I'm wondering whether anyone has any advice on losing a family member to suicide. Eight years ago, my younger brother took his own life. I had been accustomed to loss--my mother died when I was a kid, and I cut my father off a while back for various reasons (I haven't spoken with him for more than ten years--indeed, I don't know whether he's still alive). I don't have any other siblings, grandparents, cousins, etc., and I've lost touch with a number of friends over the years. Of my two best friends in high school, one was hit by a car while bicycling, and although he survived the accident, he lost much of his brain function; the other became an Episcopal priest. Even though Episcopalians are supposed to follow "Religion Lite," everything with him is "God this" or "God that." My best friend from college has lived in Japan for fifteen years.
None of that prepared me for my brother's suicide, however, and not even therapy has helped much. I still find reminiscing about him painful. I feel guilty that I didn't see it coming, even though I was living in Chicago at the time and he in New York. I still feel the pit in my stomach that I felt in the immediate aftermath of his death, partly because he was the only person living who didn't need a frame of reference when we talked. He knew me, and I thought I knew him.
My wife is wonderful, but even though she's an empathetic person, she found it hard to empathize with me for very long, as it was just too painful for her. She knew and loved my brother, and she finds loss of any kind intolerable.
So how does one get beyond such an unexpected loss without the usual support system?