Sunday, September 15, 2013



I’ve been meaning to write this blog.. but I have been processing it.

A couple of weeks ago, I went on a date (gasps).

During the course of dinner, the topic of how my husband died came up.

My date started talking about how selfish suicide is and how I live in the past by “celebrating” my husband’s death every year.

I sat there.. sipping my wine and listened to his opinions.

And just thought to myself.. this.dude.doesn’

Does not get it at all.

Surprisingly I was able to put his words behind me and enjoy the date.

The next morning as I was slowly waking up.. I started thinking about the night before and conversation we had about my husband’s suicide and how I live in the past.

It dawned on me I have turned some type of corner in my grief.

If someone, let alone a date, would have told me a year ago that suicide was selfish, I would have came unglued. Possibly told the guy to shove it. He might not have walked away from our date without a fork sticking out of his forehead. I could see myself handing him a “You are not alone card” and tell him to call me when he is suddenly thrown into widowhood. And most likely would have got my stuff and left him sitting in the restaurant alone.

But I didn’t. I wasn’t angry with him. I actually took his words with a grain of salt, took his opinions with me and have been processing it for a while now.

I guess with the three year anniversary behind me, I turned some kind of grief corner.

A corner where I understand people don’t get it. But also understand that they have the right to their opinion. Even when their opinion doesn’t mean anything to me.

A corner where I no longer care to try to help someone understand.

A corner where I realized I don’t owe it to this person to explain myself or my husband’s death.

I understand that he hasn’t taken care of a very ill spouse. I understand he hasn’t watched his spouse die piece by piece for an extended period of time. And he doesn’t understand the guilt I carry for asking my husband to keep fighting for so long when all he wanted to do was give up.

He doesn’t understand the sigh of relief I let out when I learned my husband was gone. When I learned he was no longer suffering. When I learned I no longer had to be a caregiver, that for the first time in three years I could take care of myself.. and only myself.

And he has never found himself in such a dark and painful place that suicide seems like the only option.

Janine wrote about her recent experiences with people saying suicide is selfish (read it here).

I couldn’t agree more. Amazing writing Janine!

I have been on the edge. Where suicide was the only answer. More times than I care to admit to. For the first three years I was angry every morning.. because I woke up, yet again. Yet again I was still alive. That the heart break didn’t kill me in my sleep.

At what point does it become selfish to ask your very mentally ill husband to keep fighting? At what point does it become selfish to keep him alive?

People don't understand that for the first time in six years, I can be selfish. If suicide is selfish and I am selfish, than where exactly does all this fit?

I am happy to report that something inside of me has changed. I am happy to realize something “clicked” inside of me. I am happy to say that I can actually see my progress.

A year ago I couldn't see any progress in myself. I saw progress as getting up in the morning and going to work. I didn't see the little things that have "clicked".

And I am happy to say my date walked away alive with all limbs still intact.


  1. I lost an ex boyfriend to suicide 13 years ago(yes, I realize totally its not the same as a husband), but I agree if someone had told me in my darkest hours of tears from grief that suicide was selfish I'd have reacted irrationay as well; even though deep down I knew it was true. I had to come to that realization on my own. Now, 13 years later, I say adamantly, "yes!!! It's selfish as hell!!!" The pain u cause the many lives you touch by performing a single, selfish act is immeasurable. In his loss I feel it's the survivor's who become suicide/ mental health advocates because the ignorance is rampant. I'm glad u feel you have turned a corner. He could have simply said, "I'm sorry" and gone on.

  2. Anonymous - I feel sad for you that you think "suicide is selfish as hell"...

    My husband committed suicide after a battle with depression and I feel that the only positive I can see from this experience is that it's opened my eyes and taught me so much about people and life - including to have more compassion and understanding about depression.

    Sure I feel moments of anger, pain and guilt, but through my incredible grief, I have never stopped feeling his love. I know part of it was that he wanted to end the pain too, but his depression caused a mood-congruent psychotic episode which convinced him he was developing dementia and that it was going to ruin my life. He wanted the 'best' for me and loved me, more than he loved his own life - So, your comment makes me feel sad for you.

    My husband was the LEAST selfish person I'd ever met. All he'd ever done since we fell in love was try and make me happy and love me and care for me. However his 'black dog' had been whispering in his ears, telling him that he was inadequate, he was a failure, he was not good enough, he was letting everyone down and his brain function was deteriorating to the point where he was becoming a burden on myself and our families.

    He cried the day he took his life, because he didn't want to die, he didn't want to walk away from our life together, our chance to have kids and grow old together. He adored me and he didn't want to hurt anyone - he was so scared of that, but his depression told him that 'hurt now was better than a lifetime of hurt' while we watch him struggle and get worse and while we'd all be held back by his illness. He sacrificed his life, to spare us from a pain that he thought he would bring to us forever.

    It was the most selfless act he could think of. He did it for me, not for him. Obviously the depression had clouded his judgement, and it was the WRONG CHOICE, because all I ever wanted was to be with him, and we were seeking treatment for his depression and I thought it had been going ok. But it was the depression that made that choice, not my loving husband.

    He was the most loving, selfless person and every day that I knew him, he taught me to be a better person too. That's what I take with me now, and I will always be grateful that he loved me.

  3. Hey, I just wanted you to have another reader who gets this post. I am glad for you to have made these incredible "leaps" of moving away from the pain. It sure takes a lot of time, doesn't it? I for one am impressed with your ability to just listen to idiot's opinions without reacting. Such wisdom! You go girl!

  4. So beautiful Mel. And I totally understand about not being able to see your own progress - its so hard for us to see it when we are the ones inside of it. But I see it in you. You are changing and evolving and growing - all the time. I see it, and I know others do too. Love ya xo

  5. Beautiful post Mel. I'm STUNNED at the audacity, the utter selfishness, the complete belief that some people have in their opinions. Your date, and people like him, somehow believe they have full knowledge of all situations, even ones they've never experienced. And not only that, they actually have full confidence in each one of their opinions, so much so that they could say something as stupid as what was said to you. Where do these uber-confident ignoramuses come from? What life did they lead that created such a high self-opinion, a self-opinion that never asks themselves "What if i'm wrong? What if i learn new information tomorrow that makes what i'm saying today sound stupid?" We expect this hyper-confidence in a 15 year old. But someone over 25??