By Invitation

Living on after a loved one commits suicide

It is common to ask why when a loved one kills himself or herself. But with time, it is good to leave the search for the unknowable behind.

Some time ago, someone I knew professionally killed himself. I had no inkling that things were not good for him: He had, until then, been unfailingly good-natured as well as efficient and good at his work, which could be demanding, but he seemed to be holding everything together.

As a psychiatrist, suicide among patients is an occupational hazard and when it happens, it is invariably difficult and painful. We sometimes take cold comfort in the saying that there are only two types of therapists: the ones who have already experienced a patient's suicide and those who will.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 11, 2018, with the headline 'Living on after a loved one commits suicide'. Print Edition | Subscribe