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I don't even know where to begin. My friend whom I've known for 10 years just killed himself. I got a phone call today from his Father. I knew it was bad when he said "Have you got someone with you". I knew then something terrible had happened. My first thought was that he had been killed in a car accident. What he said next was worse. He had killed himself. I kept thinking..why didn't he call me? Why? He always said I was his best friend. He often said how much he loved me so why didn't he let me know what was going on?

When his father rang he was crying. I was crying and when I kept saying "I never thought he would do that and why?" his father just said he had been going over and over the same issues. One minute I'm crying, the next I feel numb and then I suddenly feel like smashing everything in site. I feel guilty about things I said and things I didn't say to him. I feel like throwing my computer monitor through the window as I type this. I feel like it hasn't really happened and i could call him now and he would be there. I feel angry at him for doing such an awful thing. I'm scared about tomorrow because I don't know how I'll feel when I wake up.

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My dear friend,

I am deeply, deeply sorry to learn of this tragedy in your life, but I want you to know that everything you are describing is part of a very normal reaction to a terribly abnormal situation.

I can only imagine how horrible this must be for you and your friend’s family, and although there is nothing I can do to take away your pain, I hope I can offer you some useful information.

As I have said elsewhere in these forums, suicide is one of the most difficult and painful ways to lose someone we love, because we are left with so many unanswerable questions and so many mixed feelings: How could a dear friend do such a horrible thing to us? Where do we put all the anger, guilt and frustration that we feel? What more could we have done to help? How can we ever get past the shame and embarrassment we feel when others find out what happened, and seem all too quick to judge us for not foreseeing this and for not doing enough to prevent it?

For whatever reason, your friend obviously believed that life in this world was just too much for him, and at the moment he took his own life, he saw suicide as his only option, as the only way to end the emotional pain he felt.

Unfortunately, when someone is determined to commit this act, there is very little if anything someone else can do to prevent it. We simply do not have any control over the choices and actions of another human being, no matter how much we may wish it to be otherwise. For reasons known only to him, your friend acted on an impulse and, as someone once said, his suicide became for him a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Unfortunately, you and his family are the ones who are left behind to deal with the pain and hurt and guilt that have resulted from his action.

There is no right or wrong way to do the work of grieving, and each of us must find our own way – but I believe very strongly that the first step in coping with grief is to educate yourself about it, so you know what to expect and what tools are available to help you manage it. It is especially important that as a survivor of suicide, you learn all you can about this particular subject.

Read what others have written about suicide (see, for example, No Time to Say Goodbye: Surviving the Death of a Loved One by Carla Fine, ISBN 0385485514; you can go to Amazon.com to order it or ask for it at your local library).

I hope that you will continue to use the Internet as one way of obtaining the information, comfort and support you need and deserve as you continue on your own grief journey. See, for example, an online e-mail course on grief that I wrote, The First Year of Grief: Help for the Journey. Take the time to explore some of the links I've posted under the SUICIDE LOSS category on the Links to Bereavement and Loss Sites page on my Grief Healing Web site. See some of the articles and books I've written and others I've listed on my Articles and Books page. There is an abundance of help out there just waiting for you to find it – and if you haven't yet obtained all the help you need, keep on looking! You might ask your primary care physician for a referral to someone who specializes in grief therapy or bereavement counseling – or try calling your local hospice or funeral home and asking for a referral.

Grief is something that we get through and learn to live with, my friend, not something we ever get over. Death may end a life, but it does not end a relationship. The bond you have with your friend will remain with you as long as you choose to keep his memory alive in your heart. Always remember that your friend's entire life was much more than those few final moments when he chose to take his own life. I promise that the day will come when the good memories you have of him will outweigh the bad. As anyone walking this path will tell you, the way you come to peace about all of this is one day at a time, and if that's too much, you work at it one hour or even one minute at a time.

I hope this information proves helpful to you, and when you're ready to do so, I hope you'll let us know how you're doing. Meanwhile, please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.

Wishing you peace and healing,

Marty T

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thankyou Marty T for your reply. I think about my friend everyday. Everyday his last moments go through my head. I don't want to think about the way he died but each day I find myself thinking about it. I keep thinking about all the mistakes I've made and how I might have made a difference in his final decision. I'm still asking myself all the time..WHY?

His name was also Marty like yours. I've got so many thoughts running through my head. He left behind his little one year old daughter. He adored her and I keep asking myself..why couldn't he have stayed for her? She'll never know her father now. So sad. Sometimes I just feel so mad at him for doing what he did. Most of all I can't believe I'll never see him again. I just can't believe he's gone.

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