Devastated by suicide of an old flame…

posted 2 years ago in Relationships
Post # 2
4621 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

This is a rough thing to go through. When you connect with someone their loss is always felt. I would explain to DH, my Fiance would be understanding in a similar situation. In regards to his dad I would write but write about your favourite things about his son, what things you’ll miss or an anecdote that puts his son in good light. Don’t talk about yourself too much or the “what if” relationship. He’ll want to hear about his son. Does that make sense?

Post # 3
409 posts
Helper bee

I’m so sorry. You’re not being silly. Death and especially suicide are really painful for those left behind no matter how long since you’ve seen them last. My 30 year old cousin died a few weeks ago and I have spent many hours with my aunt/her mom. She wants to talk about her daughter all the time. The memories keep coming. You will not make it worse for his dad by writing a letter. It’s not like he can ever forget. It is good to talk about him and often when a person commits suicide people don’t know what to say so they say nothing, which can be even more painful for parents/loved ones. Honor your friends memory by speaking about him and writing about him. You will probabaly feel better if you write something out about your memories of him and the feelings you have about his death and the loss of a young talented life. I’m so sorry bee. Hugs. 

Post # 4
2123 posts
Buzzing bee

I’m so sorry, bee. I recently lost an old friend to a car crash. We met in kindergarten and went through school together. I hadn’t seen him in ten years or so, but he was always a special person to me, and I always hoped he would do well. 

I understand that it is a little bit awkward to talk to your husband about another guy. But I think these situations are a bit different. You don’t have to detail your thoughts or the hooking up, but you should be able to talk to your husband about how upset you are, and that you cared about him, and that this is a shock. 

I don’t think it is appropriate to write to his dad. You can offer condolences, but a letter about what his son meant to you? I’m not sure. Maybe write a letter to your friend, let it all out, and burn it. 

You have to grieve. I know it feels odd when it isn’t a really close friend or family member, but that doesn’t mean that person doesn’t have a special place in your heart. You just have to go through this, give yourself time and space to be angry and upset. 

Big hugs, I know it hurts. Remember the good times and never feel guilty for what happened. Ever. xx

Post # 5
658 posts
Busy bee

Hey Bee, I’m sorry for your loss. It might sound weird to other people that I say “your loss” since you didn’t really have a relationship with this man at this point in your life, but he meant something to you, therefore “yours.”

I don’t think you need to explain to anybody (including your husband) what he meant to you if you don’t want to. I don’t think you need to justify your upset either. Suicide is a tragic thing and extra hard on those left behind. Even for natural deaths, people left behind can question themselves so that guilt you feel for not keeping in touch and reaching out is perfectly normal, even if it feels horrible. I’m guessing all of his friends feel like you do now.

As for reaching out to his dad, I say why not? I wouldn’t give him a personal call or anything, considering how you’re not close, but a hug at the funeral (if you can attend) and a card with a note is perfectly acceptable and can help both of you grieve.

Post # 6
7502 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

I’m sorry for your loss. I went through a similar thing, years ago, and it’s truly tragic and heartbreaking. I hope you find healing soon.

I don’t think it’s appropriate to go into detail about your relationship to the father; it doesn’t change the grief that the father feels, and won’t change what you’re feeling, but it betrays the privacy of the relationship you had with his son.  By all means, write a card/note with your condolences, and share your grief, but keep the deceased’s private business private. If neither of you felt compelled to tell his father about your relationship while he was alive, then you shouldn’t change that just because he’s died.

Likewise, your DH does not need to know the details of your relationship with this man.  Describing him as someone who meant a lot to you should be enough (and if DH is prying, then shame on him).

Perhaps a grief counselor or therapist would be a good resource.  I can absolutely understand how you may feel like you’ve not fully come to terms with your loss without acknowledging the nature of the relationship, and it’s perfectly normal to want to get these things out. But these details can be very hurtful if presented in the wrong manner, and it’s really hard to have a conversation about former boyfriends under the best of circumstances, let alone with the emotion and grief in control.  

Post # 7
977 posts
Busy bee

I’m so sorry! Of course you are upset, someone from your past had died. Even though you weren’t close now, you did know them at one point, and death is always a hard pill to swallow. Your feelings are completely understandable. 

I really don’t believe you should tell this whole story to your Fiance, it would really serve no purpose. But I think there’s no harm in telling him that he was an “old flame,” and nothing more. He will understand you from just saying that and it would need no further explanation. 

I think his family probably needs some space right now, they need not to be bombarded. I think a small note saying how you have wonderful memories of their son and how he made a big positive impact on your life would be great, but that’s all.

In summary, express your feelings, but keep everything short and to the point. 

Post # 8
640 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2017

You just need some time to process this. It’s tragic when someone we know but are not necessarily close to dies. Especially if it is by suicide. We instinctively start running through senarios of how it might have been different. Your greif is not a reflection of how much you love your husband. You are dealing with some emotions like empathy and a little guilt. Just remember that the fantasies we’re based on superficial social media posts. His life was clearly more complicated than it appeared. 

Post # 9
13048 posts
Honey Beekeeper

I’m sorry for what you are going through and the loss of your friend. I don’t think the father should have to hear any of the intimate details and certainly not your”what if” feelings in order to appreciate that you lost someone who was once special to you. 

As for your H, my own philosophy, and I know not everyone agrees with it, would be to at least acknowledge that the relationship was more than strictly platonic. That could also help you to keep some perspective. I would not tell him any of the rest. That could only hurt him. 

On that note, it might be worth exploring if there are other reasons you have had those thoughts of “what might have been,” or if it was more along the lines of just wondering where else your life could have gone. If you are really struggling with this it might be helpful to talk to a counselor. 

Please know that you have nothing to feel guilty about. Depression is an illness. 

Post # 10
5085 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2014

I think it’s ok to grieve in this situation and it’s ok to talk to your husband about it, but I’d keep out the details of your relationship and your fantasies about him. Those should stay private. I had a similar friend die unexpectedly a few years ago and it was sad even though I hadn’t spoken to him in years outside of Facebook. I still think about him often. 

My brother also committed suicide a couple years ago. I think my parents appreciated those who reached out and shared stories and offered their condolences. Just be careful not to make it too much about you. You don’t want it to seem like you’re trying to equate your grief to theirs. Offer condolences, attend the services if you can, share a happy memory, but don’t share the intimate details of your relationship.

Post # 11
661 posts
Busy bee

I’m so sorry for your loss, Bee.  I had a cute middle school relationship with a guy that I felt a connection with well into our teenage years.  He got drunk at 19, took his mom’s car for a joy ride, and lost control.  He and his dog both passed away.  

I was devastated, as well.  He was the kind of person who lit up a room when he walked into it… he had a smile for everyone, and he had a completely off the wall sense of humor.  You couldn’t help but be drawn to him.  

I wrote his mom a short note, thanking her for the good memories she allowed me to have with her son, because she was always so gracious and accepting of me, even when he and I were just friends.  I highlighted some of my favorite moments with him, because she knew her son.  He WOULD want an egg beater (like, a literal metal egg beater) for Christmas, so that’s what I got him when we were 14.  I made her a copy of a few notes he’d written me and a few pictures he’d sent with them.  She was so, so grateful for those memories.  They were uniquely him.  So, share your memories of your friend with his dad.  I’m sure he will be glad to hear of the impact his son had on your life.  Just leave the hookups and relationship out of it.  

I would recommend the same with your DH.  It is possible to tell him how much this person meant to you without bringing up how you always thought about the “what if”.  You can talk about his positive attributes and how much those always meant to you.  Your DH will understand.  

Post # 13
1649 posts
Bumble bee

Re the note to dad, I think that’s fine but definitely have someone you trust to be truthful to you read it over first to make sure you hit the right tone and level of disclosure. 

Post # 14
9132 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: Dorset, UK

View original reply
aae37 :  
View original reply
aae37 :  I’m so sorry for your loss bee.. Having lost people to suicide I can empathise with your feelings right now. I think confide in your husband.. He doesn’t need to know all the details but he should understand you are grieving. If you write to the father offer condolences and nothing else. 

Post # 15
949 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

I’m very sorry for you loss. Almost 3 years ago, the person I dated for 3 years throughout college died very unexpectedly; it was not suicide but he was not taking good care of himself. I was newly engaged to DH at the time and to be very honest I am still grieving. It’s certainly not like an all day every day thing, but often I’ll hear a song or see a quote or something with happen in the news and he automatically pops into my head, and I allow myself some quiet moments to think about him and go back into that grief a little bit. I did talk to DH when it happened (I couldn’t really hide it, I was a mess when I found out), and thankfully he was good about letting me share some memories and giving me some space to deal with it.

It was a bit of a different situation because I knew his family well, but I hadn’t spoken to them in a couple years. I did send a card with my condolences to his parents and made a donation in his name to one of their suggested organizations, and now even recently I sent his mom a card near his birthday to let them know I was thinking of them and I know from her response that it was very meaningful to them. We can’t change our past; he is a part of who I am today. Allow yourself time to grieve and don’t feel that you needed to have more or be anything different to him in order to feel that way. Hugs to you. 

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