Funeral Planning while Grieving a Suicide

The loss of a loved one is always difficult, but losing one to suicide is particularly devastating. If you’ve lost someone in this way, your own feelings may be conflicted, and your distress made worse by real or perceived stigma other people assign to your loved one’s death. You may feel isolated and alone, and if you’re a Catholic, you may even be concerned that your family member may not be able to have a Catholic funeral or a burial in a Catholic cemetery. We want to do what we can to help comfort you with some reassuring facts and strategies to help you cope.

First, take comfort and peace in this: the Catholic Church has empathy for you and your loved one. The church understands that people who die from suicide may suffer from fear, depression, confusion and serious psychological instability. The church is made of people, who also understand the pain and loss the family is suffering. Those who have died from suicide are not only permitted a Catholic funeral and burial in a Catholic Cemetery- the American Catholic ritual has prayers specifically tailored to this unfortunate circumstance seeking forgiveness for the person who has died and consolation for the family and loved ones left behind.

Once you understand that your church will accommodate your loved one and support your healing, it will be easier for you to move on to caring for yourself.

  • Don’t cut yourself off from other people. You may feel very alone during this time, but it’s important to reach out to others. Many people will want to help, but be unsure how to reach out. Don’t be afraid to ask someone for help and try to maintain your routine as much as possible, interacting with those people who are uplifting and encouraging.
  • Do make sure you’re getting adequate sleep and eating well. Even though it’s a good idea to stay with your normal activities as much as possible, it’s also very important not to push yourself or overdo it. Staying healthy is vital to your healing process, and the best way to do this is to get plenty of sleep and maintain a healthy diet.
  • Consider a support group. Even if you’re not someone who enjoys joining groups, now is the time to get past your own negative feelings and find a support group. There’s nothing quite like interacting with other people who understand exactly what you’re going through from personal experience, to set you on the path to healing.
  • Don’t rush yourself through the grieving process. There’s no expiration date for grief. Take as much time as you need for all the things you need to do. Don’t rush into any major decision whether it’s getting rid of your loved one’s things, planning a move, or rearranging things in your house.
  • Understand that everyone grieves in their own way, and don’t let anyone tell you what you “should” feel or do. There are no hard and fast rules for grieving, handling belongings, or “getting over it.” Trust your own feelings, but if you feel you’re not moving on as quickly as you should, find someone to talk to about your grief.

No matter what your circumstance may be, if you are grieving a loss and need to plan a Catholic funeral or memorial, we are here to help. Call us today at (888) 582-6882 or visit our website for more information.


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