The Difficulty of Suicide and Grief

grief suicide imageSuicide and Grief

Grief in response to a suicide can be particularly intense and difficult. It can raise many questions for family and friends.

At a Glance
-Grief in response to suicide can be particularly intense and complicated.
-Some people find it difficult to be open about the cause of death but being open and honest as much as possible may help you feel less isolated.
-Feelings of guilt, shame and blame are very common.
-It’s important not to expect too much of yourself in the early stages.
-In a family, the pain, hurt can make it difficult to communicate with one another. Conflicts can arise. It’s important to communicate while at the same time having respect for the differing ways of handling things.
-There is no wrong or right way to grieve. There is no specific timeline.
-Don’t be afraid to ask for help; it can make a real difference to you and your family and friends.
-Some of the experiences of bereavement following suicide might include:
a sense of unreality, numbness, nightmares and intrusive thoughts,
feelings of guilt and failure that it was not prevented,
feelings of guilt at perceived failed responsibilities, and a sense of blame,
an unrelenting need to ask why, to try and make sense of and understand why it happened; feelings of rejection and abandonment, anger towards the person who has suicided, personal diminishment, that is, experiencing the suicide as a reflection of the quality of the relationship with the person, a sense of shame and stigma that other people will think negatively about you and your family. Sometimes this can result in feeling alone and wanting to withdraw from others.

What Do I Tell Others?

Some people find it difficult to tell others about the cause of death and choose not to do so. Initially this may be easier. However, it may result in experiencing a sense of unease and distance in your relationships with others. This may lead to a lack of support and a sense of isolation. Being as open and honest as possible is recommended.

Some things which may help

It is important not to expect too much of yourself in the early stages. You may not have the energy or motivation to live your life in the same way as before. Remind yourself that you are reacting to a devastating blow.
Some people find it helpful to realise and acknowledge that their lives will never be the same again. It has been described this way by one: “You will never be the same again, you will never get over it, but you will have a life again, you will wake up in the morning and feel good. You will start to make plans for the future. At some point, life will feel normal again; not the old normal, the new normal.”
Many people who are bereaved through suicide have feelings of guilt and regret. They may feel they should have seen the suicide coming. ‘If only …” or ‘I wish …’ are common thoughts. Parents may feel there was something wrong with their parenting. Brothers, sisters and partners may feel responsible particularly when there has been family stress or conflict. It is important for bereaved people to remember that they acted with the information they had at the time. With hindsight it is often easy to see signs of the person’s distress and to criticise what was or was not done.
Some may feel there were many things they would have liked to have said to the person but were unable to because of the suddenness of the death. They may yearn to tell them they were loved, or to settle misunderstandings. It is common to feel sadness about the unfinished, unlived life, but it may help to recognise the person’s contributions and influences during their life and to remember the time spent together.
Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance. Some people will not be able to handle your grief, so find those who can. Seek out an understanding friend, family member or support group. Some bereaved people suggest it is best to do this sooner rather than later as it can make a real difference to you and your family and friends.
For some people there may be an experience of relief, particularly if there has been a period of difficulty leading up to the death.
In a family, it is important to communicate with one another while at the same time having respect for each other’s way of handling the experience.

How Can I Support Someone?
Those in the community sometimes feel unable to provide adequate support to those bereaved by suicide. They may struggle to know what to say or do. They may feel awkward or stay away leaving the bereaved feeling angry and isolated.
Any grief can be difficult to respond to and discuss and the stigma still attached to suicide makes this even harder.  Non judgmental support is the best support.  Please don’t underestimate what a quality hug and just letting the loved ones and friends know that you are here for them.  That’s why our community is the best.   If anyone needs more information, please go to for grief support videos or give us a call at anytime.


Starting the Conversation: Why Pre Need Contracts Protect You and Your Family

The weight of determining the right type of funeral for a loved one can be overwhelming to grieving family members. There are so many decisions to make in attending to the important details of a celebration of life. And, trying to address these important matters while in the throes of grief can be unduly stressful on a family.

That is why many of us are choosing to be proactive in making important decisions regarding funeral arrangements, even in our younger adult years. Pre-planning provides numerous benefits that help protect our loved ones while maintaining clarity around our personal wishes and the type of service most meaningful to us.

Pre-Planning vs. Pre-Paid
Pre-planning essentially is the careful input of the individual with respect to his or her own funeral and cemetery arrangements in advance and through the use of a plan or contract. Many people choose to make their own arrangements to ensure that final wishes are carried out and to spare loved ones the difficulty of making decisions during a tumultuous time.

Some individuals opt for an additional level of assurance, by financing or scheduling payments for their services in advance, ensuring assets are protected and family members are released from an unexpected financial burden.

How are Pre-Paid Options Handled?
Generally speaking, there are four ways people finance their funeral arrangements.

Life insurance purchased solely to cover the services, merchandise, and cemetery costs selected
Advance insurance premiums to address fixed costs (with an understanding of what will happen in the event the premiums have not been met)
Funeral trusts
Bank-held trusts or savings accounts to be dispersed for funeral expenses (this option relies on communication and planning with your family or funeral provider)
No matter what manner of payment is selected, it is important to get as much information as possible, especially regarding funds to be dispersed and what might be needed from a designated family member or provider.

Benefits of Pre-Need Planning and Financing
Allows you and your family the time needed to select the service that is aligned with your vision and financing
Creates the space for a personalized approach to ritual, whether it is simple or multifaceted
Takes the pressure off of family during a time of intense emotional upheaval
Eliminates the financial strain of unplanned funeral arrangements and quick decision-making under the burden of heartache
Creates an assurance of fixed costs and empowers you to choose expenditures and prepare a payment plan that fits within your budget
Certain costs may qualify under Federal Title 19, pre-paid funeral expenses, and are therefore not considered assets by Medicaid
While there are numerous advantages to determining the right funeral plan for you, it is equally important to allow loved ones to be a part of ceremonial decision-making. End-of-life celebration decisions are both personal and familial.

Additionally, pre planning your funeral arrangements at a funeral home doesn’t mean you are required to have your end of life service choice with that same funeral home.  Things change in communities.  Funeral homes sale, funeral directors retire, new funeral homes are built in communities, and other personal reasons may come up that we may choose to change our arrangements.   It is actually very simple to change  arrangements, and you don’t even have to be in contact with the business that your plan was initially set up with.  It is very common for arrangements to be changed and all you have to do is contact the funeral home that your interested in transferring to.  They will be happy to assist you in the simple process.

Sinnott Funeral Home is here for any questions on pre planning.  You can call us at any time or go to to get some great additional preplanning information and informative videos.  You can also start your pre planning process with an online pre planning form.

We are here to help guide you through this most important process of distinction and comfort.  Sinnott Funeral Home, Helping families celebrate a live lived and loved for many years to come….

What Not to Say

blog:not to say

Lets be honest, we all are unsure on what is the right thing to say to a grieving person that has just lost someone very special to them.  This can cause us anxiety and make for awkward situations.  Here’s a few tips from Sinnott Funeral Home that can hopefully help you next time someone special to you is grieving.

1. I know how you feel.

Even if you have lost someone close to you, you don’t know how they feel. Everyone feels differently.

2. Everything Happens For a Reason
Even if that’s what you believe and even if that’s what they believe, that is not what they want to hear. This has probably already crossed their mind.

3. You Just Need to Move On
No. This is insensitive. When someone loses someone it takes a lot of coping and adjusting, it is impossible to “just move on.”

4. Just Keep Busy and Move On
As with number 3 people need to cope in their own way.

5. Get On With Life
The ONLY time this should EVER be said is when the person is in danger. It should be said in a gentle way and get help for the person if needed. However, for the first while life is not going to go on for the person.

6. Things Will Get Better
While this may be true, it doesn’t seem like it to the person and will probably only frustrate the person.

7. They Are in a Better Place Now
Unless you are sure of the person’s religious beliefs, don’t say this, it may insult them.

8. God is Taking Care of Them Now
See number 7. Also people are sensitive after suffering a loss and may take this as if they weren’t good enough to take care of the person.

9. It Was Just Tissue
This only really applies in miscarriages, but the person loved this “tissue.” It was her b

10. You Can Still Have More Kids
This only really applies for the death of a child or a miscarriage, but despite other kids or the prospect of other kids, they loved this child and nothing will ever replace them.

In the end the best thing to say and do is just to hug them, be there for them, let them know that you are there for them, and that you love them.  

Sinnott Funeral Home ~ “Helping families celebrate a live lived and loved” 

Coping with grief during the holiday season

“I’ll be home for Christmas, you can plan on me…”

As the lights twinkle and the merriment of shopping and gatherings increase, those who are mourning the loss of a loved one may feel like outsiders to joy.

It’s true… Holidays can be difficult times – especially the first year after the passing of a loved one. Where music and laughter flow freely, our hearts may be troubled and our sadness, palpable. While it may not feel like a happy time for you; when in mourning, knowing that you’re not alone can help provide some solace.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to mourning and its timeline. We are all different in the ways in which we grieve and how long it will take to heal. Because the holidays center on family and friends, this can also be a beneficial time to fully embrace what you feel and start to heal those wounds.

Acknowledge and Honor Your Feelings
It’s OK to feel the loss and acknowledge your less-than-enthusiastic holiday spirit. Holidays are rarely as picture-perfect as commercials make them out to be – for anyone. Do as much (or as little) as what feels right to you.

The Love That Never Ends
Some people find holidays to be oddly comforting – a time to commemorate the magical moments and memories spent from years past. Taking time to talk about these wonderful moments – from childhood through the years – can illustrate the truth of love: that it is never-ending.

Make a Plan
If you are already feeling quite overwhelmed, ask a friend or loved one to help you make a plan for optimally dealing with the next few months. Are there things you enjoy doing, such as volunteering or knitting, getting out in nature or watching a sports game? Create a list of things to do that bring you comfort and include contact information for friends, family, clergy, a therapist, or anyone else in your support circle.

Reach Out
Sometimes we choose to repress our feelings or “keep them to ourselves” for fear of bring down the spirits of others. Unfortunately, this denies us a healing opportunity and robs loved ones and friends a chance to be supportive (which is also healing). If you feel lonely and want companionship, pick up the phone, invite someone to coffee, or volunteer at your favorite nonprofit.

Take Care of Yourself
In our grief, it’s easy to let the little things go… chores, errands, cooking, and self-care. By focusing on completing daily tasks, such as prepping the garden bed for next season or shopping for delicious, whole foods for a scrumptious homemade dinner, you might find yourself feeling a bit better. Daily self-care – taking a warm bubble bath, meditating or praying, or lighting a favorite scented candle – is cathartic and helps promote all levels of healing: physical, emotional, and spiritual.

Create New Memories (While Honoring the Old)
It’s likely you are not alone in your grief. Even if others were not close to your departed loved one, they may feel a sense of sadness as they walk with you during this tough time. While it is easy to get lost in some reverie of …what once was, there are also opportunities for creating new memories and traditions, such as an annual gathering of friends or a night of favorite holiday passages and readings.

If it feels appropriate, you can include a memorial or symbolic gift to honor the memory of your loved one by planting a fir tree, offering seeds on the wind to the many winter birds, or compiling a cd of favorite songs.

Sinnott Funeral Home encourages you to visit our grief library at

Sinnott Funeral Home wishes everyone a safe and happy holiday season. we are also here for anyone having struggles with grief during this difficult time, please don’t hesitate to give us a call for some support. God bless to all…


Sinnott Funeral Home would like to invite everyone to come enjoy some coffee and treats this Wednesday, December 16, 2015 from 10:30 to 11:30 am at 2030 Hwy 5, Albia, Iowa,  52531.  This is something we started a few weeks ago and we would like to extend the invitation to anyone looking for some good coffee, treats, and good conversation.