. I live with the guilt of my son. I wish most days I wasn’t here but with him. I don’t tell my daughter she would only shout and scream at me I need peace.

    • Jennifer says:

      I am just so sorry for your loss. Your story is so sad. Breaks my heart for all of you. My son took his life in 2015. His last words were texts to us, his family. “ I love you momma”. I will never be the same person!!!!

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