Many people feel their loved one’s life has been wasted. But: A person’s value does not die with them. Their influences and memories remain. Remember the times you had together. Get out the photos to remind you. Sometimes the memories become hidden by the pain you feel but they will return. You now become their guardian. Write them down and keep them safe. These memories can never be taken from you.

What was special about your loved one? Remember what they meant to you. Remember how their life affected you. How would you like that to continue? What values, aspirations, attributes and joys they created would you like to see survive? It helps also to imagine what they would have wished to continue. These are the treasures that now become yours. Remember them with pride and gratitude. It is up to you now, to nurture them and encourage them to grow. The future influence of your loved one becomes the responsibility of those who were close to them in life.

The process of grieving does not mean moving away from the person who has died but towards a new relationship with them in terms of the meaning they will have for you. When someone we love dies or when we are faced with a major loss situation we are confronted with one of the greatest challenges of life. The experiences of life and death which we tap during our grief open up a whole world of new possibilities to us. These will include our decisions about finding meaning from the disaster and the pathways which our future life will take. This presents us with the opportunity to grow beyond ourselves.

Because we are human we are not driven by instincts but by your own choices. We have the freedom to choose how to face this challenge. This includes the attitudes we adopt in the effort to create meaning and find a new purpose out of the life and out of the death of our loved one. You can choose to integrate this experience into your life to make something very special to come out of this situation.

Reproduced from “After Suicide – Help For The Bereaved” by permission of Dr Sheila Clark.