Sunday, August 4, 2013

3 Year Anniversary

My husband doing what he loved.. climbing the mountains around Utah.

Last week I passed the 3 year sadiversary of my husband’s suicide. I wanted to share some pieces about what I have been thinking about and have learned about grief and myself.
  •  That having self awareness is a must have.
  • Having fear of what the anniversaries will do to me is a good reminder to take care of myself.
  •  Remembering the good times, hurts.
  • Sometimes it’s easier to remember the bad times.
  • 3 years ago, I never thought I would be writing for a widow blog 
  • When I was thrown into widowhood, I never thought I would take my experience, and try to help other widows as they start this journey.
  • I never thought hearing that someone I don’t even know, died from suicide, would shatter me.
  • I never thought that hearing someone had recently become widowed, would send me into “I need to run to this person. Hug this person. Wipe their tears.” Even when it’s a complete stranger.
  • I have learned (Well sometimes I still doubt this) that the suicide of my husband, will not actually kill me. But there will be days that I wish it had killed me.
  • That every year, shortly before the sadiversary, I fall into the anger stage. As much as I hate the anger stage, it’s okay. At least I know now that come the next sadiversary, anger will be there waiting for me.
  • I have learned who my true friends and family are. Friends come and go. I come and go. Some of my friends, were only my friends when my husband was alive and healthy.. but they don’t want to be friends with the – widowed Melinda. Some of my best friends are widows.. and because of my husband’s death, I know them and cherish them. That’s all okay. I need to be surrounded by people that love me and support me, not people that suck the life out of me.
  • That it’s okay to tell someone they are toxic to me, and I don’t want them in my life.
  • 3 years later, I still can’t think of the time the detectives came to my door and told me they found my husband’s body. That memory will always be a huge trigger, that immediately leaves me without any air in my lungs and buckets of tears flowing down my face.
  •  My poor mom was there to hold me the detectives told me my husband was deceased. I will always wonder how painful that was for my mom.. to know she just lost a son, and seeing her daughter go complete ape shit.
  •  I’ll never forget shortly after the detectives came, my brother coming to my house. Seeing my brother made me completely lose it again. To where I could only hug him, and let out these blood curling cries, that caused my knees to give in under me. A couple months later, my brother told me “I've only seen people cry like that in the movies, it was insane!”
  • I learned that it’s okay to need medical help for depression and anxiety. If I wasn't medicated at the 8 month mark, I wouldn't have lived to write this blog.
  • I've learned it’s okay to ask for help. I don’t need to do everything by myself.
  • I've learned that I need to learn how to do things for myself.. so whenever something is broken, I watch my dad fix it, and ask him a billion questions.. so next time I can do it by myself. I’m proud to announce I can mow the lawn, program the sprinkler timer, figure out what is wrong with a breaker and fix sprinklers, all by myself. I know how to shut off the water, when a broken pipe is flooding my neighbor’s basement (I learned that through pure panic and error).
  • I've learned that the 27th of every month, will always be a trigger. Even if Seth didn't die this 27th, he died on the 27th of July, and it marks one more month that we have been apart.
  •  I've learned that the 2nd year was worse in some ways then the 1st year.. but I hope I never have to relive the 1st year again.
  • I've learned that walking into the 3rd year is horribly hard in a different way..
  • That checking "widowed" on some type of legal or medical form, will never get easier.. especially at a doctor’s office.
  • Through Seth’s death, I gained the “I don’t give a shit” and swearing gene.
  • I've learned that I can’t fight or push off grief. I have to sit with it and let it run it’s course. If I don’t, it will be back.. with a vengeance.
  •  I've learned at the end of the day, all I have is myself.. And taking care of myself comes before anyone or anything.

Looking back over the last three anniversaries of my husband’s death has made me realize..
That the one year anniversary, I didn't know I was still alive.
At the two year anniversary, I wished I wasn't alive.

Now just passing the three year anniversary, I am thankful I am alive.


  1. Oh Melinda I want to hug you. Thank you so much for sharing. Oct 24th with be 2 years for me. He died from cancer so I can't know what it was like for you but i get the part about wanting to run to another widow and hug them and wipe their tears even if I don't know them. A club none of us want to be in but some the most compassionate & loving people I will ever know. Thank you again for sharing, Donna

  2. My husband died 7 years ago. The anniversary, July 30th, of his death was just last week. He too, committed suicide. I agree with everything you wrote; esp the part where his suicide has not killed you yet. I have often wondered if I would have been better off if he had taken me too. But! I have made it this long and like you I have learned to take care of myself and my house. I still have bad memories and bad days but I have better days. You really know how I feel, when you wrote that someone's suicide whom you don't even know has an effect on you. For some reason, I will never understand, people love to tell me who committed suicide. I don't know if they think it will make me feel better to know someone else did it too or what. Anyway I feel sick when I hear that someone left that way, because I know what it does to the ones left behind. I know my grown children and I will never be right again. You are blessed to have your dad and brother who can help you. My brother lives across the country and my parents are both gone. Friends have been great, but they have their own lives.

  3. I really liked this post and can related in so many ways. Love your bulleted thoughts and have come up with some of my own. Thank you for permission to put myself first. I am realizing that I am WAY too hard on myself - that even in my grief, while I've done it in my own way, I have expected me to be perfect in doing it my own way. How could that ever happen? I am going to make mistakes, esp in grief and esp without the love of my life. Hate this journey so much of the time - I guess all of the time, though now, after 2.5 years, I am finding some happier moments within the hate of being a widow. Thank you.

  4. Love and Hugs Mel. My husband died in front of Jessica and I. I remember the dead eyes staring at nothing. But I thought the paramedics would bring him back. Because of the way he died (it was his hear but not heart attack not gonna explain now) he had petechial hemorrhage (where the eyes are completely blood shot) when I got to him in the ER. I knew then that he wasn't coming back.
    The dead eyes (both at home and the ER) haunted me at least the first three years. But at some point it stopped. When I think of the dead eyes I don't lose my mind anymore. I rarely think of them in any case.
    My daughter, Jessica, might be in a suicide survivors group with you. She had been at work the day Chris took his own life. He'd been sending her very disturbing text messages and she'd been trying to leave work early to get to him but they wouldn't let her. She got to him maybe a half hour after it was done, 5 minutes after his dad got there (thank God), and right behind the cops who she followed to his home, praying that wasn't where they were going. The texting they did and her trying to leave work were such a trigger for her that she ended up having to leave her job. And for a long time, every time she saw a police car it was a trigger. But its less so now.
    I am almost six years out now, and I have learned many of the same things that you have. But the few extra years have taught me something else... that the things I thought would torture me the rest of my life ... might not, as many of them already don't. Though I think August will ALWAYS suck. As I approach August 24th I'm suffering some, and while I hate it, I'm also a little grateful for it. Only another widow can really understand what I mean by that. And I'm very happy with and proud of how far I have come. It sounds like you are too. And you should be. Keep hanging in there Mel. It will get more tolerable as time goes on and then at some point you will transition from tolerating life, to loving life again. <3
    Love Gina Buck

  5. "That the one year anniversary, I didn't know I was still alive. At the two year anniversary, I wished I wasn't alive." That quote expresses how I feel exactly about the two year mark. It will be two years next Saturday that he went for a bike ride and never came home(hit by a car). I think the first year I was numb. The second I was less numb and more tired from doing this myself. So, I think it was worse, but I agree, I would not want to relive the first year for anything. You give me hope that it will get better because it isn't so good right now. Thank you, knowing someone else has felt like I do makes me feel so much less alone. Widowhood is lonely.

  6. Excellent writing, Melinda. You hit the nail right on the head...repeatedly! Thank you!

  7. Wonderful! I can't read this site everyday. There are so many things going on in my life there is no time for my grief. (If I ignore it with go away?). Today is his birthday. Like it or not I'm grieving today. I am so glad I used some of that time to come here and read this :)

  8. Yes. Yes to all of it. Love you xoxo

  9. good posting of latest anniversary wishes for husband

  10. Today, February 16 is the first anniversary of my husband's death. I am home alone because I can't be with anyone today. My kids are grown and would come and be with me, but I don't have the energy for that. Somehow, it is easier to be alone today.
    My husband died in a head on crash with a semi truck, followed by his car being engulfed in a fire so hot there was no way to get to him. The way he died haunts me. He was alone, and I wonder if he was conscious, and did he know there was a fire? The coroner's report said he died in minutes - how many I don't know. We know he drew breath because there was carbon in his lungs. I just can't get this out of my head.
    We were married almost 22 years, the second marriage for both of us. He was the love of my life and I miss him so much that it takes my breath away. People tell me that time will make it better, but I don't really believe it.
    I have grandchildren and great grandchildren here, so I moved to be closer to family, but the loneliness is still terribly painful.