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Suicide or Accidental Death?

Updated on April 3, 2019

For the first time in my 50 year existence, I am feeling overwhelmed by the suicide, accidental death, or accidental overdose questions racing through my mind. I received word that someone I have loved for over 20 years is now dead, and the unofficial cause of death is thought to be suicide. It is no coincidence I have chosen a stark and blunt in-your- face title as an expression of how my dear friend's death is affecting me. I truly feel her unexpected death is being crammed down my throat, whether I want to swallow it or not.

Where do you go from here? How do you sort through all the different emotions that surface when you wonder if someone really took their own life?

The result obviously is the same so do the details really matter?

Is it a deflection from my grief to get tied up in wanting to know more of the details surrounding her death?

I don’t have the answers to any of the questions I have asked. I find myself going back and forth through this nightmarish experience, with the clear understanding that nothing will bring her back. No amount of questions can be asked or answered that can change the outcome of what has already occurred.

I think to myself. She was gone by the time I received word of her death. She had died alone with just the pills that she either took purposely or accidentally, as her final companion.

It doesn’t matter that this came as a complete surprise to me.

It doesn’t change the fact that she is no longer here, because I thought she had reached a point in her life where she had taken suicide completely off the table.

It matters not that she and I talked about her plans for the future which included her getting a place for just herself so that she could heal and relax from a life filled with unimaginable pain and suffering. Or that her game plan was to check herself into a full time facility that would help her feel that she could "take it" once again.

I love you’s extended to one another were not enough to make her world a place she could continual to contemplate. Was it a sudden snap? What could push someone who vowed suicide was no longer an option for coping, to go over the edge, break her word, and end her existence?

If it was planned, when was it decided? Had she lied to her daughter when she promised her she would not commit suicide, or had she tried to hang on to her desire to live,, in the end, relunctantly surrendering to her negative state of mind?

Not Just a Statistic

My friend was only 42 years old. She was about to finally begin a life with just herself at the center. She was looking forward to getting out on her own, and providing a healthier mental environment for herself.

My friend recently lost her father. Is it a coincidence she took her life only 2 days after the eighth month anniversary of her father's death. She was very close with her father and forgave him for wrongs committed against her when she was younger. She truly wanted to forgive and forget, regardless of how heinous the deed done against her.

My friend loved to laugh. She would always look forward to our crazy conversations because she knew we would end up laughing at ourselves by the end of it all.

It hadn't always been that way. Our friendship has been as rocky as the road a person with bi-polar disorder travels . Trips and spills over minor and major problems. Times when she would practically disown me and quit speaking to me, only to get through an episode enough to recapture what we'd loss and seek out my friendship once again.

I was always happy to see the real her come back into my life and never mentioned the previous times of pain we suffered through when she wasn't reasoning correctly.

We loved each other and we told each other that often. She knew I wanted only the best for her and that my world would not be the same if she wasn't a part of it.

I guess she forgot all that, or knowing I cared couldn't override the pain she just wanted to end.

Reach Out

I said it a thousand times to my friend over the years. I said it even when I knew she couldn’t reach out to me because of my health. We actually discussed alternatives to cover the times she may have needed to talk to me and I would be unavailable because of my own issues. She actually listened and followed my advice to the extent she could advocate for herself.

Our last discussion was about her agreeing to enter a treatment center until her mind could cope with all the sadness she was feeling.

Was I the last person she reached out to? What sounded like two "normal" messages left on my answer machine would turn out to be the last time I heard her voice.

Was she calling to tell me she wanted to end her life or had she already decided and was calling merely to say good-bye to me.

I can’t even analyze the messages, because I erased them thinking she and I would be talking in the very near future. Instead, the next voice I heard was that of her daughter telling me her mom was gone and they thought she overdosed on pills.

What I Do Know

While I don’t know much for sure right now, I do have some constants to hang on to while I grapple to deal with my friend’s apparent suicide.

  • Love endures all things even suicide
  • I was her best friend and she loved me for being there for her over the years.
  • Mental illness is chronic and suicidal thoughts are the first thing to reappear when extreme sadness and stress is present.
  • I received as much as I gave, our friendship was by no means one-sided. I valued and respected her for the many good qualities she possessed. I respected her and enjoyed being her friend.

Still A Slim Chance

 My friend's family is meeting with the funeral director as I type this portion.

I haven't talked to any member of her family yet and am waiting for her daughter to return my unanswered phone calls.

I searched the city and State for her obituary notice and found it just a short time ago. Reading it on-line made it official. My inner turmoil has been conjured up once more as I face the reality of her loss.

Tears have been shed as I think of what may be happening next, now that arrangements are being made.

I won't be attending the funeral. She wouldn't want me to and I can't bear the thought of seeing her lying in a casket if that is what her family decides.

I hope she will be cremated so that her daughter will not have to endure a ceremonial funeral, as I can't imagine how she will be able to get through that experience.

My Promise

She and I always spoke of important matters concerning her daughter. If she was enduring some kind of severe health scare, she could rest easier knowing I promised I would keep in contact with the now grown woman who still calls me, "Aunt Dar". I will do all I can to keep my promise to my friend and make sure to check on my "niece".

She may have very well been the last person to have a coherent conversation with her mom. I worry about the guilt and anger that will be coming as a result of her mom breaking her word, not to kill herself.

Her word was her bond, at one time, I can't imagine her breaking it, especially to her daughter who meant the world to my friend.

Was this an accidental death? Did she not keep track of the pills she took that day?

Surely the official cause of death is available or soon will be. I wonder if it will reveal an accidental overdosing of pills, or a suicide, plain and simple.

What's Next?

I don't know what is coming in the way of my emotions in these next few days, especially the day of the final arrangements. I was told to call back in a day or so to receive the time and date from the funeral director listed in the death notice.

I am going to send some flowers to my friend's house and begin to work on a special letter for my neice, to be delivered when this is all over.

I plan to cope with this loss by taking it one day at a time. When I feel like crying I will cry. When I can recall her to mind with a smile, I will do that too. As I approach the other stages of grief I will embrace them so that I can heal.

My friend might not have felt she was worth loving, but I KNOW she was. I miss her even though I am glad she is no longer living in mental anquish and pain.

Final Update

As a conclusion to this ordeal, I have been told my friend's death was a suicide. So another type of grief is now taking place.

Please feel free to offer any words of comfort or similar experiences you have endured. Thank you in advance!

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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      lost someone who drank too much one evening in france .got in her bosses car and drove through a barrier off the docks into the sea and drowned.40 years shock 5 months ago.wanted to know planned or accidental.many questions and feelings.loved my friend dearly.some days better than others.was very into drinking.tried to get heer tostop over annd over again.trying to move on the best i can.why.

    • Brandym2012 profile image


      9 years ago from PA

      I can truly relate to this article. Almost 6 months ago I lost my sister to suicide. Her death was ruled suicide, however, there are too many coincidences to believe the ruling. Her case is "did she do it? Or did he?". I might never know the truth.

    • Jen's Solitude profile imageAUTHOR

      Jen's Solitude 

      9 years ago from Delaware

      Hi mary, thanks very much for your concern. I found myself thinking of my friend many times this past summer and fall. She would have been thrilled to know that my husband, also her good friend, had finally retired. We would have been planning for her to visit me here in Delaware and she would have been especially excited that I finally found an MS drug that allowed me to stop having to inject myself everyday.

      The last time I moved, fifteen years ago, she was the one who helped me unpack. I truly missed her during all the excitement. So happened we were scheduled to close the anniversary of her death. The deal fell through, but it was so strange to think of going through that process without talking to her about it.

      Again, thanks for your concern.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      9 years ago from Florida

      Hi, I just met you because this Hub is a related one to the one I just did on accidental carbon monoxide poinsoning. I am so sorry you lost a friend in this way. It's been a while since you wrote this Hub, and I can't help but wonder how you are coping with this tragedy at this time. Goodnight.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      is accidentally overdosing on pills considered suicide?

    • Jen's Solitude profile imageAUTHOR

      Jen's Solitude 

      10 years ago from Delaware

      Hello My Friend! Thanks so much for your kind thoughts. Yes with time comes a clearer understanding of why she ended her life, it still hurts, but the anger and feeling of rejection has passed, now I just grieve the loss of a good friend. I hope you are well?

    • KatieE39 profile image


      10 years ago from Colorado

      I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. Life is such a fragile balance, and sometimes we just don't understand why things happen the way they do. Perhaps by now you are starting to come to terms with what happened?

    • Jen's Solitude profile imageAUTHOR

      Jen's Solitude 

      10 years ago from Delaware

      Hi salman24, glad your story has a good ending and that your dear friend is handling the realty of his illness much better these days. It is a pleasure to meet you and I will check you out directly. Thanks for the comment.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      my one friend try to commit sucide just bcoz of diabetes. he is now 21 and tried this at the age of 18 but thank GOD as I am so close to him he stayed clam and serene. and now he is alive and living good life. I am joining your fan club and invite you to join my fan club. Thanks for such a good hub

    • Jen's Solitude profile imageAUTHOR

      Jen's Solitude 

      10 years ago from Delaware

      Hi DustinsMom, yes it certainly does help to read my own words, and especially to read the loving comments you have all left for me. I will keep doing what I am doing, and as the issues pressing on my heart arise, I will try to deal with them in the best way possible. Thank you for your encouragement and advise based on your own painful experience.

    • DustinsMom profile image


      10 years ago from USA

      You know I can relate to losing a loved one to suicide. Dustin was my only child, I lost him at 16. So many heartfelt and supportive comments here. Not much more I can say except keep putting one foot in front of the other. You seem to know the right things to do and how to get through the grief. That will not make it easier, just a tad more tolerable. You have a ton of support here, use us, lean on us, talk to us, reach out with your emotions. And go back and read what you wrote and all the loving comments, this is what has always and still to this day continues to help me get through another day. As for all your questions, it is perfectly normal to want answers. Please remember you will not get all answers, hold on to the "What I Do Know" list you wrote. Hugs to you my friend. I am so very sorry.

    • Jen's Solitude profile imageAUTHOR

      Jen's Solitude 

      10 years ago from Delaware

      2besure, I am glad your mom found you in time. My friend attempted suicide many times but then the attempts stopped. I mistakenly thought it was a thing of the past. I'm glad you know where to turn if you find yourself battling those thoughts again.

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 

      10 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      As a young woman of 20 I attempted suicide. If my mother had not come home and found me, I would not be here today. I did not know where to turn with my pain. Now I know how to get help when I am battling depression.

    • Jen's Solitude profile imageAUTHOR

      Jen's Solitude 

      10 years ago from Delaware

      Thank you MrDSpade, very kind of you to leave a comment.

    • Jen's Solitude profile imageAUTHOR

      Jen's Solitude 

      10 years ago from Delaware

      Thanks so much fishtiger. It certainly takes the wind out of my sails.

    • fishtiger58 profile image


      10 years ago from Momence, Illinois

      I am so very very sorry for your loss Jen. Hang in there my friend and stay strong for your friends daughter. My husbands brother committed suicide in the 70's and it still haunts him, but he is at peace.

    • Jen's Solitude profile imageAUTHOR

      Jen's Solitude 

      10 years ago from Delaware

      Thanks Val, my mom passed away in Dec of '07, so I related thoroughly to your sense of loss. My friend was very helpful through that difficult time. I miss her very much.

    • valeriebelew profile image


      10 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

      I have never experienced the suicide of a loved one; however, any death marks the end of a life that was shared with us. My mother's death was by far the most impactful for me, along with that of my dad. At times I still miss them both very much, but the pain does ease with time. So sorry you had to experience this, worse of all ways to lose a loved one. V

    • Jen's Solitude profile imageAUTHOR

      Jen's Solitude 

      10 years ago from Delaware

      Thank you so much habee. I can't even imagine going through something like this twice!

      It is one week today since she passed away. I'm finding it a difficult day to face, but guess that is only natural under the circumstances.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      I know exactly how you feel! My best friend overdosed on pills, and my dad shot himself. I'm sorry you're going through this.

    • Jen's Solitude profile imageAUTHOR

      Jen's Solitude 

      10 years ago from Delaware

      Thanks for your warm response Garnetbird. My friend's sister just sent me a touching e-mail thanking me for being a good friend to her sister. It was very touching and means so much to me, as you can imagine.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      This is an intense, heartbreaking subject. A relative of mine committed suicide years ago and also, an Aunt I never knew. I don't know how anyone copes with such a terrible loss. You wrote about it beautifully and honestly. Please be extra gentle with yourself!

    • Jen's Solitude profile imageAUTHOR

      Jen's Solitude 

      10 years ago from Delaware

      Paradise, ladyjane and ocbill, thank each of you for adding your comforting words to these precious comments. I still haven't received the official word about her death, there are valid reasons for either suicide or accidental death. I have found out there is to be an open casket funeral perhaps as early as tomorrow, but am still waiting to hear from my friend's daughter. The funeral director is going to personally deliver a message asking her to call me. I hope she is holding up ok, I'm starting to get concerned that I haven't been able to reach her yet. Given all that happens when funeral arrangements have to be planned I suppose patience is in order.

    • ocbill profile image


      10 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      I am also sorry for your loss. It is always easy to say as an outsider, but I wish that you feel comfort from someone (or something) to relieve the sorrow.

      A friend or relative dying is something I will have to deal with inevitably. Recently, someone I knew was murdered and it's hard for me to take. I am angry but I am now thinking of what a great life she had. I sometimes have a belief that death is just another phase and it will be OK and not so bad. sorry, as I just don't have the right words for this. I wish you well.

    • ladyjane1 profile image


      10 years ago from Texas

      Im sorry to hear about your friend it is a very sad thing to happen. I had a best friend when I was a kid and we lost contact for a long time but knew through my mother that she had been going through a lot of pain and misery because of a nasty custody battle with her exhusband and she finally checked into a hotel room and shot herself in the head. Of course there was nothing that I could have done because we weren't talking at the time and were about 5 states away but it did leave an empty hole in my heart that has never recovered. I always have felt sad for the person that she used to be and for the sad person that she became. I hope that you can get through this time as difficult as it is. I will definitely say a prayer for you. Take care, Cheers.

    • Paradise7 profile image


      10 years ago from Upstate New York

      Jen, I'm so sorry for your loss. I think, I really do think, it was accidental. So many people that suffer from bipolar with depression have meds and aren't really all that good about monitoring how many they've taken. They get confused on that, and will sometimes try to take "make-up" meds for the meds they thought they missed, and end up overdosing. It happens especially when the person is about to go to sleep and can't remember if they took the right meds at the right time, or not. They might be having trouble sleeping, and then think, "Oh, I must not have taken my meds", and then take a second, or even third dose, thinking to make up for the meds they missed and get some sleep.

    • Jen's Solitude profile imageAUTHOR

      Jen's Solitude 

      10 years ago from Delaware

      Cindy and Amy, I love you both! Thank you for your words of wisdom and guidance on this especially hard day.

      I am going to keep reading the comments and what I've written as well, a little trick I learned from you Amy. It really does help, more than I realized.

      I haven't been able to call and find out the arrangements yet, maybe I'll tackle that tomorrow. I think for now I'm just going to send some flowers that I know would have made her smile, and I'll wait for this lousy day to finally be over.

      Thanks again everyone!

    • profile image

      Amy Gurowitz 

      10 years ago

      This unimaginable happening ... this shocking loss, I'm reminded of the similar question marks that sat on the table of my brother-in-law's family as they tried to find sense in his sister's similar death. You eloquently convey this futile speculation that is haunting, and hard to put away. Because when the dust settles, you are dealing with the loss of your very dear friend. Of course in that I relate to you directly. And while the specifics are different on all levels, the endgame is the same. We don't have our dear friends in the living world. And in that I sit next to you Dar. For that comfortable understanding that only certain people can share. Cemented in a hug.

      xo Amy

    • Inner Harmony profile image

      Cindy Weyant 

      10 years ago from Costa Mesa, California

      Oh my dear dear friend. My stomach actually tightened into a knot as I read your post. I can't say that I I know just what you are feeling because this particular/exact situation has not occurred in my life. But I feel the pain and sorrow that you are expressing, and I can relate to that very much.

      First, I am very sorry to hear of your loss. I know the news was shocking - the blunt shock is written all over this piece. I'm very glad that you expressed yourself in written words and shared this with us instead of holding it inside and letting it fester. I sense confusion and some anger coming from you, buried within.

      I wouldn't think about whether your friend lost her life intentionally or accidentally. She is gone, and I hope that you are able to focus on what you loved about her in LIFE, and not focus on just her death. Easier said than done, right? I do know that everyone needs to grieve differently. Please know that you are absolutely in NO WAY responsible for her death, accidental or not. If she made the choice to die, then we know she was not herself - she was probably suffering from great depression. And often times those who suffer don't always share their pain. So you really had no way of knowing what was going on in her stream of conscienciouness.

      You are brave and wonderful to write about it and share this with all of us. Thank you! It is something that most of us have to face at some point. I hope that you can remember the precious moments you shared with your friend, and know that it is out of your hands now.

      Thank you for writing about this topic. I know it must be difficult and my prayers are with you.

      Love, Cindy

    • Jen's Solitude profile imageAUTHOR

      Jen's Solitude 

      10 years ago from Delaware

      Duchess, Lecie, Laura, and Tammy! Thank you all so much for taking the time to leave me encouraging and thought-provoking comments. I have each very carefully and you have all helped me in one way or the other with your comments. Laura, as soon as I am able I would like to write you, thank you so much for offering to be a listening ear.

    • profile image

      Tammy Lochmann 

      10 years ago

      Jenn...You have made a wonderful start in your own healing and coping...Reaching out and writing down your feelings is very healthy...Take care of yourself during this time and let your emotions do what they should take it one moment at a time. (((hugs))) Tammy

    • Laura Thykeson profile image

      Laura Thykeson 

      10 years ago from Central Texas

      Dear Jen:

      I have been on both sides of this subject. You can't prevent or provoke a situation like this, it just happens. So don't blame yourself, blame the disease. Even with the best of medications, we still will cycle up and down. I am bipolar and have been suicidal more than once, and can only say God was with me and saved me for some reason, whether I can see it or not...Whatever you do, don't blame yourself. You sound so much like a special friend of mine, she has watched over me for the last 15 years-through deep depression and outpouring of joy. She calls me when I go into seclusion and makes me laugh-we have a special bond and I can tell her anything.

      I have the feeling you were the same type of friend and by doing that, you were one of the few lights in a world where the lights flicker all the time. Don't blame yourself or anyone-blame the disease. It changes in the bat of an eyelash, and moods can be supremely unpredictable. Try to be easy on yourself and her-she was doing the best she could in a world that was terribly unforgiving for her, and you sound as though you were her closest friend. Try to forgive her for leaving you behind, even if you can't really understand it. Sometimes the pain is just too much to bear any longer. Please email me personally if you wish to talk more...

      Laura T.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      i think it matters to you whether it was suicide or accidental because if it was suicide you would think why didn't i see she was thinking like this and in need of help. you would feel like a failure for not seeing this and not giving the help that could've prevented her early death. if it was an accident then you would know that there wouldn't have been anything you could've done to prevent her death.

      yes, i have been where you are right now. this is why it's so important to keep constant communication with our family and friends. especially if they had talked of suicide in the past. spend a few minutes everyday talking to them and in cases like this you would know, that you did reach out and did all you could. by not reaching out to them everyday you say to yourself, well our last conversation they were fine. two weeks later something so terrible has happened that they've turned to pills and are no longer with us. even if they were ok yesterday, that doesn't mean that something has not happened between then and now to upset them. you must make the call everyday if you want to do your part in preventing suicide. you must call because the person needing help will not. they feel like such a burden and nothing will help them.

      i have been in your shoes and thought to myself i wish i had called everyday. just a few minutes of my time everyday might have made the difference. but i was too selfish or to busy to call more than a couple of times a week. if you don't want to blame yourself for someone elses death, i suggest you spend at least an hour a day calling those you care about. spend about 5 minutes on the phone with them. unless you feel their troubles require more time. also plan one day a week to go and see them if possible. alot can happen to someone in 24hrs. for some it's too much to handle.

    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 

      10 years ago

      Ah JS, I wish I could help you. I'm sorry for your loss and I hope you manage to cope with all the different emotions you are going to go through over this one.

      I just lost a dear friend too, only not suicide. I know the feeling of loss, and grief, but I don't know what to do in this type of situation. I hope you have someone with you who can hold you and offer the comfort of caring!


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