I am a 40 something man whose sister recently committed suicide. I have just returned from her funeral. I am aware of the grieving process, disbelief, anger, etc. I can't help but wonder about the circumstances of her death at this point.
My younger sister had a lot of stress in her life, but she was upbeat with solid upcoming plans for her future.
She took her life late in evening with her 3 children in the home, which is the most unbelievable part of all this, since she was a loving a doting mother. There is a police investigation, but they tell us that the medical examiners report could take 3 months. They are interviewing friends, family and co-workers. They have seized evidence from the house. They also tell as a thorough investigation could take 6-12 months.
In the meantime, myself and my family are left to grieve the untimely loss of my sister.
I suppose what is hurting so much is the unknown. I have to tell the story to so many people, but I really have no idea what to say other than she died suddenly and the cause of death is being investigated.
How do I tell anyone it was suicide when it could be murder, or tell anyone it was murder when it could be suicide? This is just amplifying my pain and anguish, and I'm sitting on a possible year of not knowing, perhaps never knowing what happened that night.
I don't want to pry or accuse the husband and jeopardize my relationship with her children.
Any advice would be appreciated for this difficult time until the police finalize their investigation.
Joe I am so very sorry for your loss. I lost my brother in February, we were also both in our 40's. I understand what you are going through. The only reason there wasn't a long investigation with my brother was that he took his life in a hotel. So they knew exactly who & when the room was entered & exited and when it was cleaned etc. They told us if it had been at home it would've been much more complicated. The medical examiner's report did take about 12 wks. to come back with an exact cause of death, narcotics and alcohol, which is what we thought, but they could tell by the quantity in his system that it was not an accidental overdose.
I would probably stay neutral on the husband around the kids. They are going through so much. This is a great sounding board, no one will judge you and everyone can relate to the pain you are feeling. Welcome to the "club".
Joe, first, I'm so sorry for your loss. Suicide, just the possibility, complicates everything in ways you never imagine until it slaps you in the face. I think the best thing to do is to stay neutral and pray for clarity. Hopefully something will come up to give you all some closure on this--I can't imagine going through a situation like this with children involved. For their sake, and for the sake of your relationship with them, it would definitely be best for everyone to maintain contact. I would be careful confronting the husband on anything really, at all...I'm not sure what the laws are in your state, but in most, there aren't really laws guaranteeing access to the grandkids/etc by extended family. I don't mention this to freak anyone out, I say this because it is important to realize what could be on the table if the kids' father felt threatened by something your side of the family either said to the kids or to him. I realize there is just so much hurt right now to sort out, and I am so very sorry you are all going through this. It's the hardest thing I've ever had to endure in my life.
Thank you Caryn and Lynda.
I am trapped in this agonizing wait for answers, any of which will not change the fact that my sister is tragically gone.
I will be remaining neutral, I have spoken with him and set up video calls so I can see and stay in touch with my nephew and nieces. Since she lived so far away, I will be creating a memorial to her in my town (a bench or a tree in a public place where I can go and be "with" her.
I have opened my heart to my friends and family, and the support I have received has strengthened me. The words on the pages I have read here have made me feel less alone in my grief.
But the pain and doubt remain, and will remain for the foreseeable future. The worry for my own children's grief, for my parent's grief and for my remaining siblings grief is a major concern right now. I feel like I need to call everyone all the time. I feel like I need to get on with my life and business, but here I sit... trolling the internet.
I also felt like I needed to be in touch with everyone I cared about, know where every one was all the time, this will dissipate over time. That is a beautiful idea to do a memorial for her. The grief will come in waves and everyone deals with it differently. The best thing I can say is drink LOTS of water, crying is very dehydrating. Go with your grief let yourself feel it. I believe that as much as you love is as much as you hurt. I have started to turn my grief into good by working with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I don't want to feel as though my brother died in vain and if I can do something to possibly prevent someone else from doing something so final than I helped. It will take a long time and right now I know it feels like time is standing still. Try to take care of yourself and of your family. When you feel up to it ease back into work if you can. I know that was one of the hardest things for me, I just couldn't concentrate. Remember your sister will always be with you, in your heart and in your memories.
Joe, I just saw your post and my deepest condolences. I lost my sister under similar questionable circumstances. Hopefully the police are truly investigating. In my situation I waited 3 months to talk to the medical examiner. Prior to this meeting the police overlooked evidence that I found at my sister's townhouse. They were convinced upon arrival that it was suicide, allowed her former husband to "clean up the scene" and remove items from her townhouse. When I met with the medical examiner and asked what made her determine that it was suicide - believe it or not her response was "the police said it was."
I had hired a private investigator who had obtained a copy of the medical examiner's file and police file. The medical examiner's markings of the injuries noted, in the investigator's opinion (who had been a former homicide detective for 15 years) that she fought for her life. A year later the police gave me a copy of her file and it was altered from the original file I received.
My sister was going through some terrible problems in her life. If I knew in my heart that this was her choice I could have better handled the grief than to have evidence that was ignored that pointed the opposite way. The puzzle pieces just never came together for me.
Yes I thought about making a big stink with the police department - I did push the homicide department to further investigate - but they allowed the crime scene to be contaminated by the former husband thereby assuring that any of the evidence could be thrown out of court.
Instead I co-founded a non-profit organization consisting of paralegals and attorneys who now, almost 10 years later, have been assisting victims of domestic violence. We meet monthly at the police department with the participants which would not have been possible if I had caused that "stink" I previously thought about.
I can say is that it gets easier with time. Cherish your memories and know your sister is at peace.