Religious Holidays and Suicide

Survivors of Suicide Loss Support Group - Madison, NJ

Posted: Apr 24, 2019

Religious Holidays and Suicide

Whether you celebrate Easter, Passover or Ramadan, this can be a difficult time of year for many people. The loss of a loved one to suicide is often a difficult challenge to whatever religious beliefs you may have been raised under. I think that the loss of a loved one by suicide makes you question many of the fundamental beliefs you have held all of your life. It can be existential challenge to everything you thought you knew and believed. Your priorities, your belief in a higher power and your role in life are often difficult issues that many survivors struggle with. Religious holidays and their family traditions can cause you to reflect on the absence of the person you lost. For many people, including myself, suicide caused me to question my own faith and how I had been raised.

I was raised and continue to be an active Catholic. My faith was something I probably took for granted. Sure we went to church every Sunday, knew our priest on a first name basis, and were active in the church community. I knew the teachings of our faith and I had done my best to live my life by my faith. But when I was told my only son is dead, my faith and beliefs were put to the test. My first thoughts went to “why my son, why my family, why me, why has this happened to us? “. It was a moment that my faith was truly challenged. It was a moment when I had to look much deeper into my beliefs and my faith and think about how I was going to help our family survive this tragedy.

I questioned if my son or I were being punished for something we had or had not done. I questioned how a loving and forgiving god could allow this to happen. I went to the harsh side of every religious reading I had ever heard and skipped past the basic tenets of my faith.

It took me quite a while to truly accept that my son had left us behind for a better place. Our son who was filled with grace and love, had lost his earthly battle with mental illness. Our son was no longer burdened with the pain he felt in life. It took me a while and a lot of prayers to find my faith again. Our son was safe in a place where his faith is giving him comfort.