When A Friend Dies of Suicide


This week our family was hit hard with some unexpected news: one of Ray’s best friends, Ted Cunningham, killed himself by shooting himself in the chest. He was a young man in his 30’s, in the prime of his life, with a great calling on his life. He was a good man who simply became overwhelmed with life’s troubles.

Yesterday Ray and I went to the funeral home for Ray to serve as mediator among the family members since emotions were running high. Everyone was full of sorrow and was battling the residual guilt of, “What could I have done to stop this?”

Ray and I prayed for God to work mightily in this situation before we went to the funeral home. We were in awe of how God’s Spirit and His love melted the tensions, and there was a spirit of unity and cooperation with one goal: to lay Ted to rest in peace and to honor his life at the memorial service. Ray will be officiating as the preacher for the service on Monday night.

What do you do when a friend or loved one dies of suicide? How do you cope with the overwhelming grief and pain? The only answer is to hang onto Jesus.

The inevitable question which arises in situations like these is, “Why?” Why did he do it? Why didn’t he call before he did it? Why did this happen? Why did God allow this? Why didn’t you know it was going to happen so you could pray to avert it?

There’s no real answer to these hard questions. We simply have to reflect on the good memories and be thankful for the times we had with our friend or loved one. Then we turn to God, and let Him heal and comfort us.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” – Psalm 46:1

Maybe you’re facing a similar situation. I want to encourage you that you’ll get through this. As I shared with Ted’s widow yesterday, “Cry when you need to cry. Talk to people when you need to talk. And hold onto Jesus.”

Allow the grief to do its deep, healing work. Remember, that God is right there with you in your pain. His heart breaks for you. He collects all your tears in His bottle. (Psalm 56:8)

God cares. He loves you. He wants to heal the hurt inside your heart and help you get through this with faith and trust in Him.

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.” – John 11:25

Ted, we really miss you. Your smile lit up an entire room. You made me laugh. You were so alive, so full of life and passion. PS: I am not on that list of people you mentioned to Ray. You and I will definitely talk about that when it’s my time to go to heaven!

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