Has your close coworker committed suicide.
January 6, 2017 7:06 AM   Subscribe

Please tell me how you got through it. If you could comfort or give any advice to yourself when this happened, what would you say?

We just found out this morning.

I know this is all natural. Feeling like this isn't real, having trouble concentrating, wanting to think about it, wanting to think about anything except it. One moment I know it's not my fault, the next I'm thinking up Fringey alternate universes where he didn't succeed and is still alive. I'm not angry, just struck with this incredible sense of loss that he's gone. I know I just need to wait. I know that whatever I think won't make him come back.

I guess what I'm asking is, has this happened to you? Do you know any good resources for how to grieve or take care of myself and other people in this situation?
For extra credit, I live in Japan, do you know any resources (Japanese or English) that are helpful? I do know about TELL and will probably call them soon too just to talk.

Thank you.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
This has happened to me, about ten years ago now.

I kept being just about to talk to him. Your mind does not lose its habit of "knowing" that people are there, even when they are not, for a while. It is spooky, and it also happened later with the death of a friend. (At the time I theorized that this is why people started believing in ghosts. There was a part of my mind that just "knew" he was standing right out of my sight, even though he wasn't.)

A couple of times, in the one or two days directly afterward, I came close to screaming at him. I thought if I screamed loudly enough he could hear me.

About eight or ten months later I wrote a poem (or prose poem, or something) about him - it just sort of came unbidden into my mind as a coalescence of all the jumbled up things I had been thinking about and figuring out during that time. I stopped thinking about it as much after that. I guess what I am saying is, there might be a sort of natural resolution for people after a while where the mind realizes it's ok to stop thinking about it. But before that happens, maybe it's ok to think about. A lot of that thinking in those months was difficult and painful but I would not lose, now, what I gained from it.

This was a time when I was very isolated socially (and he was one of the few I had been "friends" with at work - rather than just "friendly"). My advice for grieving would be not to let yourself be isolated. Let your friends know you'd like to be with them, even if you don't feel like talking or doing much. Go to where people are.
posted by frobozz at 7:18 AM on January 6, 2017 [4 favorites]

I'm sorry you are going through this. It is a reminder that human life is sooo fragile.

I think the best thing you can do is allow yourself and others to grieve however you/they grieve, without judgement. People handle it all differently. Allow yourself and others to cry, feel sad and/or angry - or whatever emotion - when it is experienced (as possible). Talking about it definitely helps most people, sharing memories about your co-worker with others.

I lost my brother to suicide last May. He was mentally ill for a long time, but the suicide was a shock. The best way I personally have made it through is to simply pray/talk or whatever you want to call it - whenever I felt the need to "tell him" that I hope he found peace (he was schizophrenic, so he was quite tormented). It helps me feel better - wishing peace for him.

Sorry that I do not have specific things to link to, but there have a been a lot of recent posts lately about grieving due to a suicide (unfortunately) that would probably have specific resources.

Take care.
posted by foxhat10 at 7:28 AM on January 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

The Grief Recovery Method book is really excellent, if you're the type of person who tends toward workbook style processing. So sorry for your loss.
posted by fairlynearlyready at 12:06 PM on January 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

So sorry for your loss. A similar event occurred with a coworker of mine a few years ago. We were all incredibly upset, and I think many of us questioned our relationships and actions in light of what happened.

I got through it by making sure I spoke directly to my coworker's family members, who I had never met, about what a great job the coworker did, how well liked they were and how much I personally appreciated this person. The individual may be gone, but I thought it was really important that the family know that there were many reasons to be proud of who the person was. Another one of my coworkers invited the family over to their house. We all still miss this person, both personally and professionally. It's still really upsetting.
posted by cnc at 12:07 PM on January 6, 2017

We had an Irish wake for our colleague at a nearby bar and drank and told stories about him. He was funny, hardworking and we all liked him.

Our colleague was popular and smart. He killed himself one weekend while out of town when he was drunk and despondent over a failed relationship.

His parents came to visit us (from out of town). It was hard. They wanted answers and we were the people who saw him everyday. But we were just as clueless. We thought he was great. We'd given him a raise just days before.

Time is really the only antidote to grief. I still think about my friend. He was such a cool guy who did such a dumb thing and I think about his poor parents who came to us for answers and we had none.
posted by shoesietart at 3:34 PM on January 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm so sorry for your loss. Someone dear to me died by suicide last year. I'll share my experience in case anything is useful.
*For months afterwards, I was "inexplicably" tired, needing way more sleep and naps than usual. My friends who have grieved before assured me that this was normal and my brain working hard to integrate this huge thing into my life. Not struggling against the tiredness and seeing it as a healing thing helped.
*I totally had the "maybe this is just a misunderstanding and the police found somebody else and she's still alive" type thoughts. Talking about that with other people who loved her when those thoughts came up and knowing they had the same thoughts helped make it real.
*The first time I lost someone in tragic circumstances, I was shocked SHOCKED that the world still went on. That subway was still open. That people were still jerks on the road. This time, I found it an odd comfort. I gave myself holidays from my grief by being out in the world where things kept moving forward, and then retreating back to my bed to cry when needed.
*I let my friends and family know what had happened. That way they were there to support me and also could keep an eye on how well I was looking after myself.
posted by Chrysalis at 7:53 PM on January 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

Feel free to email me if it would be helpful to talk to someone. I'm so sorry you're going through this.
posted by Chrysalis at 4:27 AM on January 11, 2017

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