Life Without My Husband


You’re not alone within your experience and feelings.  And sometimes the best feeling in the world with loss, especially from suicide, is to know that you are not alone.

 

 When your loved one has committed suicide, your entire world changes completely.  The man I love and shared my life with, died through suicide.  Days fly by quicker than you’ve ever known.  They are consumed with nonstop thoughts and visions of your past memories together.  It’s a matter of days on end of grief spasms, trying not to cry too hard, yet realizing you can’t stop.  You keep remembering the way he held you, a million kisses and hugs, his holding your hand while walking or just watching a movie.  Saying I love you and hearing him tell you, “I’d do anything for you.”   

The first day not together after his death, you fight back tears every second and wonder how you can live without him.  You’re numb and feel every emotion all at the same time.  You struggle to walk to your car and drive away from home without him, only to pull over moments later to break down in tears.  Your home is just a house now.  Every day revolves around thinking about him.  You try to stay busy, but the stress doesn’t go away.  It’s a roller coaster ride and life won’t let you get off.

Being alone some days is more comforting than forcing yourself to be in a good mood to have coffee with a friend. Friends struggle to say the right things to help, but they feel helpless as well.  It’s an invisible barrier that separates even family. 
Doing laundry and realizing there are none of his clothes to do, and wishing there was. Trying to figure out something for dinner even if you don’t feel like eating.  Sleeping on the couch because you can’t bear to sleep in your bed when he is not there and it’s just not the same without him next to you. Leaving his slippers and sneakers next to the front door because it comforts you, and because he left them there.

 

Feeling guilty for enjoying a sunny day, a good movie or just a ride in the car.  Avoiding phone calls because you just can’t talk about it again and break down endlessly.  “I’m fine” is never enough, but you can’t make them understand no matter how hard you try. Alienating yourself so you don’t have to fake a smile or conversation. 

Wanting to just scream and yell until you have no voice left, and wiping away those endless tears.  “Snapping out of it” will take a long time.  The word “why” is the first word in everything you think about.  No matter how hard you try, you’re always thinking the worst case scenario.  Wanting to sleep the whole next year because it’s the only time you get a break from worrying.  In reality, sleep is only a couple hours here and there. 

Avoiding your favorite CDs or TV shows that you enjoyed together because you have no one’s hand to hold or arms to lay in.  Wearing his clothes while he is gone and using a shirt with his cologne as a pillowcase to snuggle up to.  Trying to pray double-time, but feeling like a hypocrite because right now you may be angry with God.  Walking around with a lump in your throat and a pit in your stomach. Truly feeling lost, scared and powerless every single day.  You’re just going through the motions of getting up, getting ready and going through your day.  When all is said and done, you’re proud of the woman you are yet you miss the man, your soulmate, whom you love now and forever.  

A remedy for heartache is to lead as happy a life as possible.  Genuine friends understand that I am doing my best to work through your grief and am trying to reinvest in life itself.  If others don’t understand, I don’t worry about them.  Surviving and rebuilding my life is what is truly important.

I’m beginning to think through some activities that can bring some degree of purpose and focus.  Remember to start slowly and move carefully, with friends who are supportive and understanding.  I’m so fortunate to have good friends who understand and are trying to be patient with me.  We meet for lunch occasionally and have a girls’ night out for dinner.  It helps that they support me and show their love in this way.  And I’m hoping to take the first steps in going to the doggie park with my friend and her dog, and maybe take a walk on the beach.  It will be difficult for me as walks on the beach, especially at sunset, was a favorite for my husband and me.   

 

Each day I have to say to myself that I’ve decided to live.  Recognizing that I’m living through a terrible tragedy, yet I still have to survive.  It takes practice, lots of it, to take one moment, one day at a time. 

I had no choice and no control over the suicide but I now have a choice to survive and live through it.  It is by far the hardest task that anyone will ever have to perform but I will survive.

Gifts From My Husband


My darling Martin,

 

Today is August 17, your birthday.  The days leading up to this day have been difficult realizing you’re not here to celebrate.  I keep thinking and wishing you’ll walk through the door and that this tragedy has been merely a bad nightmare.  When I awoke this morning to see your side of the bed empty and that I couldn’t hug and kiss you, I cried endlessly.  It’s so hard without you here by my side. 

I remember all the good things about you – I choose to forgive flaws, though sometimes the anger in me makes me want to yell why have you done this to us.  But in my mind’s eye, I see you with your face in your hands crying and I know how sorry you are to have caused us such pain.  Now I realize you were not intending pain on us, you merely wanted your pain to stop and fell short of realizing other alternatives.

There are many gifts you left with me Martin before leaving this world.  Such wonderful qualities you possessed like romance, a gentle character, kindheartedness, an adventurous spirit, and genuine love.  You told me, “I’d do anything for you” and I knew the sincerity in its meaning.  Although you suffered tragic loss of a first wife to cancer, you still found me.  On your knees, you proposed marriage before sunset at the beach.  I already knew the sincerity of you profound love.  Two years prior, at sunset in front of the Louvre, your arms encircled me and held on tightly and kissed me as in the infamous photograph of the sailor kissing the nurse after the war.  At that moment, we were joined and we both knew it.  You etched our names “Martin loves Joan” atop the Eiffel Tower saying to me that it would be there “forever” …

Your original cards hand painted and with original verse made me so happy.  They’d be  either romantic or humorous and always conceived with love.   You possessed an eye for photography and I cherish the wonderful photographs you’ve left.  There never seems to be enough photos of us together, although there are many.  You also left behind a legacy of creativity and an eye for beauty included in your watercolor paintings.  Several framed watercolors adorn the house we made our home.  Although you’re gone I still feel your presence through those things you’ve left behind. 

Martin, you seemed troubled that your hair had grayed so much when you asked what I thought you should do.  My reply was sincere: you are my handsome and darling husband and gray hair only serves to make you more distinguished.  Besides, you had a full head of hair and I’m certain many men wished they had what you possessed.

All day I’ll be thinking of you, our life together however short-lived, and all our wonderful times together.  This at least will serve to give some comfort amidst the pain.  I hope that family and friends are able to think of the love, laughter and lives we lived with Martin around.  He’d like that. 

I hope that people here find with their loved ones the enjoyment, laughter and love in what you and I felt in our hearts, Martin, for the realities of what life truly means.  My wish is for people to look for these things in the eyes and actions of those close to them.  They will be the blessings I’m sure will be long remembered long after loved ones have left this world.

Martin, you have forever changed my life for good.  Though the time we had was short, it was so meaningful and happy and loving. 

 

I miss you my soulmate.   I love you now and forever.   Happy Birthday sweetheart.

 

Your loving wife.

Joan

Letter to My Husband


 

My darling Martin,

It has been three months since you left me here alone.  A day doesn’t go by that my heart doesn’t cry out for you.  Images of you as you were, when you loved me most, fill my mind.  Longing to be held by you, I am embraced by emptiness instead.  Like a ghost, you haunt my heart and stand just beyond my reach. 

 My dreams are heart-wrenching as you are close yet impossibly far away.  Why won’t you stay with me?  You could stay here with me in this world of dreams.  Praying I ask please don’t wake me from the dreams of you.  If I have to wake to find you have gone, then I relive the feeling of my heart laid bare.

Standing in the wake of your pain after you were gone, I was left feeling utterly abandoned.  I’m trying desperately to remember how to breathe again as the tears stream down my face and my heart cries out for you. 

What few truths I have learned seem not to hold any freedom for me.  Instead I’m left with many unanswered questions aching to be answered and yet dangerous perhaps if asked. 

I know that I am a better person for having known you and shared the time we had.  How I miss you holding my hand as we walked, and those sweetest of eyes as you looked into my soul.  You were such a quiet man and yet so kind and gentle and loving. 

My dreams came true when you loved me.  I waited so long for you to come into my life.  You allowed me into your heart, proposed on bended knees saying you couldn’t imagine life without me.  How happy you made me!  The two of us loved each other, for better or worse … until death do us part.  Little did I know death would come so soon. 

When you took me to London to meet your family and then to Paris, I was overjoyed.  There in front of  The Louvre, I knew you and I truly were in love.  You kissed me that night like never before – the first of many such times.  And when you wrote our names atop the Eiffel Tower saying Martin loves Joan, you told me that it would be there forever.  How I loved you then and now. 

You will forever be loved and never forgotten.  You will always have my heart no matter how long it takes for me to join you. 

Your loving wife,

Joan

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