Dear Annie: Recently, our 18-year-old son chose to take his life soon after his high school graduation. Now we are left trying to pick up the pieces and move forward. We live in a small community, and everyone is well aware of what happened.
Our youngest son just started the sixth grade and came home sad. He says he feels that he doesn’t have friends anymore and that everyone is talking about him behind his back. The parents of his used-to-be friends have shunned him because of what has happened in our family. I have felt the snubbing as well with my own encounters.
I have contacted our middle school guidance counselor, and she will keep an eye out for our son, but how do we stand up for ourselves? We feel devastated. We not only lost our beloved son, but we feel like outcasts in our own community. Moving is not a possibility right now. What can we do? – Confused and Hurting
Dear Confused: Our heartfelt condolences on the loss of your son. We know this is a terribly painful time for your family, and it is hardly a comfort for us to say that time will alleviate some of your concerns about your community. Until then, please contact the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention ( afsp.org). You can find information, referrals to therapists, and support groups where you can share your grief with others who have suffered a similar tragedy. They also can connect you to support groups for children and teens.
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