Helping A Survivor Heal

Historian Arnold Toynbee once wrote, “There are always two parties to a death;
the person who dies and the survivors who are bereaved.” Unfortunately, many
survivors of suicide suffer alone and in silence. The silence that surrounds them
often complicates the healing that comes from being encouraged to mourn.
Because of the social stigma surrounding suicide, survivors feel the pain of the
loss, yet may not know how, or where, or if, they should express it. Yet, the only
way to heal is to mourn. Just like other bereaved persons grieving the loss of
someone loved, suicide survivors need to talk and to cry in order to heal. As a
result of fear and misunderstanding, survivors of suicide deaths are often left
with a feeling of abandonment at a time when they desperately need unconditional
support and understanding. Without a doubt, suicide survivors suffer in a variety
of ways: one, because they need to mourn the loss of someone who has died; two,
because they have experienced a sudden, typically unexpected traumatic death;
and three, because they are often shunned by a society unwilling to enter into the
pain of their grief.

Respect The Need To Grieve
Often ignored in their grief are the parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts,
uncles, spouses and children of persons who have committed suicide. Why?
Because of the nature of the death, it is sometimes kept a secret. If the death
cannot be talked about openly, the wounds of grief will go unhealed.

We at Hospice of Queen Anne’s recognize the additional burden of suicidal death
and would like to offer a Suicide Survivor Support Group. Our staff will provide
a compassionate listening environment and will create a foundation for the healing
process. Support groups are one of the best ways to help survivors of suicide. In
our group, survivors can connect with other people who share the commonality of
the experience. Participants will be encouraged to tell their stories as much, and
as often, as they like. We will be offering a Suicide Survivor support Group,
beginning Monday, September 14, from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 pm for 6-8 weeks.

If you or someone you know is interested in participating in our upcoming Suicide
Survivor Group or need more information, please contact: Rhonda Knotts at
443-262-4100, extension 124, or by email at rknotts@hospiceofqueenannes.org

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