Probably the worst thing about losing my father to suicide was that I could never stop thinking about it. It sat right under the edge of every thought and action. His death invaded me, waking or asleep. It was hard to know how to go about my life.
One woman that I met at a support group who had lost her husband to suicide said she had to structure her life tightly to keep going. “I did everything I could to limit the impact of the suicide and grief on my life,” she said. “I kept going. I kept functioning. I took enough control that it didn’t cause additional problems for me.” I think her organized methods of structure helped her compartmentalize her emotions.
My sister told me that she put her grief and memories of my father into an emotional box and took them out when she had the strength.
I found that I couldn’t handle a tightly structured day or find an emotional box tight enough to hold back the thoughts. In the beginning, my mind didn’t operate well enough to keep up with details. Silent screams, memories, and images wormed their way in and out of all details. I had to leave plenty of time for staring into space. At work, I eased out of as much stress at possible. At home, I refinished furniture, sanded the wood in a hypnotic state and thanked God that I didn’t have children. Each of us did what we needed to get through.
Find what works best and do that. There are no rules in how to go about a day after you have lost someone to suicide. Just getting through it is the goal.