37 - The Impact of Syra’s Suicide on the Abiador Family Part 2: An Interview With Her Sisters, Leia and Teya

In today’s podcast I interview Leia and Teya Abiador, whose 18-year-old sister, Syra, died by suicide three years ago. Leia and Teya share their stories and experiences surrounding their sister’s suicide. The sisters describe the night Syra died and how they coped with their grief early on after their sister’s death. They also talk about what it was like for them to return to school and talk with their friends and peers about their sister’s death. They also share how suicide has changed their family, how they honor Syra, and some of the things that have been the most healing in their grief experience.


Key Points:

Teya and Leia share their experiences returning to school after Syra’s death. Their experience highlights how much help our society and culture needs to better support one another when we are grieving. There is so much discomfort in society at large, when it comes to talking about death, and especially suicide. We don’t know what to say or what to ask when someone is grieving. Unfortunately, so many people choose not to say anything at all or keep their distance from someone in the midst of grief. 

Leia and Teya discuss how their family has changed and grown stronger after Syra’s death and how as a family they communicate at a deeper level, show their vulnerabilities, and are present with one another in new ways.

The Abiador family is committed to honoring Syra together as a family unit and in their individual, meaningful ways to stay connected to her and to help with their healing. The family’s volunteer work has been a valuable part of their healing process.

We cannot survive, cope, or begin the lifelong process of healing from the death of a loved one from suicide by ourselves. Families need love, support, and patience with one another during their grief and the individuals within the family system need their own set of resources and guidance to cope. Schools, workplaces, and society at large still struggle with how to best support grievers, especially grief from suicide. To borrow from a well-known phrase, it takes more than a village. After a suicide it is so important to take the time to process the overwhelming feelings and emotions that accompany the death of your loved one. Take care of yourself, express your feelings, and seek out those who can and will understand your pain. There are people and resources who know how to listen and be there if you seek them out.

Suicide impacts the entire family. I am so grateful to the entire Abiador family for allowing their story to be public and their desire to prevent suicide. As September and suicide prevention month draws to a close, our efforts to prevent suicide do not and will not end. Please be familiar with the risk factors associated with suicide and remember that suicide can and does occur even when someone does not appear to have any risk factors or display any signs of distress.

If you or someone you love is feeling suicidal or in need of crisis support - text or call Lifeline 24/7 at 988 to speak with a counselor. You can also visit the American foundation for suicide prevention website afsp.org


If you would like to connect with Leia or Teya, please join our Facebook group, Talking About the Podcast Untethered with Dr. Levin.


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