Celebrating Life After Suicide Loss


When losing someone to suicide, it is sometimes tough afterwards to celebrate not only our loved ones, but also life itself.

“Grief is a part of life,” said CMHA Calgary counsellor Jessica. “And when we don’t fully grieve, sometimes our grief, almost like, hardens, or hardens our hearts, and makes us cut off from ourselves and cut off from our loved ones. And that can be really dangerous to lose a part of yourself.”

One way to honour your loved ones and to grieve their lives is to create rituals. This could include:

  • Planting a tree and visiting it regularly
  • Playing their favourite music
  • Celebrating their birthday or anniversaries
  • Paying it forward to others in their memory
  • Spending time talking about their life and favourite memories

“When we do rituals, when we grieve, we’re actually warming our hearts,” said Jessica. “We are warming that pain, and we were allowing it to transform us.”

Difference About Suicide Loss

It’s important to remember that everybody’s suicide loss and each situation is unique. Jessica said that when someone dies by suicide, it is a traumatic experience for those left behind and that the grief is often mixed with feelings of grief, guilt, anger, and shock.

“It can be very complicated and difficult to have this grief experience because it’s a bit like a soup where all the different emotions are mixed together,” said Jessica. “The love and the pain and the grief and the shock and the trauma. And so you’re not just sort of feeling one thing at a time.”

Celebrating Life After Suicide Loss

Oftentimes, society sees the grieving process as an individual process, instead of leaning on others for support and help.

This is why it’s so important for anyone who has lost someone to suicide to remember and include them in your daily life.

Jessica said this could be going to their grave or where their ashes have been scattered and spending time there thinking about the person. Or setting a place for them at dinner or on Thanksgiving and really talk about them to others.

“Talk about the memories. Talk about what they might say, at this moment, when they’re not with us,” said Jessica.

CMHA Calgary’s Suicide Bereavement Drop-In

One of the resources CMHA Calgary provides is our weekly Suicide Bereavement Drop-In group on Thursdays from 6:30 – 8:30 pm. The group is available for anyone who has lost someone to suicide to share whatever is on their minds or in their hearts and to connect with each other.

Currently, these groups are being held over Zoom. Registration is required and can be found here.

Survivors of Suicide Loss Day

Coming up on Saturday, November 27, 2021, CMHA Calgary will be hosting our annual Survivors of Suicide Loss Day – a one day event for individuals who have lost someone to suicide (parent, child, spouse/partner, aunt, uncle, cousin, niece, nephew, friend, or extended relationship) to come together and connect in a supportive environment. CMHA Calgary works with a dedicated group of devoted volunteers to present a day of support, healing, information, connection, and hope for those left behind.

For more information or to register for Survivors of Suicide Loss Day, click here.

Jessica has a Master’s in Counselling and is a Certified Canadian Counsellor (CCC). Jessica works in an experiential manner, and practice using depth-psychology and process-oriented counselling approaches and other modalities, to address the root of client issues through a gentle holistic lens.

Our Peer Support program services can be accessed over the phone at 403-297-1402 or through email at peer@cmha.calgary.ab.ca. We have teamed up with other Calgary agencies to help Calgarians quickly and easily access various counselling and social supports. Visit www.communityconnectyyc.ca, where you can book online for our Suicide Bereavement and Family Support Counselling, and other supports. If you prefer to still book through us, please phone (403-297-1708), or email (counsellingintake@cmha.calgary.ab.ca).