A funeral for a suicide is different than most. There is always sadness. There is always the weight of the loss. But a life taken by its own hand adds blame. Why didn’t I see this coming? Why didn’t I reach out? What could I have done differently? These questions and more go through our heads in the aftermath of such a loss.
I offer a few words to those in the aftermath.
- Suicide is not damnation.
This lie is out there, and it adds to the grief of so many. The lie says that suicide is some kind of unforgivable sin. That to take one’s own life condemns that soul to hellfire. And that unspoken fear persists. On top of all that hurt, a mother and father must wonder if their son or daughter is condemned forever.
This teaching has no foundation in the word of God. The cross of Christ can cover all these sins of men and women. There is hope.
2) Your loved one is not their final act.
They are more than what they’ve done. Don’t let that final act define them. Remember the good. Remember them. Remember the laughter and the time. Don’t let the end of the story color the rest.
3) You are alive.
This thing may gut you. It may hurt you all the way down. But you are still alive. There are still people who love you and need you. You can’t crawl into the bed of your grief and stay there. You have to put one foot in front the other. That spot may always be sensitive to the touch. But the only way to face death is to live.
If you have to, talk to someone. Family, friends, a pastor, a professional counselor. There is healing often in sharing that grief. in dealing with it head on. Some see the tears and the talk as weakness. I’d rather be weak than broken forever. I’d rather be weak and ask for help then to be trapped in it alone. People may call it weakness, but it can be a road to strength.
4) Let your pain be redeemed
Time passes. You learn how to carry the burden, how to even come to peace with it. And then someone near you has a suicide in their home. In their family. All that healing that God has given. All that experience that is only gained through the walking through… you can be a help to others now in a way that few can. A mother who has buried a son can weep with a mother burying her son. A brother with a brother. Somehow, all that hurt that we have survived can become a scar that brings healing to others. I have seen people go through terrible grief, only to lead others down the same path they once tread.
I will end by saying this… if you are considering suicide, reach out. Don’t stay there in that darkness of your mind. Reach out to family and friends. Suicide doesn’t end the pain, it just passes it forward to everyone who loves you. And you are loved. Reach out. Ask for help. it is the better way.
A fellow wanderer on the way,