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Losing a Family Member to Suicide

During college, one of the hardest things I’ve faced is my uncle’s passing.  After a really long battle of PTSD and depression, this past May, my uncle James took his own life.  With a large number of my family members having involvement with the military, it was always a concern for us– but certainly not a reality.  I’ve lost a few family members since I was a little girll, but I don’t remember being as closely affected by a death previous to this.  It struck a chord inside of my soul that will continue to resonate for the rest of my life.


My senior year of high school, I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and depression.  I got the help I needed, and with wonderful therapy, medication, and family/friend support, I found my way to recovery this year.  One thing that I realize, though, is that many wonderful people don’t find their recovery as quickly or as easily.  My uncle is one of those misfortunate ones.  

    On the day of his funeral, I made him one promise that I vowed to keep for the rest of my life: I will never give up or let go if my “rock bottom” gets deeper.  Since then, I’ve done a lot for the betterment of myself, and I truly feel he would be proud of me.  

    One thing that I will always remember that I encourage you to learn: do not blame yourself for what happened.  No matter the circumstances, this is the toughest thought you will have to carry.  It doesn’t matter how close you and this family member were; it doesn’t matter if you got into an argument with them once or twice, or perhaps forgot to tell them happy birthday.  What matters is the wonderful family memories you shared.  What matters is that you got to share their life with yours.  

    College brings a lot of life changes for many people, and this is one of the more challenging ones to face.  Know that if you are in the same situation, things will get better.  It takes time, but you will get through it.  I believe in you, and we’re all rooting for you.  Stay Strong.

    If you or a loved one is in danger of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

Until next time, HCXO.

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