Grieving a Suicide:
A Loved One's Search for Comfort, Answers, and Hope
Albert Y. Hsu
InterVarsity, 180 pages, $12

Each year, more than 32,000 people commit suicide in the United States, and a million or more do so worldwide. Since each of them leaves behind between six and ten close "survivors," suicide directly traumatizes millions of spouses, children, and parents each year.

Al Hsu, an editor at InterVarsity, knows suicide as more than a statistic. His father committed suicide after a stroke and a battle with clinical depression. Without ever becoming sentimental, Hsu gracefully weaves his survivor experience into the text, and the result is a book grounded in both reality and Christian hope.

Hsu explores the violent emotions that survivors experience (from shock to letting go), weighs the questions that demand an answer (such as "Is suicide the unforgivable sin?"), and offers guidance for life afterward, including a wise chapter on "The Spirituality of Grief" ("Our suffering brings us into communion with Jesus," Hsu argues).

Hsu found that immediately after his father's suicide, most things he read and heard didn't make sense; they seemed too trite. "Now that time has passed," he says, "things make a little more sense." That should also be the case for any survivor who dips into this little volume.

Cindy Crosby is a frequent contributor to Publishers Weekly.

Related Elsewhere

Grieving a Suicide is available at

Previous Christianity Today articles on suicide include:

Suicide—A Preventable Tragedy? | A ministry helps churches handle the complex issue (June 6, 2000)
Is Suicide Unforgivable? | What is the biblical hope and comfort we can offer a suicide victim's family and friends? (June 6, 2000)
Suicide and the Silence of Scripture | Though the church has come to opposing conclusions about the fate of victims, we have a mandate to minister to those left behind (March 20, 1987)

Biblical views on suicide can also be found at ChristianAnswers.Net and the Christian Medical & Dental Society.

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