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What to say to someone whose husband has just committed suicide?

(25 Posts)
BecauseImWorthIt Fri 12-Jun-09 11:22:07

My SIL's BIL has just committed suicide.

I only met him once, but have known my SIL's sister for sometime - we were both bridesmaids at my DB and SIL's wedding. She's lovely.

They are 200 miles away so I can't be there (bloody glad actually - being very cowardly).

I'd like to send her a card or flowers - what do you say in circumstances like this? I've only ever dealt with bereavement from natural causes.

differentID Fri 12-Jun-09 11:39:49

the same as you would normally. So sorry for your sudden loss, thinking of you.

ClaudiaSchiffer Fri 12-Jun-09 11:40:44

I would send a card and say how sorry you are for her loss - or some such form of words. I think the important thing is to acknowledge and show sympathy and understanding at her dreadful loss. Regardless of how he died. Poor woman she must be having an utterly awful time.

Flowers and a very sympathetic card. Send her your love, she will need it.

MrsMerryHenry Fri 12-Jun-09 11:45:44

That's awful. Poor woman.

You can't be there, but you can give her a call. I know it's really hard, but when someone commits suicide you become a social pariah because everyone else finds it so awkward.

You don't have to 'say' the right thing - there is no 'right' thing you can say. Just say how sorry you are and be prepared to listen if she wants that. If you can manage to call her once a week for a few weeks, that would probably make a huge difference - obviously this depends on how close you are. You could even ask her at some point if she's happy for you to call every now and then to see how she's doing.

Also in your card (and flowers - lovely idea) I think again you can keep it brief. Please don't moralise, it's often tempting to do this to fill space, and is just not appropriate (e.g. 'I hope you can all grow closer to each other through this experience' - well-meant, but in the context just not helpful). Just say how sorry you are and that you're thinking of her lots. She will really appreciate it.

What a kind friend you are.

BecauseImWorthMoreThanYou Fri 12-Jun-09 11:48:30

Thanks. I'm finding it very distressing and we aren't really that close, although I like her very much.

Will just go for something simple but heartfelt.

Will have to do it online because I don't think I can articulate the words sad

(Apologies for the tasteless name change - I'd forgotten I'd changed it for the joke thread)

MrsMerryHenry Fri 12-Jun-09 11:59:34

Can I suggest some words? Only because I've been there before and I think the worst thing is when other people try to avoid making themselves uncomfortable - as the bereaved person it makes you feel like a leper, i.e. even worse than ever (if that's possible).

Dear (name)

I am so very sorry to hear about (DH's name). I just want to let you know that I love/ care for you very much and am thinking about you all the time.

Love (your name).

Please try not to follow the 'avoid discomfort' line if you possibly can - you will make such a difference if you connect with her.

MrsMerryHenry Fri 12-Jun-09 12:07:09

Just another thing - every now and then, since my brother committed suicide, one of his friends gets in touch with me to find out how we all are. It is SO touching.

ClaudiaSchiffer Fri 12-Jun-09 12:15:51

Lovely thoughts MrsMerryHenry.

Sorry to hear that your brother committed suicide.. How nice of his friend to think of you.

BecauseImWorthMoreThanYou Fri 12-Jun-09 12:23:11

Lovely words, MrsMH - thank you. But sorry that they had to come from personal experience.

MrsMerryHenry Fri 12-Jun-09 12:25:58

Thank you both for your kind thoughts...well, let's just say life does teach you lots if you let it.

BecauseI'm - I'm sorry if I've come down hard on you, I really hope I haven't. I think what your intentions are so wonderful, especially as you say you're not even that close. What a kind person you are.

BecauseImWorthMoreThanYou Fri 12-Jun-09 13:02:31

Nope - didn't come down on me hard at all. I asked for advice and I have received some very good advice.

ladylush Fri 12-Jun-09 13:10:53

mrsmerryhenry - very sorry to hear of your terrible loss sad It's lovely that his friend keeps in contact with you.

OP - I haven't been in this situation but I've experienced loss and flowers were much appreciated. More so were texts or cards from people with genuine concern/offers of help. It is nice of you to show concern for this lady.

paranoidmother Fri 12-Jun-09 13:14:18

When my Dad committed suicide the cards were fantastic for my mum and me. Also every now and then i'd get a call to see how I was or a text or a postcard to say someone was thinking of me.

She'll understand that you don't know what to say, as neither will she, but she'll like it that you are thinking of her and family at this time and want to help somehow.

TheWashingFairy Fri 12-Jun-09 13:45:22

When my brother committed suicide the cards were a huge comfort. I had days when i just wanted to talk about it all day, and others when it was the last thing i wanted to talk about, my friends were brilliant at working out which sort of day it was and going with it! I think the worst thing was feeling that i was being avoided, which one friend did. She later admitted she had no idea what to say so she kept away, understandable now, but at the time i couldn't understand it.
Your friend is lucky to have a friend that is so concerned, that will be obvious to her..

MrsMerryHenry Fri 12-Jun-09 13:48:28

Hugs to ladyluch, paranoidmother and thewashingfairy.

TheWashingFairy Fri 12-Jun-09 14:01:36

And to you Mrs MerryHenry

ladylush Fri 12-Jun-09 18:49:06

Group hug smile

pointydog Fri 12-Jun-09 19:04:15

Just try to say what you feel. Might also be nice to phone after a few days as often people really want to talk after something like this. It can be daunting but it would be appreciated.

everlong Fri 12-Jun-09 19:05:02

When my son committed suicide last Nov, I was truly touched by the letters and cards I received from people who shared my terrible loss, those who took time to write to me about Oliver and how they would remember him.

It was heartwarming to know that people cared about him.

At this moment in time she will be inundated with calls, cards etc, but it's the weeks and months ahead where she will need the most support, try to remember her if you can.

There is a support group called SOBS too which can offer help for people bereaved by suicide.

Sorry to hear this news.

ClaudiaSchiffer Fri 12-Jun-09 23:18:51

I don't know if this will be at all relevant but lovely Michael Rosen wrote a book about being Sad - called Sad. He wrote it after his son Eddie committed suicide, it's a very spare and beautiful book see here. It's for children about feeling sad so maybe if they had kids it could be something to suggest a few weeks/months down the line.

everlong Sat 13-Jun-09 10:13:03

I bought the book by Michael Rosen for my younger son when we lost Oliver, I agree it is good for explaining sad feelings to young children.

Just to add though Eddie died of meningitis not suicide.

ClaudiaSchiffer Sat 13-Jun-09 10:23:21

Oh really, sorry gosh, I wonder where I got suicide from?

ladylush Sat 13-Jun-09 11:20:24

everlong - sorry for your awful loss sad It is still so recent. Must be very hard for you and your family sad <hugs>

everlong Sat 13-Jun-09 11:36:12

Thank you Ladylush x

MrsMerryHenry Mon 15-Jun-09 21:46:39

Hugs to you, everlong. How terribly sad, I am so sorry to hear this.

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