What losing my sister to suicide taught me about grief

Sunny recalls the silent struggles of suicide grief and how embracing shared journeys of healing helped.

Written by Sunny Klein


CW // This piece discusses suicide. Please look after yourself if you choose to read on. Our text support service details are listed below.

Suicide carries an unfair stigma that often forces grieving loved ones into silence but the grief I feel is like an unpredictable rollercoaster. It pushes me through an array of emotions that all run out of me when I talk to somebody. 

Losing my sister to suicide

31st of August 2020, I lost my little sister to suicide. She was a beautiful soul and the possibility of her taking her life was never an option to me. When she died my life fell apart, I had been struggling before but that was nothing compared to the unimaginable pain I felt after she died. 

Someone told me she thought it might help to write to Hanna and put a letter in her coffin telling her everything I wanted, everything I needed to say but didn’t get the chance. I did it then and have continued to do it at other difficult times. Some people are talkers, like me, but even I could not say some things and writing letters to her helped.

What grief feels like for me

This intense sorrow washes over me in waves, while anger burns like a relentless fire and slowly I get a new clarity around how to cope and understand how I feel. The emptiness left by her absence feels like a void that can never be filled. 

Amidst the emotional turmoil, I grapple with self-doubt, wondering if I could have been a better sister, a better confidante, – perhaps even the saving light that could have guided her away from the darkness she faced. 

You are not alone

In my healing journey, I’ve learned that vulnerability is not a sign of weakness, but a wellspring of strength. Sharing my story with others who have experienced similar pain fosters empathy and reminds me that I’m not alone in this isolating struggle. Connecting with others who understand the intricacies of grief has become a lifeline of support.

As the passage of time slowly stitches together the fragments of my heart, I navigate the aftermath of my sister’s suicide with resilience and hope. 

Learning to live with pain

Healing, I’ve realised, isn’t about erasing the pain. Instead, it’s about learning to coexist with it, one tentative step at a time. Though it may be a gradual process, as I move forward, her memory remains a cherished treasure, a testament to the love that forever binds us. 

Through the darkness of grief,  I seek out those precious glimmers of light, small reminders that life continues to hold moments of beauty even in the midst of sorrow. 

HUGG offer hope and healing by providing information, telephone support and local peer support groups led by volunteers with lived experience. If you would like to attend a HUGG Group just complete the form here ‘join a group’ or call them on 01 513 4048 (monitored answering machine) or email [email protected] for more information.

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