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Suicide : What Happens to Those Left Behind

Updated on August 31, 2014
Ren Magritte. The Lovers. 1928.  Oil on canvas. 54.2 x 73 cm
Ren Magritte. The Lovers. 1928. Oil on canvas. 54.2 x 73 cm

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.

Healing

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.

Suicide Widow

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    • profile image

      Doug 

      4 years ago

      Thank you,,,,,,,iam not alone. E

    • profile image

      Monica 

      7 years ago

      I too am a survivor of suicide. My husband did it in 1995 while I was out with my girlfriend and he was babysitting our son. I was the one that found him and was a total mess not only finding the man I loved and the father of our son and my step kids but how he could have done it while our son was asleep in the house and at that time he was only 3 1/2. And yes no one talks about it and I always had that sneaking suspicion that his mother and brother and sister in law blamed me, and yes you are made to feel like everyone is looking at you...So I hear you all xx

    • KatieP ThinEnough profile imageAUTHOR

      Katie Paul 

      7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      It's both heartening and sad to know I am not the only one.

    • FleaNZ profile image

      FleaNZ 

      7 years ago from New Zealand

      Thank you for sharing your story...the parallels between yours and mine are frightening. Your voice shall be heard!

    • KatieP ThinEnough profile imageAUTHOR

      Katie Paul 

      7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Dee, I am sorry for your loss. Walking alongside painful memories is what we do and time does soften the trauma. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • profile image

      Dee 

      7 years ago

      I too am a survivor. I lost the love of my life and came home to find him. His grown children blamed me, they would say " You must have did or said something to make him want to do that to himself". Nothing could have been further from the truth, we were in Love, deeply and unconditionally. I was devastated to say the least, that his own children,friends co-workers blamed me. It has taken almost two years for me to come to a place where I am not thinking about "The Suicide" 24/7. I probably will never have closure, but I have learned to continue on and walk along-side the painful memories of that time. I would encourage others who are going through this to get help anyway they can. And "Talk about it" with those who are safe to talk to about this oh so sensitive subject. It does get better, but I will never forget.

    • KatieP ThinEnough profile imageAUTHOR

      Katie Paul 

      7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thank you.

    • profile image

      misspixielix 

      7 years ago

      Your story is a sad one, and as you say, you are not alone.

      I applaude you for trying to get the message out there on this touchy subject.

      We never know what is going on iniside the head of those we know and love.

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