My brother committed suicide...and yes, while he could be a massive jerk, when a loved one takes their own life, there is a certain guilt that haunts you for the rest of your life. She is probably going through a mix of emotions right now. ...thinking if she could have done anything to prevent this from happening? What if she would have stayed with him, would she have been able to prevent this?
...the fact that he took his own life highlights the severely of his problems. When my brother was alive, I would get so angry with him about how he treated other people and his family. He could be a real jerk...but, after he died, I don't know..
...it is sort of like I started to really feel sorry for him. He was in so much pain---an incredible amount of pain--a pain so deep that I don't think I could ever possibly understand.
It has only been a year since his death. My brother died 9 years old June 15th. ...this time of the year still brings back a lot of sadness and a lot of memories. I have found a bit more peace in my brother's decision...but, I still wonder what he would be doing today if he were still alive.
Your girlfriend is probably having similar feelings about her ex at her son's graduation. At her son's graduation, she was probably remembering and reflecting on her son's childhood--and her ex is linked to that childhood...he was a part of it. ..and now he is gone. He will never be a part of another one of his child's milestones again.
About the bench...I remember when my brother's tombstone was finally placed on his gravesite. It was placed on there about 6 months after his funeral. I remember thinking to myself, "Well...this is the last major event in my brother's life. His tombstone has been placed. Nothing momentous will ever happen to him ever again. "
Personally, I think you are thinking of this through sort of a selfish point of view. In time, your girlfriend's thoughts on being buried next to her ex might change---they may not...but they might. She did once have a family with him. It is hard to let go of these things--with time it is easier.
But, it has only been one year. There is no easy fix for this. ...just time. In time, you start to recall the entire history and you gain a greater perspective. The most you can do is support her and make it known that you are there for her. Don't try to fix this by suggesting medication. She needs to do this on her own. It is good that she is talking to a pastor.
In her eyes, there is no way that you can truly understand what she is going through. ...but, you can make her know that you love her. I remember cherishing cards and emails that I would receive on my brother's death anniversary one year later. It meant that my friends remembered still...that they still cared. Just knowing that people care means so much. ...and just knowing that they don't just want to wipe away this memory and "fix" my sadness meant a lot to me.
My mom found a lot of support and help in support groups for suicide survivors. In the support group, you are surrounded by people who have lost a loved one to suicide--in this support group, my mom found people who could truly understand her emotions and what she was going through.
This has got to be such a tough time for your gf. My heart goes out to her. The memories must just leak through into her brain all the time.