How the families are trying to rebuild after the suicide of a loved one

Illustration of a person trying to help another. — Pixabay/Wonderela

  • The trauma, the guilt, the questions without end were haunted after the disaster.
  • But to be accompanied by a psy, groups of words, or friends allowed them a form of appeasement.
  • Some have found after a long quest, to rediscover the taste of life.

It was in April of 2006. Gisele, the sister of Katia Chapoutier has put an end to his days. “The earth opened under my feet.” In life after the suicide of a loved one, coming out this Thursday in the library, the journalist who has lived this tragedy has given the word to the bereaved families. And this, to understand how, like her, they had been to survive this tragedy, but also to learn to live again. Testimonies all the more valuable as this matter can potentially affect each of us in the course of his life. Because, according to the national Observatory of suicide, ” a person will be confronted, over a period of forty years, the suicide deaths of three people in her immediate surroundings “.

The stories of this book describe the explosion that cause the loss of a loved one after a suicide. “It is something unimaginable, to you, it falls over overnight,” commented Elizabeth, who lost her daughter Camille. “The mourning after a suicide has a component which is traumatic, as these are often the ones who discover the person who has put an end to his life,” explains the psychiatrist and psychotherapist Christophe Fauré. “This grief is also specific because it is accompanied by a quest haunting of responses as to the reasons which led to this gesture. It also leads to a feeling of guilt is very heavy, which creates shame, ” he continued. Loved ones will almost always want to be passed next to the distress of another or of not having been able to detect the
warning signs of the tragedy. This is evidenced by Nadine, who lost his daughter Mylene, in the book of Katia Chapoutier : “I have not been the mother that he had since it arrived at the fatal act “. “I felt guilty for not having been able to protect my little brother “, states Anne-Cécile, whose two brothers committed suicide.

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The foundations destroyed

“It is common that the family of the deceased feel a sense of anger vis-à-vis the company, other relatives, or even of the person who committed suicide “, complete Xavier Pommereau, a psychiatrist and chief of the pôle aquitaine adolescents at the university hospital of Bordeaux. And the bereaved who have lost their bearings with the drama, going through a crisis of identity : “With their death, I had the feeling of losing a part of my past, of which they were the custodians “, for example, explains Anne-Cécile. A feeling of amputation that is shared by many bereaved people.

Then begins a long quest to try to regain a taste for life, as the tells Elizabeth : “from the moment her child dies, it is a daily struggle to get back on their feet “. “For a long time I had the impression of being in survival. This has lasted at least 5 years “, explains her side, Catherine, the mother of Fabien. Some manage to emerge only with the help of their family and their friends. “But when the pain, the guilt and the shame becomes paralyzing, you must be willing to get help from a specialist,” advises Xavier Pommereau. And this work may last for several years.

Accept not having all the answers

“The first condition of appeasement is to get to grips with the idea that we will never understand fully the reasons which have led to the
suicide , “says Christophe Fauré. This is what has managed to make Elizabeth with the time : “I accept the mystery of Camille “, she confided to the journalist. “Looking for anything that might explain the act, the family eventually understand often that suicide is multi-factorial. Their healing begins when he accepts the idea that the puzzle will never be finished, ” says Katia Chapoutier.

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The family of the deceased also appear to be departing from a form of anger when they come to do more to judge his definitive gesture : “she hath done what seemed to him the more sweet for it. She just wanted to suffer no more “, states Nadine. Speaking of his daughter, Céline, Jeanine eventually believe also that” she was suffering from an incurable disease “. The distance to the guilt is also part of the repair process : “He must come to understand that we are not superhuman, that one is fallible, that we can’t do everything for others “, explains Xavier Pommereau. To achieve this, some of the survivors to participate in groups of words, bringing together people who experienced the same tragedy as them. “It allows you to speed up the process. Because by a mirror effect, one ends by understanding that it is not guilty, ” says Katia Chapoutier. But according to Christophe Fauré “there will always be a trickle of guilt, it simply will not stop over the person of work,” he says.

“They will be again moments of happiness”

The reconstruction of the loved ones after a suicide also through their reconnection with social life. “You should not stay in bed, even if getting up requires a huge effort. If we accept to open flap, it will get better. Because the help comes from the meetings, ” insists Xavier Pommereau. “The return-to-work, for example, is beneficial to channel thinking in a different direction “, adds Christophe Fauré. “It is necessary to rediscover the taste of the other,” says Katia Chapoutier. In his book, several witnesses explain how the fact of resuming sports activities, cultural or professional has helped them. Others have found solace by investing in associations. “When we help, we help ourselves “, explains Jeanine. “Be cool, be open, give… even if it is self-reduced “, summarizes Eric, the father of Camille. “Invest for others, it gives meaning to something we can’t change “, analysis Katia Chapoutier.

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Put end to end, all of these initiatives for re-weaving the threads of their lives, often end up bearing fruit. “Life continues even after this big drama. A corner of their soul will remain black and will reappear at certain times, but they will be again moments of happiness, ” says Xavier Pommereau. “The feeling of fullness, the total happiness me are no longer possible (…) By contrast, it is possible to be more serene, more in agreement with himself “, says Gilles, the father of Céline. And all those who have experienced this tragedy are unanimous on one point : they are focused on the essential. “After such an event, it is a thirst of reports sincere, profound exchanges. There is more room for trivial things, ” explains Jeanine.

* Life after the suicide of a loved one, Kataia Chapoutier, The ferryman editor, 19.50 euros.