Monday, April 27, 2015

Suicide Evokes Ripple Effect

As I was paying for my purchases at a warehouse market, I noticed some friends waving to me from over in the deli. I walked over to them and engaged in catch-up conversation. It was so good to see them. She had endured shoulder surgery and spinal injections over this past year, and her husband had lovingly nursed her back to health. They shared stories of their family, and I was sad to hear that they had lost their son-in-law. It is always distressing when a young person dies, and I could hear in their voices that they were heartbroken.

Their daughter and grandchildren, who live some distance away, have suffered great financial and emotional hardships from their loss. Their eldest grandchild has had to postpone her wedding due to the loss of income in their family. Her younger sister has suffered severe depression so much so that she finds it difficult to exit her bed and thus, has dropped out of school. The child I worry most over, however, is their grandson. He is the youngest of their three grandchildren, and additional circumstances have put him into an extremely dangerous and risky category.

When their son-in-law died, the father of their grandson’s best friend also died. Unlike their son-in-law, who died of natural causes, this man committed suicide. Suicide is tragic for everyone who knows the victim, and it puts extreme emotional trauma on the immediate survivors. This trauma is so devastating that if not properly managed, it places other family members at risk of committing the same fate. 

My friend’s grandson and his best friend have been inseparable this past year, each relying on the other for emotional support to make it through the trials of their father’s respective deaths. Unfortunately, their grandson’s best friend fell prey to his father’s suicide, and last week killed himself.

This second suicide is beyond tragic and creates a very dangerous situation for his immediate survivors as well as for his best friend. Due to the unique situation of both boys losing their father’s simultaneously while relying upon each other for support during their grief recovery, the suicide of this young boy puts my friend’s grandson in a uniquely prone situation of committing suicide himself. 

After a lengthy conversation with my friends, I suggested they consider professional counseling for their daughter and grandchildren. As it is apparent that she would benefit from their assistance, I also suggested that they leave the warehouse and immediately drive to their daughter's home. Their grandchildren are left to themselves all day while their mother is away trying to replace her husband’s income, and it is highly probable that their grandson should be under suicidal watch.

According to my friends, their daughter and her children delayed their grief experience through extended denial and now find themselves in an extremely complicated grief experience. Their eldest granddaughter will probably recover with light intervention. She has suffered personal tragedy before, and she can draw upon the guidance of her professional counseling through her previous experience. She also has her fiancĂ© and wedding plans to occupy her mind, as she has been fortunate enough to receive a generous gift of financial support to accomplish her wedding from a benevolent soul. Their granddaughter, who dropped out of school, is being placed in a particular program where she will be allowed to self-pace her studies, and will receive grief counseling support through this program’s guidance system. The grandson, however, has just been knocked down to a completely new level of pain and anguish, and it is imperative that he not only receive familial support, but immediate professional intervention. 

One should never take the possible risk of suicide lightly. If you know someone who might be at risk of suicide, do not take this responsibility upon yourself. A suicidal person needs immediate professional intervention.



If one ever feels overly sad, considers harming, or killing oneself, immediately call 911 and ask for help.

Do not assume that these thoughts are fleeting or of little concern.

Grief exacerbates melancholy and abruptly overcomes one’s ability to recover and survive.

(Tracy Renee Lee, Mourning Glory II)

I hope my friends are away this week with their daughter and grandchildren. I know that if they were to fall short of preventing further trauma and loss in their daughter’s family, they would not be able to endure it. 

The curse of suicide is that it often evokes a ripple effect upon the survivors.

My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a funeral director, author, and professional speaker. I write books and weekly bereavement articles related to understanding and coping with grief. I am the American Funeral Director of the Year Runner-Up and recipient of the BBB’s Integrity Award. I deliver powerful messages and motivate audiences toward positive recovery. It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.

Please follow my blog at follow me on Twitter @PushnUpDaisies and visit my website for additional encouragement, information or booking speeches at