One Year

Matt was a handsome, intelligent, friendly, quiet, and amazing man. He loved me immensely. I was his other half, we were a team, we were the best of friends. Our relationship started off as colleagues, roommates, and best friends before it grew to be love. I know this is why we were so successful for so long at being together and sharing our lives. We were opposites in almost every way possible. But we shared common morals, family lives, and loves like reading/eating/beer/sports/smoked meats/friends. I cannot fathom that it has been a year since I have tasted Matt’s amazing smoked tenderloin on the grill. How has it has been a year since we have held hands or embraced? How has it been 365 mornings without him on this Earth. How have I survived this intense loss?

I lost my best friend one year ago. Oct 21st 2017 is when I know he passed away. His certificate says Oct 22nd 2017. I have reflected a lot on the loss of my husband over the past year. I have looked at his passing from every angle possible. Trying to understand why, how, when, and what I may have missed. I have gone to therapy and went through EMDR for my post traumatic stress. I have shared his story one on one, on the blog behind an anonymous shield, and in countless support groups for Widows.

One thing that I have not done been is publicly open about the circumstances of his loss. I chose to wait to reveal this publicly for several reasons. One, I was still processing everything myself. Two, Matt was an extremely private man and I was very concerned with revealing what is his biggest secret. Three, I wanted to be sure when I posted this that I was prepared for the people who will ask for my help, ask me tons of questions, find themselves in this story, or find their loved ones in this story. I am telling his story today because Matt loved good people and was always there to help someone in need. This may be the best way Matt could help. Telling Matt’s story will help to erase the stigma, create a safe space for men and woman to discuss mental health, and maybe even save someone else.

This is not something that will be easy to read and I urge you to consider passing by his story if you do not wish to know what happened to Matt or feel that the story may be too upsetting for you. I feel that telling it today is the right thing.

For those that follow the blog this is a reposting of October 23rd 12:30 AM:

It was a normal busy week filled with work, business trips, meetings, etc.
We had just moved into our dream house. He had a new position he was very excited about. My flight was a little delayed and the bags simply would not come. Saturday evening turned into Sunday morning, as I excitedly drove him to see my husband and fur kids waiting for my arrival. The entire day I had tried to reach my husband on the phone sending calls, texts, and pics. He was not the biggest fan of the phone and often left it in the car or did not hear it. Nothing of concern just a normal day for me.

I came into the driveway the house was pitch black with no lights on outside either. I thought this was odd being that I was coming in so late at night/early in the morning. I quickly got my things from the car and unlocked the door announcing happily “Honey, I’m home!”. SILENCE, Dogs barking excitedly outside at this hours… strange… screen porch door propped open… strange. Cell phone on the counter. Next came 30 minutes of blind panic, running through the house yelling his name. As each moment passed the fear became more real, the worry escalated, I was certain someone took him. His keys, car, and wallet were placed in their proper places. I raced inside and outside looking and screaming. PANIC and FEAR

After 30 minutes I entered a very dark attic that I thought to enter at the last moment. What I saw I will not describe to you because I feel like it is a trigger for others with PTSD and Trauma. Suffice it to say my husband had taken his own life. I did not realize at first what I was seeing… my body left me and something grabbed hold of me to propel me forward. I was screaming what are you doing in here this isn’t a funny Halloween joke. And then I touched his hand and I knew. My heart stopped, my life changed, my love was gone.

The rest of the early morning had me giving directions to lost first responders while trying to keep myself from sinking deeper into the floor and the corner that I was now melting into. I answered questions, wrote out a report, and immediately was asked to give them a funeral home. I am 35 alone with no family in the state he was my family. Funeral homes are not something I am aware of. The police needing to take care of business while my entire world had crumbled to the ground was very difficult to understand. Thankfully by then we had woken a dear friend and she came to sit with me and helped.
I just wanted to turn back the time and it not be true. It was not true was it?

Recounting this to you here has me crying very badly but I am no longer paralyzed by fear and panic when I retell the story.

My dear husband took his own life after suffering from an unknown depression. He was in a pain I did not know about for what I now suspect was a very long time. Hindsight is 20/20 and there are things I now see with the knowledge I have picked up over the last year. Through working with a medium to speak with Matt after his passing, reading books, talking with my therapist, and a dear friend who has lived through similar pain; I have an understanding of what he may have been feeling, going through, thinking, or not thinking of. My husband was not selfish, weak, crazy, or abnormal. Matt was anxious, depressed, concerned, in pain, closed off, and tired. I do believe that Matt was doing all he could to self medicate, be ok, cope, and move forward with his life. I do believe that he wanted so very much to live and feel pain-free. I do believe Matt felt that my life would somehow be better without him. I do believe after working with the medium that Matt now realizes that he was so very loved by all who know him, especially his wife. I do believe that Matt has clarity as he has crossed into Heaven and he has awareness of how amazing he truly was, and how much we needed him.

Please if you feel that you or someone you know may be suffering with depression reach out for help.

Matt will live on in our hearts, memories, pictures, and videos. But he will also live on through my crusade to erase the stigma that keeps people with mental illness from seeking help. There is nothing wrong with a man (or woman) crying, asking for support, needing medicine to cope, or requiring therapy.

I hope me sharing the story of Matthew will encourage others to speak with their children, family, friends, about suicide, mental health, and the importance of kindness.

I love you Matt. I miss you. Thank you for watching out for me. I see you in the birds, I hear you in the songs, and I know you are encouraging me to continue forward and be happy. With love, your Wifey.   10-22-17

11.5 Months

I guess I am checking in on myself a bit but also trying to be there for others.

I am just under two weeks away from the one year anniversary of losing my best friend to suicide. It is still inconceivable. There one day and gone the next. On a phone call that morning and then gone that evening.

This week I travel for business for the 3rd week in a row. Next week I am home. The following week is dreaded. I still do not have a plan for what I will do and where I will be.

I have been busying my days with work, adult beverages, online dating apps, and chatting with my close friends over the computer.

As I close in on the year without him. I am trying to put into words how much I miss but it simply is bottled up. I miss his kindness, his presence, how much he loved me, his friendship, him all of him. I cannot dig deeper because when I do I flashback to seeing him. The flashbacks have been much more frequent lately. Trigger words like rope for example send me into tears. I am not avoiding thinking of him but thinking of him brings a lot of pain along with it. It is not easy to explain. When someone you love so much has brought you  both joy and immense horror how do you deal with that?

Reflecting on the person I am today. I am a shifted person. Instead of spending my time rescuing dogs I am instead trying to be there for people. Whether it be support groups, private messages with other widows, writing this blog, or lending an ear to a friend or family member in crisis (depression or otherwise). I am trying to be a better person, listener, support, and friend.

Suicide, depression, and anxiety are extremely important topics for me. I have had several friends talk to me about these topics as they relate to themselves, siblings, friends, etc. My eyes have been opened up to how pervasive depression is. I am grateful to those of you who have come to tell me your stories. To help me to shed light on what my husband may have been feeling. Those people know I will be there to help them if they have a bad day. It is now on my radar, you are on my radar, you matter, and you are loved.

If you are wondering if you may be suffering from depression please contact your doctor and get a therapist referral. Here are some of the signs of depression from Mental Health America. The hyperlink below will open up the website for you. I hope that we will continue to erase the stigma on mental health issues. Talking about it saves lives.

What Are the Symptoms of Clinical Depression?

  • Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood
  • Sleeping too much or too little, middle of the night or early morning waking
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss, or increased appetite and weight gain
  • Loss of pleasure and interest in activities once enjoyed, including sex
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment (such as chronic pain or digestive disorders)
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feeling guilty, hopeless or worthless
  • Thoughts of suicide or death