How Suicide Impacts those Left Behind by Brandy Lidbeck

posted in: Uncategorized | 9

I want to give readers a glimpse into the book,The Gift of Second: Healing from the Impact of Suicide. It is my hope this book will begin the healing process for so many impacted by a loved one’s suicide. You can check out this short 3-minute video trailer to see what the book is all about. The following excerpt is from a chapter titled “Guilt and Shame.”

Many times after a suicide, the survivor believes they failed in some regard, failed as a protecting parent, a lovable child, a supportive spouse, a safe sibling, or a caring and listening friend. We believe that if we had been more approachable or more helpful, or if our loved one knew how much we truly loved them, then they wouldn’t have been forced to choose death. We believe we failed and so we believe we are failures. We go through life shaming ourselves for not measuring up, not showing up, and truthfully, we shame ourselves for not being their Savior. We kick ourselves for not being everything our loved one needed to stay alive, and we blame ourselves for not keeping them alive. We carry the burden of a scarlet letter ‘F’ for Failure. We failed to protect and save our loved one because we were not enough.

I bought into this lie for far too long—decades, in fact. I believed all of the things mentioned above, and after several interviews and conversations with other survivors, I know I am not unique in this regard. We are not their Saviors, and to accept the responsibility of their choice to die is neither fair nor healthy. There is no other cause of death that wrecks the emotional psyche of a survivor quite like suicide. I have met people who lost a loved one to suicide forty years ago who still express feelings of guilt and shame. The emotional and physical toll this self-imposed blame takes on a survivor can be devastating. Countless survivors share that they have chronic health problems today, likely due to the stress of blame, shame, and guilt compounded over years.

boy-984313_1280

Out of this entire book, there is no more important message that I want to share with you: You are not to blame, and you are enough. Our loved ones were sick. They were dealing with mental illness, they felt hopeless, and they believed their lives had no value. They were in an incredibly dark place which we could not penetrate. Professionals could not save them, medicine did not cure them, and love from others couldn’t touch them. Their choice to die was their last solution to end the unimaginable physical and emotional pain they experienced every minute of every day. They were not intentionally trying to bring us pain but rather desperately trying to end their own. We will not condone suicide, but neither can we continue to take responsibility for it or allow it determine our own value.

standing_book-01

The Gift of Second: Healing from the Impact of Suicide is available now on Amazon. I encourage you to pick up a copy for yourself or anyone you know impacted by a suicide loss. 

9 Responses

  1. Dianna Matzo
    | Reply

    Knowing the truth in your head and knowing it in your heart are two different things. I can say analytically, that it’s not my fault. But then my heart aches with the memories of how I let her down in her last 6 months or more of life. I thought of her as my best friend, yet she forgot to name me (her sister) in her list of “I love yous” in her suicide note. How can the heart get past that?

    • brandylidbeck
      | Reply

      I understand. I have to tell myself if they were in a bad enough place to take their own life, they were in a horrible place, period. Unable to think straight. 🙁

    • Jill Brown
      | Reply

      How many times have I tried using those very words of knowing it logically in my head but it not translating to my heart to both myself and others? My son was in a bad way; I can still see him sitting on our sofa December 2013 with tears in his eyes telling me that he was so tired of hurting, that he didn’t want to die but he was tired of living with his pain… By mid-January 2014 he was gone. He was 19. The guilt is eating me alive; I saw it coming. I tried to get him help. I tried to love him enough. I reached out to anyone I could think of that might be able to get through to him. It was obviously not enough and trying to live with that, come to terms with all the stuff we know to be true but can’t make ourselves feel it…. It’s exhausting. And it hurts more now than then. Because now the reality, the finality is slowly sinking in and there is nothing that can change it. It’s a distinction that so many just can’t seem to grasp; knowing it in your head but not feeling it in your heart is a brutal mental tug-of-war to wrestle with.

  2. Joann
    | Reply

    It has taken me a long time to believe that, and I am so thankful for your honesty about this mental illness. Thank You.

  3. Sherry
    | Reply

    I think of all the awful emotions that those of us are left behind to deal with, the guilt and blame are the worst. We truly want to believe we could have done something to stop them. I am so glad you have written a book to make sense of the senseless. Thank you!!

    • brandylidbeck
      | Reply

      You are welcome, Sherry. My hope is it speaks truth to fellow survivors and helps the healing process. Suicide really is such a unique death and the survivors are forced to wrestle with so much in addition to the grief.

  4. LaNelia
    | Reply

    Received your book in the mail today. Have almost finished reading it. What a wonderful resource for survivors. I lost my son 6 years ago and would have loved a book like this. We will be adding this to our library at the survivor’s support group I facilitate each month. Thanks for writing this book.

    • brandylidbeck
      | Reply

      Thank you for your kind words. I really appreciate it. My hope, in writing this book, was similar to your sentiment: create the resource I wish I had when I lost my mom. Thank you.

  5. Brandy, after learning about it on your website, I purchased your book on Amazon last week and I’m reading it now. What a valuable resource you’ve provided, not only for survivors of suicide loss but for those who care for them! I am so grateful to you for writing this ~ and I hope it gives you tremendous satisfaction to know that you are helping countless others through your important work. I will recommend it highly to my clients and colleagues alike. Blessings to you, and thank you! ♥

Leave a Reply