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Loss of a family member from suicide

Community Member
This afternoon I received a phone call from my mum that my oldest cousin on my dad's side had taken her own life in the past 24 hours. This is the first suicide in my family and I don't know how to deal with it. All my other relatives who have passed away in my life time has been old age, and or cancer - so it was sad but sadly expected. I'm not sure how to deal with this...she had shown no signs from what I viewed (mainly online as we live in different states) I was told she even went to her doctor to talk about her developing depression, in the past few days. All I am feeling right now is numb and feeling guilty, guilty because I don't know if I could have done something, or sensed that something was going on, i hope you know what I mean. I have seen her family online and I have no idea of what to say to them. What could I say to make it better? I just wish I could go and comfort them but I am in Adelaide and they are in Melbourne. I just need some advice of how to deal with this.
3 Replies 3

Hi Jess-E,

We're so grateful that you have reached out to our community tonight, we know know that it can be a really tough thing to do but it is so important that you have. We're so sorry to hear of the loss of your cousin, we can't imagine how devastated you must feel. We hope that you have someone that you can talk to and some support, as it is also important that you take care of yourself during this difficult time. Please know that you've come to a safe, non-judgemental space to talk about your thoughts and feelings, and our wonderful community is here to provide you with as much support, advice and conversation as you need.

It sounds like you're in a really tough space and it might help to talk it out. We'd recommend getting in touch with Griefline on 1300 845 745. GriefLine provides counselling support services free of charge to individuals who are experiencing loss and grief. One of the friendly counsellors can offer you some support, as well as advice and referrals to help you through this. We’d also welcome you to reach out to our Support Service, which is available 24/7 on 1300 22 4636 or through webchat at www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport to talk through these feelings.

You may also find the ‘Recently bereaved by suicide’ page on our website helpful: http://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/suicide-prevention/recently-bereaved-by-suicide

We hope that you can find some comfort in the forums. Please feel free to keep us updated here on your thread with what you are feeling and experiencing whenever you feel up to it. 


Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Jess-E~

I hope that some of the links Sophie_M gave you have been a little help. I'm sorry for the loss of your cousin and more sorry again she took her life.

Reading your story I imagine you have had some experience with the grief you feel when someone passes away, particularly if they are elderly or had been unwell. There is loss and a part of you that is no longer there. It's natural, and there is pain, and it has no schedule or timescale.

At least with those feelings you can share with others, you are both feeling much the same and it is expected, a natural part of life.

Suicide is very different for those have been touched by the death. On top of the normal grief is whole new layer of unexpected and horrible thoughts for which one has no experience and nothing to help cope with them.

The facts are that your guilt is misplaced. Saying this to you will not make the feelings go away at once, but as you mull it over in your mind you will find there is nothing you missed, no sign that could be taken, and no actions you could have taken. Your cousin had her reasons, right or wrong , accurate or otherwise, and sadly those reasons went with her.

Talking to those close, they will be in a same position or worse, with stronger feelings of guilt, perhaps feelings of betrayal or abandonment, even anger on occasions. All perfectly natural, all perfectly as it should be. They too will be looking for the invisible signs none would be able to see.

You do not need to say anything to 'fix' things, simply sayng you share their grief and loss and care about them is the best anyone can do. Being company is good, isolation not so good.

Is there anyone lives near your mum might give her a hand with practical things for a while, even if it is just sweeping the kitchen. A hand with those everyday tasks can help a lot at times.

Please feel you can talk here as often as you like, it would be welcome


Community Member
Jess-E - My heart goes out to you on the sudden loss of your cousin. I lost my beautiful son to suicide on June 26 2020. He'd been suffering Depression and was due to see our Doctor. Sadly, my son who admitted he needed help took his life before we got to the appointment. The pain of losing him is excruciating and my heart is broken. I have wonderful family and friends supporting me. As to not knowing what to say - sometimes giving your condolences and asking are you OK. I know it may sound odd, but I can attest to being asked am I OK. We all grieve in different ways, but taking care of ourselves is very important and it's ok to be angry at your cousin just as i am with my son. Anger is part of the grieving process. I've cried an ocean of tears and keep telling myself my son's at peace now, but he's left his sister and I heartbroken and shattered to the core. As a parent i've asked myself over and over....*did I do enough....could I have done more...did I not see something I should have seen* I'm sure your cousin's family have asked themselves the same questions and I'm sure like me they did everything in their power to help their daughter. Seeking help for yourself to get through this tragic time is very important for your health. Perhaps you have a wonderful Dr who you can talk to or a very good friend who'll listen. If not there are wonderful support groups like this one who are here to support and help you...