I was with my other half, I don’t say that lightly, for 25 years. My mother used to say, “When you’re not with him, you’re on the phone with him.” So true. He was my husband David, my lover, friend, business partner, and children’s amazing and passionate father. He was also bi polar. Did I know it when I married him? No. Was it evident throughout the 25 years? Not really in the way you would expect it to be.
In fact it was the opposite. He had great energy, was smart, creative, and giving. He was loving, affectionate, fun spirited and always “there” for our children and me.
Unfortunately in 2007, after a set of terrible circumstances that were, for the most part self generated by bad decisions he had made, combined with the deteriorating economy, he slowly over several months, became a man I no longer knew. He withdrew, became severely depressed and agitated, and then even paranoid and even psychotic. Thus began “our” agonizing journey into mental illness and eventual suicide.
It has been almost five years since his death. I couldn’t even talk about it until two years ago. And when I finally did, I was astounded to find out how many people have experienced losing someone they love to suicide. As time passed, as I attempted to save my own sanity, and struggled to rebuild my family and my life, our home, and my career, I began to realize that people who have lost a loved one to suicide need support and guidance, even just simple understanding.
The guilt, blame, anger and shame of suicide are overwhelming. It is bad enough that you lose someone you needed, loved and counted on to be part of your daily life experience. But to have them deliberately “choose to leave you”? Horrific.
I am writing this article for the survivors. The ones who can’t escape the pain left in their hearts.
At first I was anxious, scared to be alone, worried about my children, their stability, our financial security, my career falling apart, what would people think? How would I live without him? What did I do? What didn’t I do? All of this is normal.