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.
HAPPY

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.
HORROR and LOSS

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?
SHOCK and BARGAINING

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.
EMDR and THERAPY

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.

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression

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

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Grief does not end – A different Ocean can bring you more Waves!

I dipped my toes in the Pacific Ocean. I thought why not try. It was a different ocean than the one I have experienced before. Bright and shiny, outgoing, and FUN. It was bullshit and false, like fake boobs and bronzer based tans.

Did you think Grieving serious loss meant that someone else could not DIE on you? Oh they can! I am now grieving two more deaths from one man!

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Death of a spouse is ranked as the #1 Stressor. I am a 3 days away from 11 months without the man I vowed to spend my life with. I did not get a choice. I tried to continue a life in his absence. The effort and work a person puts in to get up again after unexpected and tramautic loss is nothing you could understand unless you had the unfortunate experience of endouring this hell. I wish this upon no one. Over the last few weeks I sparkled and found “happier” times. They were false, fake, and not meant to be. He would want me to be silent so he can continue preying on his next victim but this is my page and my life. I am taking back the silence, for once not listening when he tells me “be quiet”, “shut up”, “don’t talk”. He is a beautiful wreck of a demon. With eyes and a smile and lies that pull you to him, an ability to chameleon into what you always needed and then slowly remove the things you crave. He preys on woman who have real issues in their life. He will use you for money, food, or whatever other supply he needs. He uses each of his friends too. All of us have a purpose to fuel his ego. He needs serious help he won’t get. I am back everyone in WF and sorry that you had to meet such a fake. I am grieving the loss of my husband, the loss of my first attempt at meeting someone, the loss of the person he appeared to be, but I am not grieving the abusive, manipulative, controlling, false charming person he actually is. (yet me being me I feel sad for his disorder because it is one. I wish someone could help him to change but it is unlikely). I am so thankful I got out in 5 wks. I am sorry for the next girl because there will be one and no one can save her.

I do not need anyone to comment or feel bad. I just want to be honest about what I have encountered so that everyone knows I am ok.

I took back my voice, myself, my spirit. I did not break. If losing my husband did not break me there is no way this guy could. If you find yourself stuck in something similar and need help reach out. On the surface it sounds easy, see it, leave him, move on. But it is way more difficult if you have been inside it.

I do not know the numbers on widows 35 and under in the USA. I do not know for sure the numbers of Narcissists with Narcissitic Personality Disorder in the USA. But I bet you the odds of these two meeting each other and faking a romance is low.

I am all set with being the one to defy the odds. I just want to be “NORMAL”!

To learn more about Narcissism if you should need to for some reason. This is written by one. It will scare you and blow your mind. For me it helped me see that every aspect of us was tied into his NPD. He may even be a Sociopath.

https://narcsite.com

Wikipedia Defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder as:

“Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder in which there is a long-term pattern of abnormal behavior characterized by exaggerated feelings of self-importance, an excessive need for admiration, and a lack of understanding of others’ feelings.[2][3] People affected by it often spend a lot of time thinking about achieving power or success, or about their appearance. They often take advantage of the people around them. The behavior typically begins by early adulthood, and occurs across a variety of situations.[3]”

“August and Everything After”

The title just came to me because of course listening to Music has been such an important part of my life re-entry.

I think I am starting to feel like there was truly  “August and Everything After” just like the Counting Crows named their album. August marks month 10 without my husband. In almost all respects I am further along than I expected myself to be. Things are not easy all the time of course but life is being lived.

  • Met a Great Guy in month 10 and we are dating and taking it slow. We do not do the heavy stuff yet. It is ok with me most of the time. I hope someday we will share more about each other but for now we are enjoying time together.
  • Continued on my path of not giving a FUCK about rules/the order of things.
    • Invited said Guy out to a house party on the day we met each other online asking if he wanted to break all the rules!
  • Purchased a new Jeep Wrangler Unlimited in month 10.
  • Took control of my health in month 10. Determining that I may once and blue moon need something to calm me down and allow me to focus.
  • Got caught up at work after weeks of beating myself up over being foggy.
  • Prioritization began that I was planning to do after month 12….
    • leaving behind a volunteer position that meant the world to meant the world to me at one time.
  • Stopped being a doormat to the people in the volunteer group who did not respect me enough to treat me well.
  • Broke away from my theory that living could only begin truly after the first year.
  • Stayed out having the best time until 4am. Smoked Hookah for the first time!
  • Put down my phone/laptop/to truly enjoy the moments.
  • Grieved on the 10 month mark by shedding a few tears and talking to my brothers.
  • Just like the medium said I would I began to put even more things of his away.
  • Stopped wearing my engagement ring on the right hand and put it away for good.
  • BE HERE NOW. LIVE EVERY MOMENT

There is no particular order of these things. I am sure a few of these things weave into one another. Life was meant to be lived. Driving the Jeep brings a smile to my face. Looking into his blue eyes even though I do not know what we will mean to each other makes me giggle. Letting go of things that no longer serve me makes me lighter. Happiness is sneaking in where all there had been was sadness, guilt, blame, shame, and loss. I am trying hard to make sure that I recognize the progress, know it is coming from me and me alone. Yes meeting a great guy is wonderful and fantastic but I do have to give myself credit for my progress apart from him. I am ready to date him because of this progress.

 

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9 months… trying to live

So I have not been writing as much. I got myself out of whack. Sometimes when I write I have to tell the story I am ready to share or the circumstance I am prepared to explain. I have been doing far better than I would have thought I could be at 9 months. I miss him but I do not really want to talk about it or think on it at this moment.

The fact is I have been alone, lonely, untouched, and feeling unloved for longer than 9 months. I know that he loved me intellectually but he just could not show it. It has to be years of this.

I am tired of this loneliness this constant feeling of empty. I feel like I want to claw my way out but I have nothing to cling to. I am trying to meet people, to do new things, to attempt to find someone who can look at me the way I should be looked at. It is so hard. It feels bad to be out there searching. I thought I had done the leg work many years ago.

The even harder part is how far out of practice I am. 12 years ago it was a different ballgame. Things like online dating, emoticons, acronyms, are Greek to me. Signs of flirting must have changed. Apparently flirting just does not mean anything now? I thought blushing when you see someone signified interest in them but that may not be the 2017 version of dating. I thought that when someone asks if they should call you it means they want to actually get your digits and call you. I will not even speak the emotionally unbalanced 34 yr old I found on OK Cupid who basically implied I should change and be more needy (amongst other crazy things he said over 5 days).

I hoped that me being 36 would still allow me to date people in my 30’s but the fact is the guys who are interested are 40+. The guys that flirt and seem interested do not really want me, it appears! It seems to me that the ones I do not like are all about trying to get to know me.

My late husband says I will find someone who can open up to me and I will be happier (through the medium) but the fact is I do not know how I will even pickup and continue looking.

At 9 months I am lost and unsure but I am trying. I wish I had a rock to grab onto. I would not let myself anyways though would I?

I have to come to terms with the fact that my independence is needed to stay alive as a grief wave rider. And guys cannot handle the lack of NEED. 

I am not even sure if I am articulating this correctly. This quote says it all. I hope the weirdo calls…

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Support Systems: Mediums

When my husband passed away I did not have a note. I did not have a warning. I did not have any preparation that he was going to do this. I had shock. After all the planning that I did for the services and my time off from work. I still had nothing but questions remaining .

WHY? WHY? WHY? and What did I miss that killed him? How could I have stopped this?

A few of my long time friends suggested that I go see a medium. I had never done it. I did not want to made a fool of or taken advantage of. I just was not sure. Looming over me were the questions.

On April 19th after months of waiting (this person books 4-5 months out easily). I went to see this highly recommended medium (who does Reiki and psychic work too).

I just want to cut the suspense for you so that you can freely join the ride and hear the importance…. this was the BEST DECISION I MADE. This was a TURNING POINT in my grief journey. I am beyond thankful I went.

That said do your research on who you go to there are people who are not so honest in this industry as with any.

April 19th a Tuesday:

I went into her office and laid down on the massage table. She looked into my chakras and energy and found everything to be closed off. Normal for what I had gone through. She immediately noted I had been around significant amounts of loss. I said nothing.

The medium mentioned that two spirits had interest in coming through. She said one is male and one is female. The male is younger. I said nothing. *Secretly hoping she picked the younger male. She did. Immediately her head began to hurt badly and she right away asked did this person shoot himself and then as I shook my head no her throat constricted to the point where she could barely breathe. She knew. I knew. He died by hanging. Nothing needed saying. He showed her where he did it and quickly asked her to leave the house with him as he preferred to be in nature and outside. She described the view he showed her and it was our land creek and all.

When it came down to it there were many important things mentioned. I had questions but held them to the end or did not ask at all because I wanted this to be pure. I was worried to tip the answers. I was hot as can be while he was there and I felt a heavy presence around me like the air had changed.

He showed her a kaleidoscope of dark images. The inside of his mind and the dark thoughts that had been plaguing him. She mentioned this had gone on so long.

He expressed his love for me and apologized several times. He immediately wanted me to understand that it was not my fault at all. That this was his own view of things, it was in his head. He wanted her to tell me “it was his shit it was all my shit” and “his head was fucked up”. I remember her struggling to swear as she does not like to and his persistence to get me to understand with those words. He said I could not have done anything to save him. He did not have the words to tell me what was wrong. I could not have asked one extra question. Even if he had the words he was ashamed and would not have asked for help.

He thanked me for showing him love (which was similar to our wedding vows he wrote so that really stuck out).

When I did ask later why did you get so angry with me he showed her that he wanted me to turn my back on him for a long time so that when he left this would not hurt so much. He showed that I never did turn my back on him.

Besides some of the things that were poignant surrounding the suicide he provided clarifying small things that showed us married (symbol of two rings entwined) an image of someone with his same name that happened to be the medium’s son so that she could qualify to me who he was. He even made sure he mentioned things that I said out loud to other people (like when I was in the car with a friend telling me about where his parents have homes he showed those states to the medium).

Then he went into different areas of my life.

  • He asked me to watch out for one of our friends and I have since severed ties with him.
  • He mentioned he was glad that family had his things (especially the one with the watch he showed the image of the band). That was someone he was very close to. He showed my large family as warmth and that we kept him alive longer than he would have been.
  • He mentioned work would continue to open doors for me.
  • He was happy to have the chance to get some of this out. He was happy I came.
  • He expressed that he could not show me love and affection properly because he did not know how to and had not seen it growing up.
  • He expressed that I would find love again and he would make sure they were not a “scumbag” (which is what I used to call all the people I dated before him except for one guy).
  • He said I may have a daughter someday maybe.
  • He mentioned dates that would be important or turning points (september in NY)
  • He told me to live, dance , and be happy
  • He would see me in the birds and nature and he will be watching out for me. (He told me he comes a lot but I do not pay attention).

The way I understand it is that they “speak” in symbols, images, and show the story to the medium. She is there to interpret them for us. It is an amazing experience. Go in skeptical but open.

I went back to this same medium in June on the 22nd because she had an opening and I happened to be home. My husband came through but also said he wanted this time to be for me so that I can work on the other things like Energy, Chakras, and my future.

Year to Date I have seen 2 mediums 4 times. There is a lot of the same things and consistency in the messages. The first reading is the one I have highlight because it was the most comprehensive and the one that helped me move forward the most. I also saw the other medium I believe in May and then again on the 21st of July along with a lot of work on my energy.

  • Both mentioned it was his issues only not anything with me
  • Both mentioned finding love again
  • Both mentioned the possibility of a daughter
  • Both expressed that my husband was in severe and intense pain on this Earth
  • Both let me know he is in heaven and doing well and living in nature

I am withholding some information on here because it speaks to my future and affects others so I will not share that.

The day after the first reading I flew home and looked outside and the Cardinal was there for the first time watching out for me. He came again at the 6 month anniversary of his passing. Another time the day of the tattoo. He comes now and again to see and check on me but I know sometimes I am not paying attention.

 

Special Announcement- Now active on Facebook- Grief Waves Young Widow Warriors Suicide Survivors Support Group

Grief Waves has decided to start an online support group called Grief Waves Young Widow Warriors Suicide Support. If this is you please join us!

This group was created as a safe place for Young Widow Warriors who have lost their spouse/significant other to suicide. Loss of a spouse at any age is hard, but adding the layers of unexpectedness and suicide is nearly unbearable. There are many grief support groups out there for Widows but not many deal with the younger adult and suicide as well. This is targeted so that we can get the help and support we need from each other. The group was created to discuss grief, loss, suicide, love, Widow Life, how to cope, therapy, EMDR, life Re-entry, resiliency, acceptance, and how to live and flourish after this loss. Welcome to this safe, kind, and accepting place we can ride the waves of grief together and hold each other up like pieces of driftwood.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/GriefWavesYoungWidowWarriorsSuicideSupport/

 

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My Support System: My Dogs

My dogs love their dad more than words. Especially the older male. He was his buddy and his partner in crime. He respected my husband immensely. He does not lick and kiss anyone, ONLY my husband.

My little lady she grew to love her daddy so much she would roll on her back and let him pet her belly for hours! She would give kisses on his face and beg for his pats.

When he wanted a nap in the bedroom both doggies would saunter.

Before he passed away he let them outside to enjoy the evening and not be stuck in our home without bathroom. That evening when I came home I noticed they were outside late at night which was a red flag. He wanted them to be cared for. I took the old man to say goodbye to his daddy that night. I think he understood daddy was gone.

Our dogs meant so much to us. And they are my family now. They allow me to cry buckets into their fur, they listen when I SCREAM loudly about the unfairness of my life.

My dogs took months to adjust to living without their dad. They had to learn several homes, routines, and states. Their bellies were confused. They would patrol the yard at all hours learning the area. They would guard the door from any male who came close to me.

Thank you to my support to my babies to my hearts. Thank you B and C for letting me yell and cry buckets into your fur. You are my reason for getting up every day when I thought  I could not do this. You are my family and I will never let you down. I will wake up at 1 am when your bellies hurt and 7am when your bladder needs it and 11pm when you need a moment to check the perimeter of our home. I will be your mom, your friend, your companion. I will not leave you behind while I grieve. We grieve together. You may not be labeled as emotional support dogs but you truly are my Emotional Support. I love you both.

You are my world and I wake every day to enjoy my day with you both.

It would be 5 years

To my husband on this day:

Thank you for the time we had together. Today would have marked 5 years of marriage but it was not to be. We spent almost 12 years together and I am so appreciative of our time with one another. Our lives were cut short. I know you are safe and in heaven. Please keep sending me your good thoughts and watch over me. I need your guidance to help me navigate this new life. I was a lucky girl because you chose me and made me a better person.  

Who would have thought that death would hit us at such a young age. I miss you and our dreams. Please help me find strength to continue on. Thank you for visiting me I see you in the cardinal that comes by. I love you very much even though I struggle to know how to tell you now. I find that too much of your memory suffocates me right now. I am not willing to break down at every turn anymore. I stopped all that in April. Thank you for granting me answers and coming through twice with the medium. I know you want me to have answers and closure. (And I hope you’re right about that one thing but I don’t think you are I wish you would be, thank you for trying).

May you rest easy and be pain-free. May you fully know how loved you were on this Earth not just by me but by everyone lucky enough to meet you.

I could list all the things I love most about our life together and you but I just do not have it in me to do so yet. Instead I will leave this here.

No one’s ever loved anyone as much as I love you.

― Stephenie Meyer, Breaking Dawn

Our vows until death do us part….

  • His vows to Me:
    I am so blessed to have met such a beautiful and intelligent woman.
    You have a heart of gold and it is amazing how much you give of yourself to friends and family. Because of you, I finally understand what it means to love someone with all of my heart. I can’t wait to start our lives together as husband and wife.
    I, take you, for my lawful wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part.

 

  • My vows to Him:
    It’s an extraordinary thing to meet someone who you can bare your soul to and accept you for what you are. I’ve been waiting, for what seems like a very long time, to get beyond what I am. Today, I marry my best friend, and the person I look forward to spending my time with most. I promise to support your dreams and walk beside you, giving courage and strength. I hereby pledge my faithfulness. I love you. I, take you, for my lawful husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part.

 

This is the last of the “big firsts” except for the anniversary of his passing I’m still standing somehow….

 

My support systems in grief: Friends & Family

I found a few things to cling to that helped me get by. And believe me some days I am barely getting by. I was hoping I could explore each of these in separate blog posts (some I have previously like EMDR and some to come soon).

  • Friends and Family (a very small circle that grows smaller still)
  • My Dogs
  • Yoga
  • The words of my husband during two medium readings
  • Work
  • Resources mentioned previously like Therapy, EMDR
  • Grief podcasts/books/blogs/articles
  • Music and the creative mind

I guess when I thought in the past of support systems. I thought automatically of PEOPLE. I was surprised to see that when I was preparing this post that this was only one part of my support system. People have their own lives, feelings, grief from my husbands loss (in some cases), needs, thoughts, etc. Not everyone should or can be there for you when you need them. And people are so dynamic that you as the Widow often do not know who to even let in and when and under what circumstances.

I was on the phone w my friend we will call her S. I was telling her the latest and greatest (sarcasm inserted here) in the life of the Grief Waves Widow (aka me). I mentioned something to her about support systems, knowing who to go to when and for what and how exhausting even that navigation is. I mentioned how I would love people to come to me with their issues. I have one friend who seems to and I so appreciate the normalcy of that reciprocation of problems shared. For some reason people think Widows have lost all their faculties when they lose their spouse. I hate being babied, talked down to, placated, and overlooked. I see this happening in my volunteer work where I do not even get asked things anymore because of what happened. Anyways… S reminded me that while I was complaining about how someone does not come to me for help and I would like them to versus a one-sided friendship. I really want this person to share themselves with me too because then I feel we are there for one another. She said well “aren’t you the pot calling the kettle black”. She said that even in grief I still struggle to go to people for help and support. And as much as I wanted to say that it was not  true it is. I am most comfortable helping others. I am very uncomfortable seeking advice and getting help for myself. And as time is marching on I am getting more and more quiet.

So far my biggest need for support from people has been in two areas. First, listening/being present with me when I am sad, confused, lonely, or broken about the loss of my spouse, life.  Second, helping me care for my animals when I take a couple of days to unwind at my parents house or when I have to travel for work which is often.

The share need to rely on other people makes me uncomfortable. I am usually considered by people to be very independent. This is the first time in my life I have had to admit that I need help. I hate this. I hate that my independence and strength has turned into insecure, unsure, and worse neediness.

When my husband was alive I took care of all the finances, made the big decisions, handled the household, the gift giving, the doctor’s appointments, the dinner plans, the date nights, hiring services for the home, the home building process, the home selling process, the cars, etc. He did not like to do any of this. I think we know why now if your following the blog, depression along with the fact that he was taught growing up that no matter what opinion you have it is probable that you are going to be wrong and jumped on. He stopped giving opinions and making decisions long before me because I believe he saw that this was not well received in childhood. He made mention of this to me several times in his life. I on the other hand was looking instead for a companion to share these tasks and this life with. It was a little overwhelming sometimes to do all that but I did it to make him happy, and because I knew decision-making, phone calls, handling things created anxiety for him. Someone may say well at least you were prepared to live alone, while that is true I am more prepared than someone who does not know where the coupon drawer and tax receipts are,  I never wanted this. And while it is true that I have the skill set of home management,  after grief loss you are so tired. There is even more decisions and things to handle than before and now you do not even have someone to talk to about it or bounce ideas to.

The scary truth about relying on people

  • They too are in grief over your same loss (in some instances)
  • They have never walked in your shoes (and do not know how to handle this)
  • They have walked in exactly your shoes (or so close to it) in their own grief loss you do no want to bother them and make them relive it
  • They have a life outside of you and you are afraid to call on them and take them from their families and spouses and children.
  • People give opinions which is good and bad depending on what you need and who they are
  • People want to fix things they cannot, answer for things they do not understand, apologize for things that are not remotely their fault, take pain away that they did not cause and this is all because they are being so good to you. They hate seeing you hurting. The fact is no person can really help you grieve can they?
  • Sometimes you let the wrong person in. If someone in your support system feels wrong, is there for the glory of saving you, wants to find empathy from your spouses loss (and yes this happens), or is there to keep you down…. identify them and let them go. I cannot tell you how quick you will see through this in your new no bullshit attitude. There are people who love to kick you while you are down. Do not become their doormat. Cut them loose fast.
  • Ah and my favorite pitfall… when you find a person you feel you want to go to the most, allows you to live again, allows you to feel like maybe you are a person again. They care about your well-being seemingly and you start to care back. Someone who was really just being a friend to you, but at some point you thought maybe just maybe it could be more. A small piece of your heart breaks away because of course silly they were just being your friend. If this person was only placed in my life to wake me out of the cold despair of what felt like another life ready to be over. Then that person has done something remarkable, making me smile and laugh when I didn’t think I could again. I am fragile, I am aware, I am here. I hear you. I respect your feelings. I do not like them but I think I understand them.

The positive side of relying on the RIGHT PEOPLE:

  • They only want what is best for you
  • They are rooting for your success
  • They are contacting you because they want to be helpful so continue to let them in
  • They truly hope that from tragedy you will find resiliency and love again
  • They know you were dealt a raw deal becoming a young widow and that you are shocked (in many cases they are too)
  • They may say things wrong sometimes but they are trying
  • People who walked in your shoes do get pained by reliving their grief loss story but they are willing to walk with you because they know what you need (selfless)
  • You have a small thread of hope (really tiny almost imperceptible because you were told no) that maybe by some chance that friend could see you as something over time. And this small thread means you have considered living, maybe even using your heart that you thought was black, and possibly finding love again. Hopes, desires, dreams are not completely lost after-all. A few months ago you thought it all died with your husband.

Thank you to my brothers, parents, and close friends (old and new) because even with all that said about the potential pitfalls above the fact is PEOPLE are very critically important to the grief process.  I am forever grateful. I am humbled by those of you who act as my driftwood keeping me afloat in the waves of grief. Some of the inner circle are those I would have expected to be there in tragedy and some are those I never would in a million years think would be there.  To each of you I will be here for you always and hope that you know that. Please start coming to me with things because I do not like being the Grief Waves Widow that no one brings their issues, happiness, and life to.

I will try to learn to ask for help without feeling weak or needy if you will try to let me help you too.

8 Months

Today it has been 8 months since my husband passed away. It feels like he has been gone even longer somehow. I forget so many of our good times and things about him already. The trauma has made it nearly impossible to remember. I was looking at photos and some video too. Hearing his voice and seeing him very happy is so jolting for me compared to the image of finding him. It is almost too painful to bare and I close the album for another day. I am home at my parents this week. I took several much-needed days off to try to relax and refuel. My happiness is seeing my family and old friends. I am quieter, more reserved, more reflective. I am probably not as much fun as I was but this is me at 8 months.

I feel like I have not been blogging about the suicide aspect as much as I should be. Suicide is getting a lot of attention these days in light of the show 13 Reasons Why. I am not one to watch the show. It is too much for me. However, I see both sides of the argument here. Some feel it glorifies suicide. Some feel it brings the issue of mental health, depression, and suicide out from behind the dark curtains of stigma and shame. I do think however it has brought the topic into many more people’s homes regardless of the show.

I see more people getting semi colon tattoos. Sharing their pain, stories, feelings about mental health. Maybe I see more because I have been through the tragedy of losing my husband this way. Maybe it is the positive side of social media, the connection we feel to our friends when we post our every thought and feeling. I think it is amazingly strong that people talk about their lives with honesty, share their good and bad moments, and provide us a window into their lives. Especially when the topic is depression, anxiety, mental health, medicine they take, suicidal thoughts, etc. For every person who opens up I believe we erase stigma more and more. I believe we have a chance at helping someone else who needs to be heard.

This is a great article and story about Oxford High Students and their approach to showing 13 Reasons Why NOT. Very impressive. I hope more schools will do this.

http://www.theoaklandpress.com/general-news/20170504/oxford-high-school-students-begin-project-called-13-reasons-why-not

As I sit here at the 8 month mark I still have not decided what my role could or would be in terms of suicide prevention. I want to help people by sharing his story. When I look backwards with the knowledge of his death by suicide I can now see things that went on for years and some things that went on the days or weeks before. Maybe this can be my contribution. Maybe something I put here will make you consider if your family member is suffering from depression, suicidal or dark thoughts. Maybe they will get the help they need. It is very hard to write them down but I hope they will help someone. I am sure I will continue to edit and add to this list.

  • nap taker which could last hours
  • often complained of headaches
  • insomnia and sleep issues
  • a general look of not listening/disinterest
  • gave away something to a stranger I thought was odd
  • found out after he passed that he bought a large gift for a family member and did not tell me about it
  • pulled away from me and often did not get the phone
  • stopped joining me for activities
  • carried his gun around more than ever
  • seemed to be nervous about things in the world, paranoia?
  • strange statements out of the blue
  • watching dark movies that upset me and would not change them
  • not affectionate or loving toward me
  • out of the blue planned a party of friends to come over the night before I had a huge business trip
  • clutter and stuff started to bother him
  • never made decisions or stated his opinions (learned behavior to survive his childhood he said)
  • anxiety for things like finding new job, interviewing, change
  • took many things personally that others would brush off
  • never able to forget a perceived slight or actual slight
  • a feeling he was not good enough (“you need a husband who goes out more”, “all I am good for and do is get you food”
  • he never let me in fully, he did not tell me things or open up
  • he saw I shared my heart, thoughts, and feelings with him and sometimes he seemed angry at me for being able to
  • an overall dark cloud that turned into a huge impenetrable boulder that slept between us and followed us around
  • finding pills after he passed that I believe was Trazadone (not prescribed to him and not used correctly is my guess) **** See withdrawal symptoms of Trazadone (dark thoughts and suicide)!
  • quick to anger, quick to upset
  • a feeling of walking on egg shells with him constantly
  • often took everything I said wrong and got angry or upset

 

With help suicide is preventable. But like with anything (addiction, mental illness, life) the person needs to want help and be honest about their feelings and suffering. When we are not aware we cannot be supportive. I hope that suicide continues to be talked about. Because as we remove stigma people will fee safer to discuss the topic and feel less shame in communicating their feelings.

A good description of Suicide from the website Project Semicolon

https://projectsemicolon.com

  • People who experience suicidal thoughts and feelings are suffering with tremendous emotional pain. People who have died by suicide typically had overwhelming feelings of hopelessness, despair, and helplessness. Suicide is not about a moral weakness or a character flaw. People considering suicide feel as though their pain will never end and that suicide is the only way to stop the suffering.
  • Many factors and circumstances can contribute to someone’s decision to end his/her life. Factors such as loss, addictions, childhood trauma or other forms of trauma, depression, serious physical illness, and major life changes can make some people feel overwhelmed and unable to cope. It is important to remember that it isn’t necessarily the nature of the loss or stressor that is as important as the individual’s experience of these things feeling unbearable.
  • Suicide is the result of actions taken to deal with intolerable mental anguish and pain, fear or despair that overwhelms an individual’s value for living and hope in life.
  • While there is a well-established link between suicide and depression, each suicide occurs in a unique mix of complex interconnected factors, individual, environmental, biological, psychological, social, cultural, historical, political and spiritual, including psychological trauma (both developmental and intergenerational).