A Special Scar: The Experiences of People Bereaved by Suicide

By Alison Wertheimer | Go to book overview

Postscript

Perhaps inevitably, a book of this kind can only begin to open up such a huge topic. Even given the opportunity to revise the first edition, I am aware that gaps remain. Some matters have not been dealt with, and others have only been touched on briefly.

Just as there are gaps in what I have written, gaps exist in services too. Survivors may read this book but where will they go for help? If they are lucky, they will find someone to whom they can tell their story, someone who can listen and help them begin to make sense of a death which at first may seem senseless.

Suicide is a complex problem and there is rarely a single reason or a single path which leads someone to take their own life. For the survivors there is also no single route to recovery. Each person's grief will be unique and each will find their own ways of surviving the loss and moving on with their life.

This book is about one of the most painful losses a person may face, but I have endeavoured to show that it is an experience from which survivors can emerge not only changed, but stronger. The bereaved person can find new strengths and capacities, something positive can emerge, giving mean-ing to what is often seen as a meaningless death. The survivor may be more aware of the need to make something of their life which can be set against the 'wasted life' of the person who died. As Lily Pincus reminds us: 'There is no growth without pain and conflict; there is no loss which cannot lead to gain' (1974:278).

-237-

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A Special Scar: The Experiences of People Bereaved by Suicide
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword xi
  • Preface to the Second Edition xiv
  • Acknowledgements xvii
  • Part 1 - Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - Suicide: an Introduction 3
  • Chapter 2 - Survivors of Suicide 17
  • Part 2 - Aspects of Suicide Bereavement 33
  • Chapter 3 - Meeting the Survivors 35
  • Chapter 4 - When the Suicide Happens 39
  • Chapter 5 - Looking Back 53
  • Chapter 6 - Why Did It Happen? the Search for Understanding 66
  • Chapter 7 - The Inquest 79
  • Chapter 8 - Funerals 90
  • Chapter 9 - Facing Suicide as a Family 95
  • Chapter 10 - The Impact of Suicide on Individual Family Members 108
  • Chapter 11 - Facing the World 124
  • Chapter 12 - Looking for Support 136
  • Chapter 13 - Facing the Feelings 149
  • Chapter 14 - Finding a Way Through 166
  • Part 3 - Responding to People Bereaved by Suicide 179
  • Chapter 15 - Meeting the Needs of Survivors 181
  • Chapter 16 - Groups for People Bereaved by Suicide 196
  • Chapter 17 - Counselling People Bereaved by Suicide 215
  • Postscript 237
  • Appendix 1 239
  • Appendix 2 244
  • References 247
  • Name Index 257
  • Subject Index 261
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