Five Things I wish someone had told me after my brother died by suicide by Rose Heiney.

Rose’s brother, Nicholas Heiney

Rose’s brother, Nicholas Heiney


1. Bereavement by suicide is a uniquely complex and traumatic form of bereavement.  You are now facing a considerable human challenge.  But you are up to the task.  Because - 

2. You are not "damaged," or "broken" as a result of having experienced this loss.   That isn't possible.  You may be changed; you can't be broken.  You can do this.  That said - 

3. Seek help.  Seek help seek help seek help seek help seek help.  With anything and everything.  And if the help doesn't help (it often doesn't) seek better help.  It can take time to find what you need.   But keep going.  You're worth it.

4. Some people may avoid you and your loss like the plague, or try to minimise and deny your pain.   Others may take a somewhat ghoulish interest in it.  Both types of people are probably struggling with their relationship to their own darkness.  Just walk away, and find what serves you.  

5. Know that there will be gifts hidden in this loss.  Perspectives, wisdom, stories, layers of life you otherwise would never have been privy to.  It may take years or decades and a lot of grieving to unearth them, and they'll feel at times like a poor substitute for the person who has died.  But they're real, and priceless and unique.  And they're yours.

Rose Heiney

Rose Heiney’s brother, Nicholas, died by suicide at the age of 23. She’s a playwright, novelist and a screenwriter for film and TV.