Why do I feel guilty?

Feeling overwhelming guilt may be one of the main reasons that bereavement through suicide is so painful. You could be feeling guilty for something you did or did not do, or said or did not say. You may even feel that the person’s death is your fault and that other people will not understand if you tell them.

You may feel you should or could have prevented it. This is a normal feeling that many people experience. Everyone who has lost someone to suicide will have asked themselves what they missed or could have done differently and: why?

Last conversations can replay in your head. It is very likely that you were offering all your support, love and care. People who take their lives may not have shown despair to those around them. No one has a ‘perfect’ relationship, and they may even argue, but the causes of suicide are usually complicated. In truth, the person who took their life is the only one who knew why it felt impossible to live.

For some, a person’s death feels like a relief – if they have been in deep distress or pain for a long time or if you have spent a long time worrying that they might die. This is a natural response to a long period of tension and stress and does not mean that you didn’t care. There is the possibility that you accept the person’s death as the choice they made given the situation that they were in.