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Effects On Loved Ones After A Suicide

Posted on May 11, 2011 in Society

By Gitanjali Maria:

The debate whether suicide is a crime is a long and lengthy one. A person attempts suicide when faced with some of the grave challenges that life throws at each one of us. Depending on our mental strength and endurance, we either surpass them and earn a victory or surrender to them and fail or escape. People who mourn the death of person who has committed suicide often lament how much the person must have suffered in life. But rarely do few people think of the trauma and anguish of the near and dear ones of the person who committed suicide must be going through.

They are the ones who often blame themselves unnecessarily for the unnatural death of their relative/friend. Be it the husband who was busy with work and earning money for the family which caused him to spend less time with the wife, or the boyfriend who forgot to bring roses for his girl on her birthday or a son who could not live up to his parents’ expectations — these are the persons who are often blamed for the suicide.

Suicide is the deliberate termination of one’s life; where a man of age of discretion and sound mental state voluntarily kills himself. It is an act of voluntarily or intentionally taking one’s life. Throughout history suicide has been condemned by various societies and has even been penalized by law. In India suicide or attempt to suicide is considered an offence under the Indian Penal Code 309. And in many cases people close to the deceased are arrested by the police on the charges of leading the victim to the verge of suicide. The trauma that these people go through cannot be described in words. In addition to the anguish of losing a loved one they are also blamed as the perpetrators of the cause of their death.

The person did not have the mental stamina to ride the stormy waves of life and that is when there are attempts to end his/her life. The stormy waves may be frequent quarrels with spouse, harassment by in-laws, work-life stress and failures, monetary issues and any other reason. In some cases the reasons which drove a person to self-destruction could have been unlawful behavior by some people like in dowry harassment by in-laws etc. In this case, action can be taken against the concerned persons. But in some other cases like break-up of a relationship, divorce-related cases or failure in professional life, the near and dear ones cannot be blamed because what drove the person to suicide was his lack of mental strength and willingness to seek help in the form of counseling or other remedies. Just because a child commits suicide because his teacher scolded him in front of the class for not doing homework and gave him impositions does not mean the teacher is guilty for the suicide committed; the teacher gave punishment for the child’s own good. Similarly lovers breaking up because of some personal reasons and one of them attempting suicide because of this does not mean that the other is responsible for it; it is just that he/she was not able to take it in his/her stride.

The law needs to be considerate to people who attempt suicide as well as to their family and friends. Blaming someone for somebody’s suicide is ruining that person’s life too. Already the social stigma associated with suicide is very much prevalent in India and why do we want to add more woes. Taking one’s own life is a hard decision and living with acknowledging that someone close to you has ended their life voluntarily is an even harder task.