Ms. Tara Moser specializes in working with children, adolescents, and families. She has a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Central Florida and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Florida . Ms. Moser also specializes in Play Therapy with children 3 -18 years old, as well as incorporates pet therapy into some of her clinical work utilizing her two dogs Abbey and Bode. She is one of the founding members of the Southwest Florida/Naples Play Therapy Chapter, after serving as an officer on the Central Florida Chapter of the Florida Association of Play Therapy.
Ms. Moser has worked in a variety of therapeutic roles including foster care, non-profit family counseling, non-profit individual counseling, elementary school based counseling programs, adolescent drug prevention/intervention, behavioral therapy with autism, domestic violence counseling, and supervised visitation, in addition to her private practice.
Q. I just lost a loved one to suicide and no one seems to understand the pain. How do I move forward?
There are many people in the world that are scared of the word suicide and do not know how to react to those who have lost loved ones to suicide. Dealing with your grief of loosing your loved one to suicide will be a daily struggle until you come to terms that they no longer are in pain. Unless someone is also a survivor of suicide loss, they may not be able to understand your pain and you could become frustrated at explaining it to them. Some of those people who don’t understand are also very negative and share views that will not help you cope and grieve, but just know there are more people that will support you and be able to assist you when you are ready for it.
Grief is hard enough for many people to handle and work through and then when an unexpected death from suicide arrives, survivors sometimes feel as if they cannot move on. There are many unanswered questions that arise and with time you learn to cope with the idea that you may never have answers. It is normal to feel like life has stopped and there is no forward movement. Keep in mind how hard it is for you to move forward and the importance of forward movement to the other loved ones that are also grieving. Each of you is depending on each other to make it through each of these hard days, until they eventually become easier to get through. This could take a lot of time and should not be rushed.
Q. What did I do wrong to not be able to stop them from taking their life?
One of the first questions asked or feelings felt by survivors are that of self blame and guilt. This can be seen in asking why they didn’t see the signs or didn’t check in on them sooner, the list can go on and on and every age group experiences this part of their grief when a loved one dies from suicide. The truth and realization need to come that you will never have an answer to this, but that the person may not have wanted to have you know they were hurting so bad and did not realize what they would do to those they left behind. Some survivors hear, and at times feel, that their loved one was being selfish, but then understand that the person (at that time) could not figure out another way to cope with their pain. It is important to note that you did not do anything wrong by not preventing this from happening as you did not realize their pain and emotions were so deep. Many suicide victims hide their pain so well that it is not until after the fact that survivors can see some of the signs that may have been present.
Q. What can survivors do after the fact?
Suicide survivors, the loved ones left here on Earth, struggle with what is real and the big question of “Why?”. This is not always answered as most do not leave a note or the note does not express the internal struggle they are experiencing and their need to leave. Finding a support system in counseling, support groups with other survivors, support groups with others who have had a similar loss in relationship (such as bereaved parents group, spouses loss, etc.), griefshare groups, or finding a friend or family member to just listen and not judge are places to start. There are songs such as “Cut” by Plumb and “Last Night” by Skillet, or “No Resolve” by Student Driver Band that are impacting to survivors in understanding what their loved one might have been experiencing before their final decision. For some, drawing or writing is a cathartic release and it is encouraged that you find what works for you. Bringing suicide awareness, education, and prevention efforts to your community may be a way to help with coping. A great example of this can be found in Southwest Florida through C.A.R.E.S. (Community Awareness in Recognizing and Educating on Suicide), www.leecountycares.org.
Remember that the relationship is never gone, just the physical presence of the person and they are no longer hurting. Find a way to remember your loved one and show that you survived and will keep their memory alive!
To find a social worker in your area who can help you with these issues, please click here.