Young Widow Forum

Specific Situations => Suicide/Addiction/Mental Illness/Abuse => Topic started by: Sugarbell on May 24, 2016, 07:50:54 AM

Title: Suicide survivors 8.5 years later (kids)
Post by: Sugarbell on May 24, 2016, 07:50:54 AM
My oldest has been living with my parents this semester and going to middle school in my childhood hometown. He's thrived, loves it...Two of his closest friends down there are kids of friends of mine from high school. Luckily these 2 boys know the when anyone starts probing about my sons Dad they tell them to cram it.🙄.

But my now 13 year old (4 when Dad died)... in a new place more kids ask "Where is your Dad?". He was talking to me this weekend and he said "You know if he would've just died of cancer or a car wreck it would be a much easier story to tell"--No offense to those survivors this is just how my son feels.

He's not dwelling on it...he doesn't like talking much about it..never has. But this weekend when he was in he did tell me "You know I remember when he died...I remember telling you he died then getting sick..I remember all of it". I didn't probe because he will shut down if I do. He asked me if I was traumatized when I found the body, asked me if I had PTSD afterwards, etc. He's never asked those things before...he was too little and couldn't empathize the way an adult would.

He did tell me he wasn't going to tell people if they asked how his Dad died. I told him to do whatever is easiest. His younger brother and sister usually just say "He got sick and died..done disease I was too little to remember". But my oldest now a seeing it differently. And we rarely talk about his death/cause of death at home...when I mention their Dad it's always things we did and happy memories.

I know lots has been done to lift the stigma of suicide. But sorry...for kids..especially preteen/teenagers it's still there.
Title: Re: Suicide survivors 8.5 years later (kids)
Post by: April on May 24, 2016, 09:40:52 AM
I worry about this with my kids.. how are they going to handle the kids, the questions, the stigma.. someone being nasty to them because of it (the therapist warned us that kids can be cruel and might tease them).. so I armed them with some come backs.. and the facts about PTSD and how 22 veterans a day fall to suicide.. so far we haven't experienced it.. but we are just 13 months out.. my kids are still hurting from his absence. 

A couple of weeks after my husband passed away.. and before I told my kids that he committed suicide.. my nephew asked my kids.. "why did your Dad kill himself".. my son quickly and concernedly answered.. "my Dad didn't kill himself" and looked up at me with his big puppy dog eyes.. I felt horrible for hiding it from them.. for lying to them.. I was mad at my (only 12 year old) nephew for asking such a question and I snapped at him.. and I was pissed at my husband for putting us all in this situation. 
Title: Re: Suicide survivors 8.5 years later (kids)
Post by: AndysWife on May 25, 2016, 09:21:55 AM
Of course it's still there and I worry about this also. My little boy (5) has his whole school future ahead of him without his dad.

My older kids now in their 20s, lie. They say it's easier and I have to agree with them.

5yr old is asking me daily questions about how his dad died and I have yet to answer him as I am not ready to deal with it all just yet. Luckily, distraction is working for now but that wont last long.

Suicide is such a hard thing to comprehend and overcome for us so I can't imagine how hard it would be for a kid. I wish I could keep the whole thing a secret from my little boy and lie to him if I'm honest.
Title: Re: Suicide survivors 8.5 years later (kids)
Post by: Sugarbell on May 25, 2016, 09:36:26 AM
Andyswife-Me too. I know some on here really advocated for complete honesty to kids as young as possible-but it's a double edge sword. I told mine because I HAD to living in younger 2 have no recollection of anything..but I couldn't chance them finding out elsewhere.

April-My kids are well adjusted..and have far exceeded my expectations of how they would thrive 8 years ago. And my kids saying to friends "He got really sick from a disease and died when I was really little" Usually is enough and people move on.
Title: Re: Suicide survivors 8.5 years later (kids)
Post by: alemja on May 26, 2016, 04:30:16 AM
Hugs to all of you, suicide just makes it so much more complicated.

I told my children (aged 5 and 7 at the time) the truth about how their dad died straight away, I had the emergency services chaplain tell me to do it, he was pretty harsh but he said that if I didn't tell them someone else would end up telling them and that would be worse.

My husband battled mental illness for a couple of years prior and we had explained to them that he had " a sickness in his feelings that made his mind confused". I think that possibly made explaining what had happened slightly "easier" (haha,yeah right).

My son (now 8) never speaks about it and seems happy to let everyone just assume that his stepdad is his dad, my daughter (now 10) has mentioned it a few times but just says he got sick and died. I never want them to feel they have to be secretive about how he died because that to me implies shame, none of us should be embarrassed or ashamed of mental illness.

But ultimately we cant control how they will/do feel about loosing a parent to suicide, its a dreadful burden to carry
Title: Re: Suicide survivors 8.5 years later (kids)
Post by: April on May 26, 2016, 08:25:21 PM
Elemja.. My oldest (17 at the time) knew right away and needed emergency counseling services..

I didn't tell my younger three till several months later (well.. just my then 9 and 11 yr old.. my 3 year old still doesn't  understand.. she seems completely unaffected.. for now anyway).. their therapist told me I had to.. for the same reason the chaplain said you needed to.. "they need to hear if from me"

 I fall back on the PTSD suicide rate of combat veterans to explain why he did what he did ("22 a day").. otherwise I think I'd have a very hard time explaining it.  We've have several in depth heart to heart conversations about all the mental health issues my husband had (they had no clue.. I hid it from them well.. not my oldest though.. he knew what was going on.. and he hated him for doing it and me for allowing it).. conversations from addiction to depression to PTSD. 14 months ago.. I never would have thought I'd be talking about this kind of subject matter with my children.