I’m excited about life

Posted on August 12, 2017. Filed under: grief, Health, Suicide | Tags: , , , , , , |

I have so much to do and accomplish. I’ve done an incredible amount of work this summer on myself, and I think it has been valuable, productive work.

But I felt guilty. Did my husband have to die for me to realize all this potential? Am I using his death to serve me? Is that wrong?

I realized that he taught me incredible lessons about life that I can take forward. He may have completed suicide, but really, that was a single moment in time and doesn’t erase an entire era of living according to his values that I can keep close as I grab ahold of everything that is new again.

These values include:

  • Preserving working class values and addressing income inequality
  • Volunteerism
  • Commitment to education and ongoing learning
  • Questioning authority, finding independent validation
  • Appreciating and protecting nature
  • Doing the right thing, even if it was against rules or guidelines
  • Seeking help when you need it
  • Travel, exploration
  • Voting, active participation in the political process, local organization and engagement
  • Being neighborly, helping each other out
  • Creating and maintaining distance from toxic relationships
  • Honesty
  • Financial planning and financial responsibility
  • Following through, keeping your word
  • Investing in relationships, putting in the time and work necessary
  • Health and fitness
  • Animal rights, loving and valuing and respecting them
  • Sustainability in everyday practice/ life

Despite his death, he lived his values every day. Those who knew him know this is true. I don’t need to feel guilty about moving on and loving my life, if I keep the values close.

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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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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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Oh, am I not grieving correctly for you?

Posted on April 9, 2017. Filed under: grief, Suicide | Tags: , |

Here’s another thing I’ve gotten from various parties: Let it out, honey! It’s natural to cry, come on! It’s OK! Just let it out!

I let it out plenty, just not in front of you, thanks. I’m angry, sad, resentful, regretful, all sorts of things. I talk to my dead husband, tell him to stay away because I’m so pissed off, or allow him to console me when I’m so terribly sad. But I do this in private, because I happen to be a private person.

I even get it from my therapist – on the one hand she says, “I’m not telling you you’re grieving wrong, there’s no right way,” and on the other hand she drops little hints about how “controlled” I am.

Frankly, I find it hard to be sad and grieving on a beautiful Spring day when the sun is out and my child is delighted at butterflies and fragrant flowers. I find it hard to be angry and resentful when people I love are surrounding me and we are enjoying time together.

I personally grieve at night, when I’m alone or with my daughter and feel the loss so much more acutely. I grieve when my daughter tells me what she would like to tell Dada if she could. (“I would tell him I love reading!”)

I don’t like feeling obligated to inform others of my grief journey. I get that people care about me, but they don’t seem to hear me when I tell them what I tell them, or maybe it’s not enough for them? I can’t tell. But people seem to want me to be a certain way, a way that I’m not being.

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