The Grieving Process for Suicide Survivors Is Unique

The unique grief process that survivors go through after a suicide sets them apart from survivors of other means of death. Suicide deaths often come with no warning and can be sudden and violent. This alone makes them traumatic.

But there’s another element that sets suicides apart from other losses: they leave so many unanswered questions in their wake. Survivors may experience deep feelings of regret and guilt.  PTSD is not uncommon among suicide survivors as they replay images in their mindes and suffer extreme anxiety. Compounding the trauma can be the invasive involvement of law enforcement as they investigate the death scene. When you consider that about three-fourths of all suicides take place in the home and that 85% die there and not in the hospital, the picture becomes all the more grim.

For all of those reasons and more, survivors need a lot of support, which they don’t often get. Mental illness often plays a factor in suicides, and that attaches a stigma to the death. Also, religious condemnation of suicide can cause survivors to feel shame and distance them from that potentially supportive community. Survivors must deal with feelings of anger at the suicide victim. They can suffer nightmares, flashbacks, isolation, disinterest in life, confusion, distraction, and disconnection.

Often they feel rejected. They frequently overestimate their role in the death and wonder obsessively what they could have done to have prevented it. Tragically, the grief-stricken survivors of suicide can despair and become at risk for suicidal ideation themselves.

Suicide Survivors Should Never Tackle Death Cleanup

As you might imagine, no one experiencing that kind of grief and loss should try to deal with cleaning up the suicide site. Just seeing the site is excruciating and can put loved ones at risk for PTSD. Even professional death cleaners have suffered PTSD after working on such cleanup jobs. Most report that suicides by firearm–especially shotguns–are the most horrific.

Even if the suicide took place in a rental property and the owner was not affected by the death on a personal level, there are many sound reasons to stay completely away and let professional cleaners take care of it. You can never unsee that sort of horror.

Biohazard Remediation Requires a Team of Professionals

In addition to the traumatic nature of a suicide cleanup, the average person simply does not posses the training or equipment needed to deal with this type of cleaning. Any scene involving blood or bodily fluids must be treated as a potential danger. Proper personal protective equipment must be utilized, and the scene must be completely cleaned and disinfected with hospital or industrial grade cleaners and solvents. This is beyond what most people are equipped to handle on their own, even if they are in the best of mental health.

Professional cleanup teams know how to assess a site, deciding what can be sent away and cleaned effectively and what must be thrown away. They know and follow CDC and state regulations for the disposal of biohazards.

Blood and bodily fluids are never easily wiped away. They are absorbed by every porous surface.  Surfaces that can be contaminated include:

  • All types of fabric and upholstery
  • Carpeting
  • Mattresses
  • Furniture
  • Concrete
  • Walls
  • Wood floors

Often a suicide cleanup requires significant demolition work. Walls and flooring may need to be removed and replaced. Concrete may need sanding and sealing, or, if cracks are present, may need to be jackhammered out. While this may sound like overkill, biohazard remediation must be thorough, or the threat of disease and odor will remain.

Let Sterile Pros Help

If you are faced with such an extreme challenge as suicide cleanup, for all of these reasons you should never attempt to do the job yourself. The cleanup teams from Sterile Pros follow the most stringent state and local regulations and have all the necessary credentials, licensing, insurance and training. We offer discrete, compassionate, and professional death cleaning services and can restore your property to its former condition.

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