Grief is a very personal experience.  Everyone progresses through it differently.  What may help one person come to terms with a loss may alienate, disturb, even worsen the experience for someone else.  I would suggest that you read as much as you can about the process, keeping any tidbit of information that makes sense to you.  Realize, however, that there are losses that may never make sense.  I will not tell you that this will be easy.  I will not attempt to give you a time table to follow.  I will only say that you will get through this.  We have.

The materials below focus on the types of losses that were similar, in some way, to our own.  Any loss is difficult to handle.  Losing a father, mother, brother or sister will change your life.  However, the loss of a child, at any age, is especially cruel.  This is not the way the world is supposed to operate.  Parents should not have to witness the death of their child.  When that child is their only child, there is a dramatic change in their purpose, their reason for living.  They will never be the same again.

There are many ways by which someone can die.  Sometimes it is a gradual predictable transition such as a long term illness.  But it can also be a shocking, immediate event such as an accident, murder or suicide.  With a sudden loss of life there is little time to adjust to the situation.  There is no opportunity to say goodbye.  The "Why" and "What if" questions run rampant.

The death of a loved one never seems to make sense.  A sudden illness, a tragic accident, an act of violence or war can all seem like an unreasonable twists of fate.  But perhaps the most illogical cause of death is from suicide.  It seems inconceivable that a living, breathing person would choose to end his or her life.  With the exception of euthanasia, the problems that often lead to suicide are temporary inconveniences to the normal person.  And yet these persons choose a tragic, permanent path to follow. 

These are the things that have made our grief so unbearable.  We lost a child, our son Shawn.  He was our only child.  The loss was sudden and unexpected.  And it came by his own hand.    

Reading materials for Loss, Grief, Suicide, and Hope:

Title Author
The Bereaved Parent Harriet Sarnoff Schiff
Suicide of a Child Adina Wrobleski
I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye Brook Noel & Pamela Blair
My Son, My Son Iris Bolton & Curtis Mitch
Grieving a Suicide Albert Y Hsu
An Empty Chair Sara Miller
But I Didn't Say Goodbye Barbara Rubel
In the Wake of Suicide Victoria Alexander
Crossing Over John Edward
After Life: Answers from the Other Side John Edward
One Last Time John Edward
Facing the Ultimate Loss:  Coping with the Death of a Child Robert Marx & Susan Davidson
Grief Steps: 10 Steps to Recovery Brook Noel

Other reading materials

Title Author
Schizophrenia and Addiction: The Guide to Unraveling Comorbidity and Finding the Path to Recovery DrugrehabOrg
Comorbidity With Substance Abuse Kathleen T Brady, MD, PhD
Bipolar Disorder and Addiction