When a Loved One Commits Suicide

One of the greatest pains a person can face is the loss of a loved one to suicide.

I know. When I was only two years old, my grandmother ended her own life. I was too young to understand at the time. For years to follow, however, I faced many times when I wished my grandmother was there. From Grandparents Day at school to family holiday gatherings, something—someone—was missing.

Many other loved ones face similar pain. While there are no magic words to remove the heartache involved with losing a loved one to suicide, I have found encouragement in three important spiritual truths.

First, suicide is often misunderstood. We tend to believe a person “commits” suicide, ending his or her own life. The situation is often more complex. Mental illness frequently serves as a factor, leading to actions a person would never make under other circumstances.

Second, we don’t have to live overwhelmed over the suicide victim’s eternal destiny. In the Bible, Samson ended his own life, yet served as an example of godly faith and is certainly in heaven today (Hebrews 11:32). On the other hand, other people in Scripture committed suicide as unbelievers (1 Kings 16:18). In some cases, uncertainty remains (such as with Saul’s servant in 1 Samuel 17:23). Suicide is not a mortal sin (as often taught in Roman Catholic tradition). God knows each person’s heart and handles the situation according to His perfect wisdom.

Third, it’s not your fault. You may feel guilt as the result of losing a loved one to suicide, but that does not make you responsible for his or her actions. Do not second guess yourself, saying, “If only I had been there,” or, “If I had only done something sooner…” We are not in the place of God. In our human frailty, we do our best to love the Lord and love our neighbor as ourselves. When tragedy strikes, it is a time to mourn and comfort one another, but not to take blame for a tragedy we did not commit.

God knows your heart and understands your pain. We can trust Him in our weakness, looking to Him for strength. We are “not to be anxious about anything” (Philippians 4:6), but are called to trust in the Lord to help us walk through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4).

 

In crisis? Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org. This page is not monitored 24/7 and is not intended for crisis intervention.

 

4 Comments

  1. Brenda on November 17, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    My x daughter in law husband took his life. He left behind 2 small sons and a step daughter plus his wife of 7 years. They had been separated for a few months. His father died recently also. He has a bad back and wasnt able to work. He was saved and believed in God. Yet he took himself out of his wifes and babies lives. I dont think they will ever be the same. I dont know how he could do this to his family. Please help me to understand. He was only 30 years old and was a good father and person.

    • Hector Hernandez on December 25, 2017 at 10:52 pm

      How are the kids dealing with it?

    • P T on March 6, 2018 at 8:19 am

      I would guess somehow he believed he was sparing them the pain he was feeling. He really believed they would be better off without him

  2. Bon on September 2, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    my 23yo son died in a car accident, even though he was brought up catholic was baptized, made his 1st communion, shame on me but I don’t know what he believed.Now I am in fear and don’t know if he went to heaven with Jesus. I pray for his soul and ask Jesus to bring him to heaven with him…but how can I know for sure?

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