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Explaining suicide

Posted by on Apr. 23, 2011 at 7:48 PM
  • 19 Replies
My brother committed suicide yesterday morning. My family is devastated, and would appreciate your prayers.
My 12 year old knows that he died, and is devastated. My brother was a Marine, and my SS thought the world of him and wanted to be just like him. But he doesn't know how he died. He has just started asking questions today. I've had to tell him that we will talk about it later because I don't know what to tell him. Should I tell him that he committed suicide? If so, how can I explain it without causing my SS any more pain? If not, what should I tell him? Any advice?
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by on Apr. 23, 2011 at 7:48 PM
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by on Apr. 23, 2011 at 8:14 PM
I have no clue but wanted to say I am so sorry for your loss! My first thought is that twelve is old enough to explain certain aspects. Starting out with maybe if he was depressed or the issues he struggled with if he had been deployed. Do you know what let up to his suicide?
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by on Apr. 23, 2011 at 8:40 PM

My condolences to your family.  What a sad thing to lose a loved one.

Yes, I do believe that you should tell your SS the truth.  He will find out at some point and will probably be very resentful that you did not tell him the truth.  12 is more than old enough to hear the truth - the whole truth.  My brother-in-law committed suicide when our kids were about 9 and we told them them the truth from the get go.  Including how it happened.  We stressed that my sister and their uncle tried hard to get help for him and his depression (which they did) but they couldn't.  There should not be a stigma about suicide.  People get depressed for many reasons and most of which are out of their control.  They need the support and care of many people and sometimes even that is not enough to help.

Because this is such a close family member, it will be particularly difficult to get through the explanation, but I truly believe it is necessary.  I would also strongly suggest some initial counseling.  You may not need more than a session or two but just talking to a neutral third party who is there to help guide you through this challenging time that lies ahead for all of you.  Everyone will have so many conflicting and overwhelming feelings - all of which are normal - but hard to wade through on your own.

Hugs and prayers to all of you.

by on Apr. 23, 2011 at 8:53 PM
Thanks for the suggestions.
Bellasmom, no one knew he was feeling this way. He was an up-beat, outgoing, all around great guy. We were just laughing the other day because he found a goose egg and ate it. We had no clue. He didn't express negative emotions very well. All we know is that he cancelled his plans with his girlfriend, who is expecting his child next month, and went out with his buddies. He came home drunk, and argued with his girlfriend, then went into the bedroom and shot himself. Nobody saw it coming. We are all wondering "if I had just called more often would it have helped?" and "why didn't he just call me?" rationally, I know it's not anyone's fault, but you just can't help but to wonder. I suppose I'll have to tell my SS the truth. It's just so hard. I know he will feel like my brother didn't care enough about him to stay. I feel that way. It hurts.
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by on Apr. 24, 2011 at 1:15 AM
so sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine having to explain it when out seems so unclear why it even happened. I do strongly suggest therapy though. again, so sorry.
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by on Apr. 24, 2011 at 8:53 AM

I am so terribly sorry for your loss.  I will keep you all in my prayers. 

I have bene touched TOO many times in my life by suicide,  unfortunately,  so I know how hard it is to wrap your head around.  Explaining to children is a whole different thing,  I know.  My son knows what suicide is,  because like I said,  too many times it has touched our lives.  We talk about it and he knows that suicide is a very sad and tragic thing that happens when someone is so sick mentally/emotionally/physically that they cannot see any other way around the pain they feel but to end it by killing themselves.  I have explained that it is just that the person is SO sad and hopeless that it is like they are NOT themselves when they do this.  I explain that they were just very very sick and as hard as it is,  the people left behind must do what they can to move on and know that it was not a malicious act toward anyone, but a means of removing themself from their problems.  It is also an opportunity to open up dialogue about depression and asking for help so they do not get to that point in life.  Sorry I am rambling, but this is something close to home and these are conversations that we have had too often. 


by on Apr. 24, 2011 at 9:10 AM

 First and foremost I am so very sorry for the loss of your brother. (((hugs)))

As for addressing how he passed away. I'm not sure how you can go about that, other than telling him the truth or not. That would be a tough choice for me as well.

by on Apr. 24, 2011 at 10:23 AM

I'm so sorry. I have no idea how to explain it... my sister was murdered 6 years ago and just yesterday I explained to my 12yr old how she died.

Maybe give it a few days, so you have time to think as well?....I wish you the best.

by on Apr. 24, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Im so so so sorry for your loss, suicide is a sickness.....

As for the children... such a hard thing to have to explain that to them, but I agree you need to be honest, but also let them know about depression and how it can completely take over one's mind and so they don't have much controll over what they are doing....  his heas was sick, and he just wanted to get a way, not wanting to hurt those left behind, but we all know those left behind hurt so bad.....  Talk to them, encourage them to ask questions.... maybe talk to someone like the girl above wrote......

Im so sorry... I wish yall the best.....

by on Apr. 24, 2011 at 5:36 PM
I did talk with a counselor this morning. I'll take my SS to see her Monday. Since the funeral will be Tuesday, maybe it'll help to talk with her before then. I don't know. I did tell him the truth. He's very angry and hurt, and feels bad for being angry. I'm even more angry at my brother for putting my family through this. I don't hate him, but I'm really mad. He could have reached out to so many different people. Our family is very close. Not perfect, but definately not disfunctional. He could have called us. I would have made the trip immediately to be there for him. I'd much prefer that to going to his funeral. I know he must have just snapped. It definately doesn't seem like it was a planned thing. And I know he must have been hurting so much. And I do feel so sorry for him. But I'm still mad. Hopefully that'll pass in time. Thanks for all your help and support!
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by on Apr. 24, 2011 at 5:56 PM
I'm so sorry for your loss
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