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From the Desk of Father Rubey
Friday, February 16, 2018 by Father Ruby
I recently read an article that talked about the issue of “ambush” in the process of the grief journey. By ambush I mean situations where a grieving person is “ambushed” by grief during a routine experience such as grocery shopping. The survivor comes across an item that their deceased loved one cherished and all of a sudden there is a rush of grief that overwhelms the survivor. The realization that this cherished food no longer has any attraction because the one who loved it can no longer relish the taste of this food. The whole experience rattles the survivor, the finality and the reality once more sets in that their loved one is gone forever.

Another example is to be in a crowd and notice someone who walks or strongly resembles them, this can bring back memories. Such experiences stir up the intense pain that survivors experience in the immediate aftermath suicide. They are normal reactions and are not indicative that there is a relapse on the grief journey. Ambushes may occur well after the person has died. They are painful and unsettling reminders but are very normal reactions and nothing to worry about. Visiting a special place–a quite beach, a favorite forest preserve, or recreational park may also trigger memories of when the survivor was there with their loved one and enjoyed the beauty of this scene. Most likely there will be a resurgence of pain realizing that there will never again be the joy of being with this loved one at this special place. One way of looking at this is that the memories are to be cherished and the pain will never be experienced again in real life. Again, these are very normal reactions of the pain on the journey of grief. One of the most important steps to take in the immediate aftermath of a sudded death is to try and reestablish a routine in one’s life. It is painful to begin but it is important to start—not rush into—but at least to start. Whether it is returning to work or to church or to school it is important to at least begin.

The fear is how to interact with familiar people and how to answer the myriad of questions that are on people’s minds. One suggestion is that the survivor should never be in a situation where they feel forced to respond to a question that appears to be invasive. A response can be, “It is too painful to talk about it.” That will generally ward off intrusive questions. That is what makes suicide a different type of death. People don’t ask that question if it is a death from cancer or an automobile accident. Getting into a routine is one step in getting on with one’s life and that is a very important step to take. Losing a loved one to suicide or any sudden death is a life altering event and establishing routine can bring a sense of direction in one’s life. In the beginning a survivor almost feels as if they are a rudderless boat going around in circles and by establishing a routine there is a sense of direction and purpose. Routines also help survivors feel safe and gives a purpose to a survivor’s life. Routines are not magical but in the beginning they serve the purpose of helping a survivor get on with one’s life.

One of the fears of survivors is how to get on with one’s life without this cherished loved one. Survivors are forced to come to the realization that there is a life after the suicide of a loved one and establishing a routine is one example of getting on with life. In the immediate aftermath of a suicide chaos seems to reign in the lives of survivors and routine can bring a semblance of normalcy into one’s life and bring direction. Another important aspect of support is for survivors to surround themselves with a few trusted friends. Trusted friends are those people with whom you can be yourself and express your true feelings. These friends are not going to try to make you feel better but they are going to give you the freedom to express just how you are really feeling. These trusted friends will allow you the freedom to be honest and forthright with how you are doing. These are friends you can call on and they will be there. They are nonjudgmental and will not tell you how you should be feeling but will allow you to feel your feelings. These trusted friends are rare but invaluable. Such friends are going to pick you up emotionally when needed and they will understand when this is impossible. They are not magicians but they are intuitive and begin to know your feelings and how best to help you. These friends will respect your privacy and respect your needs. They will know when to leave you alone and to be there when you are afraid to be alone.

The above suggestions are meant to help survivors reenter life. They are not magical solutions but are attempts to assist survivors in getting on with their lives. Once a suicide occurs lives are completely put into a state of upheaval. The lives of survivors are not destroyed but are temporarily upended and survivors are challenged to bring normalcy out of chaos. This whole process takes a lot of time. Survivors should not put a time frame in this process. The important aspect is how thoroughly survivors accomplish the tasks of the grief journey. Life is different after suffering the loss of a loved one from suicide. Life is not over but is altered. As always, I want to assure each and every member of the LOSS Family of my thoughts and prayers on a very regular basis and I encourage all of the LOSS Family to remember each other in the same way—especially those who have recently joined our family. Keep On Keepin’ On, FROM THE DESK OF Father Rubey By ambush I mean situations where a grieving person is “ambushed” by grief during a routine experience...The whole experience rattles the survivor...and the reality once more sets in that their loved one is gone forever.

Keep On Keepin’ On.

Rev. Charles T. Rubey


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From the Desk of Father Rubey
Friday, February 16, 2018 by Father Ruby
I recently read an article that talked about the issue of “ambush” in the process of the grief journey. By ambush I mean situations where a grieving person is “ambushed” by grief during a routine experience such as grocery shopping. The survivor comes across an item that their deceased loved one cherished and all of a sudden there is a rush of grief that overwhelms the survivor. The realization that this cherished food no longer has any attraction because the one who loved it can no longer relish the taste of this food. The whole experience rattles the survivor, the finality and the reality once more sets in that their loved one is gone forever.

Another example is to be in a crowd and notice someone who walks or strongly resembles them, this can bring back memories. Such experiences stir up the intense pain that survivors experience in the immediate aftermath suicide. They are normal reactions and are not indicative that there is a relapse on the grief journey. Ambushes may occur well after the person has died. They are painful and unsettling reminders but are very normal reactions and nothing to worry about. Visiting a special place–a quite beach, a favorite forest preserve, or recreational park may also trigger memories of when the survivor was there with their loved one and enjoyed the beauty of this scene. Most likely there will be a resurgence of pain realizing that there will never again be the joy of being with this loved one at this special place. One way of looking at this is that the memories are to be cherished and the pain will never be experienced again in real life. Again, these are very normal reactions of the pain on the journey of grief. One of the most important steps to take in the immediate aftermath of a sudded death is to try and reestablish a routine in one’s life. It is painful to begin but it is important to start—not rush into—but at least to start. Whether it is returning to work or to church or to school it is important to at least begin.

The fear is how to interact with familiar people and how to answer the myriad of questions that are on people’s minds. One suggestion is that the survivor should never be in a situation where they feel forced to respond to a question that appears to be invasive. A response can be, “It is too painful to talk about it.” That will generally ward off intrusive questions. That is what makes suicide a different type of death. People don’t ask that question if it is a death from cancer or an automobile accident. Getting into a routine is one step in getting on with one’s life and that is a very important step to take. Losing a loved one to suicide or any sudden death is a life altering event and establishing routine can bring a sense of direction in one’s life. In the beginning a survivor almost feels as if they are a rudderless boat going around in circles and by establishing a routine there is a sense of direction and purpose. Routines also help survivors feel safe and gives a purpose to a survivor’s life. Routines are not magical but in the beginning they serve the purpose of helping a survivor get on with one’s life.

One of the fears of survivors is how to get on with one’s life without this cherished loved one. Survivors are forced to come to the realization that there is a life after the suicide of a loved one and establishing a routine is one example of getting on with life. In the immediate aftermath of a suicide chaos seems to reign in the lives of survivors and routine can bring a semblance of normalcy into one’s life and bring direction. Another important aspect of support is for survivors to surround themselves with a few trusted friends. Trusted friends are those people with whom you can be yourself and express your true feelings. These friends are not going to try to make you feel better but they are going to give you the freedom to express just how you are really feeling. These trusted friends will allow you the freedom to be honest and forthright with how you are doing. These are friends you can call on and they will be there. They are nonjudgmental and will not tell you how you should be feeling but will allow you to feel your feelings. These trusted friends are rare but invaluable. Such friends are going to pick you up emotionally when needed and they will understand when this is impossible. They are not magicians but they are intuitive and begin to know your feelings and how best to help you. These friends will respect your privacy and respect your needs. They will know when to leave you alone and to be there when you are afraid to be alone.

The above suggestions are meant to help survivors reenter life. They are not magical solutions but are attempts to assist survivors in getting on with their lives. Once a suicide occurs lives are completely put into a state of upheaval. The lives of survivors are not destroyed but are temporarily upended and survivors are challenged to bring normalcy out of chaos. This whole process takes a lot of time. Survivors should not put a time frame in this process. The important aspect is how thoroughly survivors accomplish the tasks of the grief journey. Life is different after suffering the loss of a loved one from suicide. Life is not over but is altered. As always, I want to assure each and every member of the LOSS Family of my thoughts and prayers on a very regular basis and I encourage all of the LOSS Family to remember each other in the same way—especially those who have recently joined our family. Keep On Keepin’ On, FROM THE DESK OF Father Rubey By ambush I mean situations where a grieving person is “ambushed” by grief during a routine experience...The whole experience rattles the survivor...and the reality once more sets in that their loved one is gone forever.

Keep On Keepin’ On.

Rev. Charles T. Rubey