Bereavement: How Families Are Affected By Assisted Suicide

- Bereavement: How Families Are Affected By Assisted Suicide

When someone in the family decides to pursue the path of assisted suicide, there is no doubt that this decision can drastically affect the other people in that family unit. Loss is always a difficult topic and everyone deals with it in their own way. We feel that this is a subject that needs to be discussed because we know that families try to tackle things together.

Assisted suicide isn’t an option that is pursued at the drop of a hat. It is something that is thought about and mulled over and over again by the afflicted. They think about a lot of different factors which affect their decision. When someone in the family has decided to undergo assisted suicide, there are several common effects like:


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This is one of the more common responses to grief. Ideas of not being able to do more or ‘stopping’ the person from going through with it are usually found in people whose family members went through with assisted suicide.

An interesting point though is that people whose family members died of illness or of natural causes also suffer from depression. The biggest difference is that while the families of those who underwent AS are able to overcome their depression sooner since they had some time to prepare.


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Thoughts which include:

  • Did I do enough?
  • Was I the reason why they chose AS?
  • Where there other options that I did not discover?

Notice how the word “I” was utilized in each sentence. This is because the feelings of guilt are from the perception of the family member and not the afflicted. People tend to be social but we all have a bad habit of trying to project our own thoughts and preferences unto other people. So if they believe that they wouldn’t consider AS, this should mean that the family member shouldn’t have picked it either.


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This is one of the immediate and often unhealthy reactions to the concept of loss because of assisted suicide. Family members can feel rage over their inability to convince their loved one otherwise or anger at all their wasted efforts.

Illness is a terrible thing that does impact the whole family unit. So it is natural to feel angry—what isn’t natural is to keep that anger and nurse it.


Grief comes and it comes hard. However, it does not last forever. If you have a family member that chose to go forward with assisted suicide, please remember that their decision was not about you. It never was. This was about them. If you feel like you are struggling with your feelings of loss, please get in touch with a grief counselor at the soonest possible opportunity.

On a personal note, how has bereavement affected your life and your family?