Psychologist Margaret Clausen's article "What Remains: The Aftermath of Patient Suicide" is a remarkable account of a clinician losing a client to suicide -- and I recommend it as a first-person report that communicates vital information on several levels.
As literary memoir, it is a tragic, real-life story told in plain language.
"Are you aware of the events related to Jill?"
"No," my heart now pounded from my chest into my throat.
"Jill killed herself by handgun ..."
I do not remember what he said next, just that he was still talking. I gasped, crying, while simultaneously attempting to hide my upset.
And it shares the wisdom of a host of sage voices, from mental health practitioners to poets:
The great Jungian, James Hillman, stated that the suicide of patients is a "wrenching agony of therapeutic practice." It is also a reality of practice that we fantasize will not touch us, despite the statistics.
As an example of bearing witness to suicide loss, it covers the entire landscape. We learn that Clausen has lost two siblings to suicide, and we are given revealing insights into several of her colleague's very profound experiences with clients' suicides.
Todd had 15 years of clinical experience and ... was well versed in suicide prevention and intervention. After his patient's death, he refused to ever work with a patient again who even mentioned suicidal feeling states ... His stance is maintained to this day, six years later.