Living with Grief - Surviving the Suicide of a Child

Regardless of our child’s age, their death by suicide will break our heart and change us forever. 

For a parent, grief can feel unbearable. We’re left behind with unanswered questions and a host of difficult emotions, shattered hopes and expectations.

Facilitated by Petrea King (whose brother died by suicide in 1982), this residential program provides that opportunity in a safe and nurturing space at the Quest for Life Centre in Bundanoon.

Grief around suicide is often complicated as it frequently comes with overwhelming guilt, shame, anger, blame or feelings of failure or regret. We don’t grieve for a time, and then we’re ‘over’ it. We grieve for a lifetime but, with understanding, self-compassion and support, we can learn to live a meaningful life. Grief is intensely personal and idiosyncratic. When we draw together with other parents who truly understand, we can drop the mask of coping and find common ground in our grieving.

Suicide may be planned, but often it’s more a spontaneous decision due to overwhelming feelings of hopelessness, loneliness, emotional or physical pain and/or distress or, their decision stems from a mental illness. Occasionally there are no discernible signs. The child’s suicide is a catastrophic decision, never to be understood.

While mental illness may play a role in suicide, not everyone who dies by suicide is mentally ill. Some families have experienced years of their child’s treatments and hospitalisations. They’ve lived with the daily nightmare of feeling their child slipping through their fingers. While for others their death by suicide comes as a total shock.

We can gain strength, comfort and create a healing pathway to a future worth living when we join with other parents who truly understand the devastating consequences of a child’s death by suicide. 

We will discuss:

  • Managing powerful emotions including anger, despair, regret, shame and guilt
  • Learning to ride the waves of grief and deal with ‘triggers’
  • Healing from ‘woulda’, ‘shoulda’, ‘coulda’, ‘self-blame’, ‘if only’…
  • Dealing with secondary losses due to stigma, family estrangements, lack of compassion, insensitivities and strained communications
  • Why meditation, mindfulness and exercise assist us to find peace
  • Healing from guilt, self-blame or self-loathing
  • Self-care as a foundation for forgiveness, grief and for life

Your attendance will provide support, camaraderie and a sense of shared understanding and purpose. Sometimes we don’t know what we think until we hear what we say. Compassion and attentive listening lie at the heart of Living with Grief.

Sharing our experiences enables us to understand ourselves and others and find the strength and inspiration to grow in wisdom and find peace and healing.

Subsidies are available to enable people on limited incomes to attend.

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