What I have learned

Posted on April 26, 2017. Filed under: grief, Marriage, Suicide | Tags: , |

I learned that love actually doesn’t conquer all the way I believed. I thought my love could save my husband from his bipolar disorder. It feels foolish when I actually type it out, but whatever, it’s what I believed.

I learned that trusting my instincts and listening to my inner voice doesn’t lead to happily ever after. I wouldn’t do it differently – there’s a satisfaction and a peace that comes with making life choices that way, and that doesn’t go away. I just know now that doing so means I’m on path to learn lessons, not to achieve some culmination of happiness or an ideal. I guess life doesn’t work that way.

I’ve learned that I still held onto very childish, overly simplistic ideals of life. I’m still an optimist. I still believe we have incredible power over our destinies. I just no longer believe it plays out exactly the way we want or hope.

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Grief makes me feel ugly

Posted on April 24, 2017. Filed under: grief, Marriage, Suicide | Tags: , |

An unusual thing I’ve experienced is that my self esteem has taken a serious hit after my husband took his life. I didn’t expect this. I don’t even know what it stems from, or why I would even feel this way. 

But in her book, Second Firsts, Christina Rasmussen describes this exact concept. 

The voice of grief is rather convincing, isn’t it? It tells you you’re “too old,” “not good enough,” or “not worthy enough” for another chance at life, that starting over is impossible. This voice in your head is the first thing you hear in the morning and the last thing you hear at night. It drives with you to work. It stays with you at lunch. Its message is so consistent that, because of its repetitive power, you may be inclined to believe it. But, as persuasive as the voice of grief is, everything it says is a lie. It’s all a pack of lies. Do you want the truth? If you do, then start listening to life calling to you inside your grief. How? Every time you are yearning to be held and loved, to laugh again, listen to your yearning. Do not listen to your fear . . . Listen to life calling you: “I am here, come on over. Take a chance on me. I am your life, and you’re all that I’ve got.”

I’ve felt inadequate in the most simple and the most fantastic ways since my husband died. When you lose a spouse, someone you met in what felt like the prime of your life, someone who basically agreed to love you whatever happens, and then that person dies – kills themselves, no less, you sort of feel like the gum on the bottom of someone’s boot. Not good. 

The prime of my life feels a long time ago, and I had settled into love, comfort, reliability, consistency, and being intimately familiar with known demons. 

All the demons are suddenly unknown, and I feel woefully unequipped to wield the sword in the dark against the invisible.

Rasmussen claims to have gotten out of this inadequacy. I hope to, as well. 

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I hope there’s no afterlife

Posted on April 22, 2017. Filed under: grief, Suicide | Tags: , , |

My husband had considered suicide a few times over the last 25 years. What always stopped him was thinking, “What if it’s exactly the same after you die?” Might as well stay here and soldier through it. 

I don’t believe in any afterlife at all. No heaven, no hell. I believe our energy is just released back into the universe, essential particles doing something different than they did when they made up us. That the spiritual sides of ourselves follow the equivalent of the physical sides of ourselves after death. This gives me great comfort to believe it’s just a natural cycle for what we know to be our souls. 

But everyone around me is talking about getting signs from beyond and feeling his presence and his soul doing this or doing that. It’s actually somewhat upsetting to me. Because my #1 concern is that if it’s true that our souls are intact after death, he’s struggling and in pain and alone. 

I haven’t felt his presence. I’m glad for that. I really do hope everyone’s “signs” are just coincidences and that my husband just doesn’t exist anymore and that the pain truly is over.

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Where are his friends? 

Posted on April 15, 2017. Filed under: grief, Suicide |

My husband’s friends have been largely MIA since he died exactly a month ago today. No calls, texts, emails, visits beyond the first few days. I feel totally abandoned by them. Am I wrong to expect to hear from them? 

And now friends are not making it to the service. His two closest friends who were in our wedding will be there, but I’m shocked that others have given me all sorts of reasons why they can’t. The only thing I can think of is that guilt is keeping them away. 

But I’m so terribly upset and disappointed. I feel so sad for my husband. He ended his life, and now things are playing out this way after his death? My heart is breaking. 

My 4 year old lost her dad but it seems now she’s lost all her “uncles” and I’m scared and concerned that many of the men in her life just vanished. 

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A note on managing other people’s grief: get your own therapist. I’m not it.

Posted on April 11, 2017. Filed under: Suicide | Tags: , |

Ok I wasn’t prepared for this aspect of my husband’s suicide: I’m finding myself in the position of helping others through THEIR grief. They are grappling with anger, asking why, they are confused… and as his wife, I have more “answers” or perspective than anyone else.

But I *hate* it. I’m constantly having to explain or defend him. I wish people would just be respectful – which means, by the way, express sadness with me, console, give condolences and specific offers of help and support, but keep your opinions, judgments, and questions to yourself. If you’re mad at him, confused, whatever, go work that out elsewhere. I am not your therapist, and I owe you nothing.

In the moment, when faced with these judgments of my late husband, I don’t want others thinking so poorly of him, so I feel compelled to correct their assumptions or give them something to think about when they’re being so judgmental.

“I’m so mad he left you and that baby!” Well, he didn’t just do this on a whim. He fought every day to live. He did this because he truly believed this was the ONLY way out of his pain. He truly believed we were better without him, his trauma and demons. He and I disagree on that point, but that doesn’t mean he believed it any less.

If I have to explain this one more time, the next person is going to get their head ripped off.



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