Thursday, January 9, 2014

Suicide Widow


I am filling in for Amanda today. The current heat wave has knocked out her power! Amanda stay cool (get it?!) and I will try to stay warm!

Recently I have had a lot of suicide widows reach out to me on Widow’s Voice and facebook. “I have no one to talk to, I have no one that gets it. I can’t talk about the suicide to my friends or family. They change the subject.”

I get it.

The thing about suicide is.. it’s complicated. Very complicated. Which leads to very complicated grief.

We are often hushed, because suicide is a “sin” therefore we shouldn’t talk about it. Suicide makes people uncomfortable. Because in the real world, it doesn’t happen (insert sarcasm here).

Let me get this straight.. I’m not supposed to talk about my husband’s death? I’m supposed to lie about how my husband died? To make other people comfortable?

You got to be kidding me.

Seriously people, stop putting that kind of burden and grief on us! We have enough grief to deal with we don’t need to try to make you happy and as comfortable as possible.

Sunday I woke up to such a sweet email. Here it is –

Hi Melinda,
My name is *Name removed for privacy reasons *, I'm a 33-year-old widow from Brisbane Australia. I lost my husband to suicide in July last year, only six weeks after we were married. It's been a very difficult six months, however something that has really helped me is the daily Widow's Voice blog. I have really missed your postings since you moved on and was wondering if you had a personal blog that I could follow or wrote anywhere else (I hope I've got the right Melinda!!)? I hope 2014 is a good year for you, bringing you much peace and happiness : ) Warm regards, *Name removed for privacy reasons *

When I read the email, I leaned back in my bed with tears in my eyes. Tears because I remember being “there”.. Two years ago.. When I was a year and a half into this.

Tears because I thought when I retired from widow’s voice, that would be the end of my story. Somehow my past would end along with my suicide widow blog. Somehow if I didn’t write about it anymore, it didn’t exist.. Right?

I thought that would be the end of me reaching out to pull a suicide widow out of the hell and isolation they are living in.

It never occurred to me that a month after I “retired” I would still be reaching out.. Again.

It warms my heart to know that my gut wrenching, soul scrapping, story and writings actually helped someone.

There is the other side of this.. people that find my blog through searching for ways to end their life. On this blog that I wrote, there is a comment that stopped me in my tracks.

May 16, 2013 at 10:38 PM
At least for another day, you just saved my life. Im a 24 year old homeless veteran with post traumatic stress disorder. The nightmares and flashbacks from Afghanistan are unbearable. Im so far beyond lost and I feel so alone. I need help but the Army just threw me away. I just dont know what to do anymore. Rock bottom was a few miles up from here

When I started writing my story, I did it to get it out of my soul. I did it to help myself. It never occurred to me that I would be reaching out not only to the widowed, but to people that want to end their life.

Reading the stories, hearing the stories, is hard. Seeing that someone is suicidal is hard. But knowing I “get it” brings me peace.

Just when I thought my “And then” was starting, I do a double take and wonder if helping suicide widows (or those that are suicidal) is a huge part of my “and then.”

Hold on friends. This is a long and bumpy ride. But I promise one day, bit by bit, hope seeps into your heart. 

It will catch you off guard and it first you won’t know what has happened. What changed? Hope entered your life.

Be well my friends, until next time!


  1. I am not a suicide widow. I am a sudden death widow. My problem is that I resent widowhood being my "And then..." It's part of my story that I don't want. And while I am finding opportunities to help others through my grief and loss experience, I am not thankful for this because the cost has been so great!

    1. Mjay, I know exactly what you feel. I don't think I'll ever be "thankful" my husband is dead and I'm not. It just plain sucks. I may grow from this (sometimes I think I am). I may learn from this, I may even be a "better" (whatever that means) person...but you know, I'd give all those supposed "gains" up to be back in my husband's arms for a minute. I resent that my life had to be changed like this...not saying some of the changes aren't growth....just that it's not something I'd ever seek out (or wish on my worst enemy). You're not alone.
      as for's starting to creep in...some days.

  2. a very intersting blog, as I work with victims of suicide and read up on blogs relevant to my work, keep up the good work!

  3. I stumbled upon this blog. My husband took his life two and a half years ago. And now, I am a single mom of two young boys. I need to know that there is an "and then..." coming to me full of hope. I needed to see that.

    1. I too stumbled upon this blog today. My husband committed suicide 10 years ago leaving me with 5 children, ages 8, 10, 12, 13 and 17. Now, 10 years later, I don't know how I functioned but somehow I did. The good news is that the five kids have become productive teenagers and young adults. The bad news is that there is still the pervasive stigma about suicide and people don't want to hear about it. But I talk openly about it as to me, suicide as in my husband's case, of untreated and worsening depression, is just an illness like high blood pressure. Both can kill you...they are diseases ..We need to erase the stigma. You will raise your sons the best you can and they will be the light of your life. You will find happiness as you come to terms..Thinking good thoughts.

  4. My husband took his own life 2 years ago last valentines day. It seems like only yesterday . I hatd life I keep trying to get my self together but I just can't serm to. I feel the day he took his life , he allso took mine.

  5. I am so glad I found this. I am so alone. I lost my husband to suicide almost 3 months ago, and already family and friends are sick of hearing about it. You said you wrote the blog to get it out of your soul. I completely understand that. My mom doesn't speak to me anymore because she just can't handle it. Nobody wants to hear everything. But it eats at you. And you have to find a way to get it out. Thank you.

    1. I'm so sorry for your loss, Sara. The Widow's Voice blogs have moved to our new website and we have a new suicide widow writing weekly, Rebecca Collins. Here's a link to where you'll find the blogs, and they are now tagged so you can click on 'suicide widow' over in the right-hand column to pull up all of those blogs.

    2. Unimaginably I found my wife after a small fight on July 7th 2015 I can't agree with you more I'm help people are treating me and acting around me because nobody wants to try to think about it when you are surrounded by it every day I believe it is about 10:28 2016 and still talk about it and asking myself why everyday and I know everybody around me would rather not hear about me talk about her but she was better than that and should be remembered by what she was and not by what accidentally took place that night I cry as I write this

    3. Our Widow's Voice blogs have moved to the Soaring Spirits web site which you'll find here:

  6. My problem as a widow by suicide is somewhat different. My husband killed himself one year ago. I have been in counseling, have a strong, devoted, and loving support system among friends and colleagues. I am slogging through my grief in healthy appropriate ways, but my siblings persist in insisting that I just don't seem to be miserable enough to be real. When I ask for their help with my forgetfulness and loss of sense of time, they become angry at me for not keeping in touch with them frequently enough or confiding in them. They lay the responsibility of allaying their worry on routine demands on me. I don't know what to say to them anymore. A bereavement counselor myself, I cannot give them advice for their own grief because (1) I'm really not able to do that for them right now and (2) then they accuse me of hiding behind my education (and lifetime experience). This situation is frustrating and I don't need it!

    1. I'm so sorry for your loss. The Widow's Voice blogs have moved to our new website and we have a suicide widow writing weekly, Rebecca Collins. You'll find our blogs at You might also find it helpful to join us in Widowed Village where we have an active Suicide Survivor group.