Family’s Negativity Makes Loss Nearly Unbearable

Breakfast With Bubbie

Written by Robin “Bubbie” Montgomery
Dear Bubbie,
I recently lost my cousin to suicide. It has been terribly hard on my entire family. My cousin and I were very close.  I keep looking back and wondering how I could have missed that she was in so much pain.
My problem is, I come from a very religious family. They either refuse to talk about her or say she is in hell.  I get so angry about it I don’t even want to go to family functions any more.  I don’t understand how family can say or even think these things about her. She was so kind. She helped so many people. She helped people that my family would usually look down their noses at.
I don’t want to walk away from my family, especially now that they are all hurting. But I’m afraid if one more person says one more thing I am going to loose it and explode. Thank you for any advice.
Thank you, Heartbroken
Dear Heartbroken, I am so sorry for your and your family’s loss. Suicide is a tragedy that touches nearly everyone in one way or another. It is devastating and not something a family ever truly recovers from.For your sake and your sanity, you have to stop trying to figure out how and why you missed the signs. That is a question you will never be able to answer.
As we have seen through the tragic death of Robin Williams, it is usually the people who are trying to make others around them happy that are sometimes hurting the most.  They hide their pain behind their smiling mask and spend their time and effort trying to help others.I can’t speak for your family or their religion. In fact, I won’t speak to or for any religion regarding suicide.
I personally do not believe a person who has committed suicide was in a position to be thinking  clearly and rationally. It is possible they are so lost in their own darkness and despair they are drowning in,  they can no longer see the light at the end of the tunnel or a way out of their current situation. Other times, they are simply tired of fighting their inner demons and have lost hope for a better tomorrow.
Dealing with family and religious matters is a very difficult path to navigate, especially if you do not have the same beliefs your family does. Because your cousin’s death is recent, she will be the topic of discussion for a while…it’s only natural.
My best advice is to either ask them not to discuss her in front of you or change the subject, try countering your family’s negativity with cherished memories if possible. I understand you want to be there to support your family in this time of grief, but it is perfectly ok to step away while you are healing as well.
If you or someone you love need help dealing with loss from suicide, there are several suicide support groups you can get in touch with.


If you or someone you know are struggling with suicidal thoughts please seek help. You are not alone. You are loved. Please call The National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255 or the Mt. San Jacinto Crisis Hotline for all crisis, from suicide prevention to domestic violence. Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention 951-686-HELP/4357
National Suicide Crisis Line also Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255 TTY 1-800-799-4889

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One comment

  • I just wanted to say, don’t blame yourself for not seeing any signs even being as close as you were. My father took his life and l blamed myself for years. The truth is it is a split second decision they make, they never discuss the thought w others cuz someone would intervene. I prayed for my dad’s soul and understood his pain when my marriage ended. I sat my son’s picture next to my bed thinking if I feel this hurt is unbearable I would see his face and know he would get me through it. I would never want my son to have a hole in his heart like my dad left me with. Good luck and God Bless.