Grieving a Suicide
A 2003 Finalist in the United Kingdom Christian Book Awards
"Albert," the neighbor said, "your mom needs you to come home."
That's how it began for Albert Hsu when his father died. Anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide experiences tremendous shock and trauma. What follows is a confusing mix of emotions—anger, guilt, grief, and despair.
Suicide raises heartrending questions:
Why did this happen?
Why didn't we see it coming?
Could we have done anything to prevent it?
How can we go on?
Many also wonder if those who choose suicide are doomed to an eternity separated from God and their loved ones. Some may even start asking whether life is worth living at all.
After his father's death, Hsu wrestled with the intense emotional and theological questions surrounding suicide. While acknowledging that there are no easy answers, he draws on the resources of the Christian faith to point suicide survivors to the God who offers comfort in our grief and hope for the future.
For those who have lost a loved one to suicide and for their counselors and pastors, this book is an essential companion for the journey toward healing. This revised edition incorporates updated statistics and now includes a discussion guide for suicide survivor groups.
"Grieving a Suicide is one of the most helpful books I read after our son, Matthew, died by suicide. I scribbled notes and comments to myself on nearly every page of this revised and expanded edition, and I found Al Hsu's compassionate and practical words even more beneficial than before. He has walked this painful path and knows firsthand how to give hope and comfort to grieving people. Grieving a Suicide is on my list of must-read books for survivors of suicide loss."
"Having lost my brother to suicide, I am often asked by other survivors for recommendations of helpful resources. Al Hsu's Grieving a Suicide will now be the first I recommend. It is comprehensive without being clinical, practical without offering easy answers. And while Hsu's book is tremendously hopeful, it does not flinch at this bald fact: suicide is turmoil and trauma."
"My family, maybe like yours, has been touched by suicide. Answers are often sparse and the questions linger. In the midst of the pain, we mourn and we grieve. In this unique and helpful book, Al Hsu helps us to grieve well in the midst of the hurt."
"Al Hsu has updated Grieving a Suicide, an already-valued resource that I recommend to every Christian grieving a suicide. This book is an honest and authentic telling of Al's story of grappling with his father's suicide. It's a story that desperately needs expression in the church, to bring suicide out of the shadows. The bonus gift of the book is listening in on Al's theological and practical reflections on the gut-wrenching complexities of suicide."
"In a world that often meets our most desperate moments with silence, this book is a vital voice of hope. Leaving space for grief, Hsu offers clear answers to questions people don't ask until they have to. In the process, he graciously points us toward life and light, which can be so hard to see in the darkness left by suicide."
"This is a sad, painful, comforting, and wonderful book. Al Hsu, with endearing honesty, carries the reader on a journey through his own story of grief, weaving together many contemporary, literary, and historic examples of responses to suicide and possible explanations for such a tragic choice. He does not shrink from grappling with tough questions about life and God that are raised by such suffering. This is a profound, detailed, and immensely helpful book for anyone touched by the suicide of a friend or family member. I know of no other book so comprehensive, sensitive, and healing."
Introduction: For Survivors—the Other Victims of Suicide
Part I: When Suicide Strikes
Part II: The Lingering Questions
6. Why Did This Happen?
7. Is Suicide the Unforgivable Sin?
8. Where Is God When It Hurts?
Part III: Life After Suicide
9. The Spirituality of Grief
10. The Healing Community
11. The Lessons of Suicide
Epilogue: Going On
Appendix: Resources for Suicide Survivors and Suicide Prevention
Questions for Reflection and Discussion
A Single-Session Discussion Guide for Suicide Survivor Groups