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You may feel like your life has been shattered into a million tiny pieces.


Know you can survive.

You may not think so, but you can.


You will never be the same again.


And yet, you can even go beyond

surviving, as those million tiny pieces come together in a beautiful kaleidoscope.


Beyond Surviving:

Suggestions for Survivors by Iris M. Bolton


  • Know you can survive. You may not think so but you can.

  • Struggle with “why” it happened until you no longer need to know “why” or until you are satisfied with partial answers.

  • Know you may feel overwhelmed by the intensity of your feelings but all your feelings are normal.


  • Anger, guilt, confusion, forgetfulness are common responses. You are not crazy, you are in mourning.


  • Be aware that you may feel appropriate anger at the person, the world, at God, at yourself. It is okay to express it.


  • You may feel guilty for what you think you did or did not do. Guilt can turn into regret, then to forgiveness.


  • Having thoughts of suicide is a common reaction to a sudden loss. It does not mean that you will act on these thoughts.


  • Remember to take one moment or one day at a time.


  • Find a good listener with whom to share. Call someone if you need to talk or the Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.


  • Don’t be afraid to cry. Tears are healing.


  • Give yourself time to heal.


  • Remember, the choice was not yours.


  • Expect setbacks. If emotions return like a tidal wave, you may only be experiencing a remnant of grief, an unfinished piece.


  • Try to put off major decisions.


  • Give yourself permission to get professional help.


  • Be aware of the pain of your family and friends.


  • Be patient with yourself and others who may not understand.


  • Set your own limits and learn to say no.


  • Steer clear of people who want to tell you what or how to feel.



  • Call on your personal faith to see you through, and be okay with questioning your faith.


  • It is common to experience physical reactions to your grief, e.g. headaches, loss of appetite, inability to sleep.


  • The willingness to laugh with others and at yourself is healing.


  • Wear out your questions, anger, guilt or other feeling until you can let them go. Letting go doesn’t mean forgetting.


  • Know that you will never be the same again, but you can survive and even go beyond surviving.

Resources for Loss Survivors

If you need help with paying for costs associated with the loss of your loved one

More on Coping with Suicide Loss from our friends at The Connect Program

Coping with Suicide Loss Handbook  for Jefferson County

Faith and Suicide: Suicide is the Most Misunderstood of All Deaths

If You're Thinking of Becoming Involved in Prevention by Telling Your Story

Free Handbooks

Online Support

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Interactive Discussion of many different topics, including The Survivor Experience, Guilt, Blame & Forgiveness, What Helps, Sleep & Dreams, Medications, Addictions, and Holidays, Anniversaries & Special Occasions.

Cautions About Online Support Groups:

  • Is the site moderated? By Whom?

We don't need mean people when we're grieving. And, some group moderators are well-meaning, but have no training or background in helping people heal from a suicide loss.  The group facilitator should be able to answer questions about their qualifications.

  • Does it have trigger alerts?

A trigger alert is a heads-up that a post may be hurtful or traumatizing.

  • What are the community rules?

A free-for all, anything goes group won't be helpful.

  • Is the group for support, healing, and encouragement?

If not, there are other groups that are.

  • Are descriptions of suicide deaths allowed?

Detailed descriptions can be traumatizing. Support groups are not the appropriate place for details because they can cause harm to others who are hurting.

Alliance of Hope -

Loss Survivor Stories

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Learn about the most common aspects of suicide grief from others who have lost loved ones.

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Parents of Suicide Loss (POS)

A moderated internet community founded in October of 1998 for Parents.

Friends and Families of Suicide Loss (FFOS)


A moderated internet community for friends and family members who have experienced suicide loss.

Online Support

Online Support

Give Yourself Permission to Focus on Your Own Safety

It is not uncommon for Loss Survivors to want to join their loved ones. While most Loss Survivors do not die by suicide, it is a good idea to take a few extra steps to keep yourself and members of your household safe for a while.  If you or someone you know is experiencing crisis or thoughts of suicide, it’s a good idea to talk with someone you can trust and to reduce access to:

  • Firearms – Identify a trusted person to store the firearms off site just as a temporary step until things get better. Madras Police Department (541.475.2344) and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office (541.475.6520) will safely store unloaded firearms temporarily. It’s okay to ask.

  • Medications – A doctor, pharmacist, or the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) may be able to help you determine safe quantities for medicines to keep on hand.

  • ​Alcohol – Alcohol increases the potential for an at-risk person to attempt suicide and increase the lethality of suicide attempts. Keep only small quantities at home.

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