Single Parenting After Losing a Partner to Suicide
On top of performing the daily to-do list of taming tantrums, helping with homework, and driving to and fro, a newly-single parent in these circumstances is faced with providing for the emotional needs of their children as they deal with the loss of a parent. Furthermore, a parent must ensure their own physical and mental well-being during this traumatic and trying time.
Unfortunately, many mothers and fathers have become single parents as a result of losing a partner to suicide. As sad as the situation undoubtedly is for everyone involved, knowing there are other parents who have successfully navigated their way through a similar loss can provide some comfort and, perhaps more importantly, guidance for other parents to follow.
Let Go of the Guilt
Focus on Your Children
As a parent, watching your child suffer through the loss of a loved one is difficult. Children are unaccustomed to loss and, while their feelings will come naturally, it is up to the adults in their lives to teach them healthy coping mechanisms.
When a child experiences the sudden death of a loved one, they go through what’s known as traumatic grieving in which they experience conflicting emotions. A child can have difficulty reconciling feelings of sadness and pain with those of anger or betrayal. Sometimes, this leads to the child ignoring their emotions altogether, a practice that can negatively impact their own emotional health.
By encouraging your child to express their feelings and share positive memories, you can also help them come to terms with how their parent died. You will be helping them cope with their loss in the short term and protecting their long-term emotional health. Research shows that children who lose a parent to suicide are at a higher risk for psychiatric disorders and more likely to die of suicide themselves, so it’s important for parents to take charge of their children’s mental wellness.
However, children are also extremely resilient. Providing a caring environment where children are comfortable expressing themselves can help them overcome the trauma of losing a parent to suicide. Paying close attention to your children during this time can also allow you to identify any changes in behavior or worrisome psychiatric symptoms early.
Take Care of Yourself
have thought about their deceased loved one every day.
believe the loss is the most difficult event they have ever endured.
found it complicated to differentiate between typical, appropriate behavior and grief-related behavior in their children.
don’t feel they have adequate resources to help their child or children cope with the loss of their parent.
wish they had more resources to help them understand and endure their own grief.