What of Suicide Notes?
The last words of a loved one may provide a small amount of relief, or may assign blame, or may raise even more questions. Or, more likely, there may be no suicide note at all. In fact, most people who die by suicide do not leave a note1, so those without notes also struggle immensely with the lack of closure they feel a note should help supply. But then for those of you who have last words, you will attest to the fact that even with a note, closure is elusive in death by suicide. It is so sudden and so unwanted that the last words of your loved one will never feel like it’s enough.
Whatever the content of the note, understand this: an individual who takes his or her life was not in a healthy state of mind during the act. Because of this, notes may suggest confusing themes or emotions, or ramble in a way that doesn’t make sense.
If the note contains last instructions, as most notes do, it is entirely up to you if you would like to honor those requests. Again, your loved one was not in a healthy place when writing that note, so there is no requirement for you to fulfil the instructions written. If you choose to, you may find that the final wishes are a way to honor and remember your loved one.
Should I share the note?
Again, this is a very personal decision. Generally speaking, it is not a good idea to share the note on large platforms, such as posting it on a Facebook page or publishing it in an obituary, as this could lead to copycat suicides. However, sharing the note with close family and friends may be a comfort to you or to the friends and family.
What if the note assigns blame?
We cannot stress enough that suicide is never the cause of one factor. Even if a suicide note specifies one specific item that lead to their death, this is often a narrow view of a hurting mind. In most cases, suicide is the result of an untreated or mistreated mental illness such as depression or anxiety, coupled by stressing life events and a lack of coping skills.