How will you show support in the midst of a loved one’s grief? When someone’s spouse dies by suicide, it’s difficult to know how to help. Here’s one person’s story of pain and how she worked through the grief process:

“At approximately 2:00 p.m. on November 2, 1993, my husband took his own life.”  The Reverend Barb Pekich* puts words to a hurt that few of us have known.

In our book The Compassionate Congregation, Barb courageously shares her experience as a widow by highlighting the stages of grief that she navigated. Her initial response was one of guilt, pondering what she could have done differently to prevent tragedy to her family.  She then entered a stage of sadness punctuated by strong flashes of anger. In her anger, Barb sought therapeutic release, be it swearing at her husband as she visited his grave or hurling dishes against the wall of her garage.

Each stage of the grieving process helped Barb move from rejecting her situation to accepting the truth, “I am a single parent; still my family is surrounded by love.”

When someone’s spouse dies by suicide, know that they need your support.

*The late Reverend Barb Pekich was the leader of Heartside Ministry in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She attended seminary with Karen Mulder.


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