Fri | Jan 19, 2018

Dear Counsellor | Son struggling with dad's suicide

Published:Tuesday | June 21, 2016 | 12:00 AM

My husband committed suicide a little more than two years ago. Until this day, we are not sure why he took his life. It makes no sense to me or his family. I am now a single mother with one son. He is doing very well academically. Many persons, including myself, thought he would flunk his examinations, but he got all distinctions. We recognised that he was strong and determined to do well in his exams. However, he does not want to discuss his father's suicide with anyone, including me. On both anniversaries of the suicide, he locked himself in his room for the entire day. Now he wants to study overseas and I suspect it is because he wants to get away from the place that reminds him of his father's tragic death. I cannot afford to send him to university overseas and he is not pleased. It has been rough, and at times I do not know what to do. Please help.

A: Many persons do not understand that the family left behind suffers a lot after suicide. Perhaps if the person who committed suicide had a clue of the suffering and agony caused to a family by suicide, then he or she would think twice.

It is obvious that your son is not handling the tragic death of his father very well. Obviously, he has unanswered questions. He might be blaming himself, feeling he did not do enough to help his father. It could be that he knows something you do not know. He needs to see a professional counsellor as soon as possible. It might be a good idea for him to study overseas. The change of scenery might help his recovery. He should explore getting a scholarship since he is bright. He might not get a full scholarship, but any help is good.

You may never know why your husband committed suicide. All that is clear is that he felt hopeless. This is sometimes caused by exorbitant debts or terminal illness or some awful disgrace. However, whatever it is, do not blame yourself. Stay strong.