Suicide : What Happens to Those Left Behind
I was married for nearly sixteen years. It wasn't an easy marriage and things were getting worse, so in March 2010 my husband and I agreed to a temporary separation of six months. I packed up a suitcase, a few books, my laptop and camera and moved into a one bedroom apartment a few streets away.
Six weeks later, my husband's work phoned concerned that he hadn't turned up for three days. I went to the house that we used to share and found his body. He had taken his own life. There was no note.
Before and After
At that moment, my life fractured into "before" and "after". Nothing would ever be the same. As every suicide survivor is, I was plagued by the question "why". He wasn't depressed. In fact, he had made positive changes in his life since I had left -- working out, eating healthy, and reading books on life coaching and writing. This almost made it worse.
Of course, I blamed myself. My leaving had to have been the trigger. I had hurt him so deeply and so profoundly that he was unable to live with the pain.
I felt guilty, I felt sad, I felt angry, I felt traumatised by seeing what no wife should have to see and the image of that day is still burned into my memory. The days, weeks and months following were difficult and painful.
There were police interviews, coroners reports, the death certificate, telling his parents and brothers, and clearing out the house where fifteen years of memories were deposited in our photos, decorations, plants, furniture and appliances. I took nothing with me. Those things were part of my old life that died the day he did.
The process of healing has been slow. The stigma around suicide makes it difficult to speak about what happened and this makes mourning even more distressing. More people die in Australia each year by suicide than they do in traffic accidents and yet we never hear about it.
As part of my recovery, I made a seven minute video about my experience. Please take the time to watch it.
For those of you who have thought about ending your life, please think about what it will do to your loved ones left behind. For those of you who have lost someone to suicide, please know that you are not alone. For those of you who shy away from this harrowing subject, please find the courage to think about it and to speak about it. It will save lives and help those left behind to feel supported and comforted.
I am a Suicide Widow and this is my story.
My Other Videos
Other People's Stories
- The Trouble With Suicide and Extreme Emotional Distr...
A suicide crisis is different from suicide risk. Learn to recognize signs of a suicide crisis, suicide risk factors, signs of depression, how to respond to a suicide crisis, and ways to reduce suicide risk. Learn when and how to access a suicide hotl
- A Suicide Survivors Guide for Grieving; Based on Per...
One of the most painful ways to be left behind by a loved one is through suicide. A suicidal death leaves survivors of suicide or suicide survivors (those loved ones left behind)feeling numb and confused...