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What to write in a letter to a friend whose brother has committed suicide.

(9 Posts)
FlubbaBubba Thu 06-Oct-11 22:05:27

Sorry if this is a painful question for any of you, but I've just found out that a dear friend's brother has committed suicide. It was thought out, planned and he left her a letter (apparently a 'nice' (their words, not mine) one).

He had MH issues, brought on even more by the death of her lovely DH not quite 2 years ago. All so very, very sad.

I need advice as to what to write to her. Please.

aStarInStrangeways Thu 06-Oct-11 22:12:40

Tell her you love her, you are hurting for her and that you will be there for her no matter what. And then follow it through.

Don't expect to know what to say, because no one ever does - no one can. You could say there was nothing she could have done, that she mustn't blame herself or any number of other things, but she will already be thinking them and wondering why she can't persuade her heart to believe it.

It's all so individual, there is no one right thing to say (sadly). But most people are so afraid to talk about it with the person affected - I don't know why, perhaps because suicide bereavements are especially complex. So if she knows that you will have a non-judgemental ear and won't shy away from anything she cares to show, that will mean a lot.

gelatinous Thu 06-Oct-11 22:14:21

It's really tough one that. If you knew her brother personally, then some recollections of happy times in his life might be appropriate, otherwise let her know you are thinking of her and if you can offer practical support.

I really haven't a clue, but didn't want this to go unanswered.

FlubbaBubba Thu 06-Oct-11 22:23:56

I live about 500 miles away and can't get away (three young children), so can't offer practical help.

I did know him, but not well enough to think of lovely things to say.


I think I like the idea of saying there will have been nothing she could have done. It acknowledges the suicide element without glossing over it.

libertychick Thu 06-Oct-11 22:26:54

Such a difficult letter to write - I have used the poem below before in sympathy cards/letters. Good luck with finding the right words.


On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

alarkaspree Thu 06-Oct-11 22:29:04

A friend who recently lost her son said afterwards that she didn't really remember much of what people had said to her - she just remembered that they were there for her. So I'd just bear in mind that it is terribly hard to think of what to say, but the detail isn't all that important. What's important is that you say something. Which you are doing.

FlubbaBubba Thu 06-Oct-11 22:58:44

Thank you all.

FlubbaBubba Fri 07-Oct-11 09:35:44

I've written out that poem by John O'Donohue liberty ~ thank you. It's perfect.

FlubbaBubba Fri 07-Oct-11 09:53:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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