Much has transpired since that fateful day back on May 4, 2010 when my husband took his own life through suicide. And there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t try to reconcile with myself all of the things I’ve felt, actions I’ve taken, tears I’ve cried and important lessons I’ve learned.
Because people often ask me questions about suicide and depression, I’ve often thought about how to impart helpful information and help folks understand the dilemma facing those of us who are called “survivors” of suicide.
For the first six or seven months after the suicide, I cried. Not just off and on during the days and nights but a steady stream of weeping and wailing as an expression of the grief I was experiencing. Finally I asked Hospice and therapists, “When will I ever get over this?” The answer may surprise you. I was told, “You never get over it. You learn to live through it.”
My life felt hopeless and was spiraling downward as suicidal thoughts took over my thinking. In fact, I even purchased the items in order to go through with it. I wasn’t proud of that but rather just wanted and needed the pain to stop and the darkness to end. I was so fortunate that something inside my usually positive self raised up and I wept (again) but this time with a realization that I could not end my own life when I had yelled out all these months how could my husband do this to those who loved him.
Since I became reclusive, I began to read articles, stories, poems, and my journal aloud. Partly because I was so lonely, and partly so the deafening silence wouldn’t frighten me so much. That’s when it happened – I changed.
Reading my journal helped me to keep time a bit more functional for me and also helped remind me how I was coming along in very tiny baby steps. I read aloud the answer to when I’d get over this. And repeated it aloud and slowly, “You never get over it. You learn to live through it.” I wept unabashed for a long while that day. And I believe fervently that this was the beginning of my reality to live through this.
I needed to find little bits of happiness in my life – daily if I could. And thankfully I believe there is a God and I also believe in angels. Whether they come directly from that place referred to as Heaven, or they are those around us – a friend, neighbor, co-worker or stranger – there are angels among us. And I always remembered to pray at night … not the usual way, for it would make me weep incessantly and I was always so worn out from the tears and raw emotions.
Household duties were difficult at best as were outdoor gardening and pool cleaning. But I began to be thankful that I had such things and not that I couldn’t care for them. I began to realize there would come a day when things would improve. In fact, for my personality, I found it was a necessity.
With time, the tears lessened just a bit. I was able to bring something new into my life. I rescued two female dogs – or they rescued me – and opened my heart little by little. I zealously believe that’s when my life began to change for the better. It was now a year after Martin’s death and I was learning to live through it!
Often I’m asked so many questions because people are eager to learn. It is amazing how many of us know someone, relatives, neighbors, co-workers etc. who have been affected from suicide in some way in their lives. I’m making it something on my bucket list to continue to help educate and spread the correct information on mental illness, depression, and suicide. These people aren’t crazy any more than I was in contemplating such an act. They have an illness and need help – just as anyone would and should seek help for a physical illness.
This is Part 1 of what will become several parts, no doubt. Truths need to be told, not false information given and I know that it takes time – baby steps – to understand and take it all in and learn from it. If ever you have questions, please ask them. I’ll do my best to honestly explain to you what I know from my experience and my research and learning experiences. I do not claim to know it all – never think that. However, I know that to “live through it” we must help one another to understand coping with this disease by gathering the tools you’ll need someday. And if I can help, I’ll be pleased to do so.
Have yourself a great weekend. Please come back to read more of my experiences “living through this.”