lightning2Suicide.  A taboo word that is left unspoken by most of the world.  For those that have been left behind by a victim of suicide, it leaves a gaping hole, a scar, a wound impenetrable, no closure, no goodbyes, no answers, but many questions.  Where does one start?  How does one heal from the wound that persists in memory forever?

My husband of 10 years, the father to my children, took his life on November 30, 1997.  Today, 18 years ago.  I have to say, it take a enormous amount of effort and diligence to face the fact that is not our fault.  There was shame associated with it.  He was doing crystal meth and I wasn’t super happy in our marriage because he cheated on me 2.5 years earlier.  I was still trying to deal with that.   Bitter and angry, doing my best to not hold that over his head in the marriage.  He after all, was a really good man.

I was a stay-at-home mother for 10 of the 12 we were together.  I had that luxury, he was a great provider.  My life was centered around my family and church.  We just celebrated Thanksgiving with my our kids and my parents. We were getting back on track, or so I thought.  Then, I found his meth with him in the bathroom, as he bathed.  Disbelief.  Are you kidding me? Really?  Yeah.  That seemed like the final straw and I think he knew I was upset as hell.  He disappeared from the house, somewhere nearby.  I was gathernig his things and then told him to go.  He didn’t appear to have taken the vehicle.  Unfortunately, I found him about 5 minutes later that night.  He had used a gun.  It was not a pretty sight.  The trauma alone inflicted a type of trauma you only see in movies.  There is no reference book on how to handle that.  My thoughts immediately went to my kids, aged 14 and 8, who were in bed trying to sleep, but heard us argue in that moment.  Stopping them from going outside to the disgusting terror that was their daddy’s death, at his own hands.  Carrying that burden alone, only seen by my step-dad, who identified him.  There was no note, no goodbyes, no closure.  The kids didn’t understand either.  Our lives changed in an instant, by the selfish act of another.   It’s not like a regular death.  This is what others don’t understand.  All we can do is try for the sake of others.  The loss of a husband, a father, a son, a child to suicide is trauma.  It shouldn’t be treated as any other tragedy.  It’s complex.

It is a day-to-day struggle, even after 18 years.  Especially today, the anniversary date.  What a waste it was of life.  Suicide brings a lot of negative emotions and causes us to have fears aplenty about our own relationships and getting close.  Suicide can cause us to relive the memory and make mistakes that are careless and which we think will bury the hurt inside us.  This is not our drama, it is a result of someone else’s bad decision, that impacts everyone.  On holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, out of town trips we remember, trinkets we shared together around the house, and the list goes on and on.  REMINDERS will exist always.  We simply learn to deal with them, without burying them.

Anger is a result of the emptiness that suicide leaves.  Anger having to tackle life alone without a partner to alleviate the confusion of life.  I am not one to go crying to others and whine about difficulties, ever. I cry out of frustration.  My parent’s taught me to be tough.  Being a middle child who was bullied in school, taught me to be tough.  Strong?  Tough?  It matters only to me.  I come across harsh, aggressive, abrasive, etc.  Do I care, sometimes.  Those that judge me haven’t walked in my shoes, or developed a personality in which they rely SOLELY upon themselves.  Do we have bad days, hell yes.  Do they rule our lives, hell no, or at least we hope they don’t.  There is no point in perpetuating the anguish with bad behaviors and sorrow either.  We MUST move on from pain, to get back to joy.  My faith in God helps me.  I know He has a bigger plan for me, somehow.  Through it all, the depression, the blame, the loss, I am capable of love.  Love is a survival instinct also.  Love is the one preferred.  Suicide takes time to heal from, perhaps a lifetime.  There is no quick fix or a counterpart to fill the void of another human gone forever.  Once you get past the blame inside that it was somehow your fault, you can THRIVE, accept, and forgive them.   Hiding behind the pain serves no one and just brings more pain.  Heal.  Be patient.  Love.  After all, isn’t that what God created us for?