Sunday, April 14, 2013

Suicide Note

I have struggled off and on with the fact that my husband did not leave me a suicide note.

I am once again struggling with this. I have been for weeks now.

Through talking to other suicide widows, I know that the suicide note doesn't always bring comfort. It often times places blame, doesn't make any sense, or just flat out, doesn't bring ENOUGH love and affection to such a horrible situation.

But there are times like now, that I wish I could pull out the note, and read it. Maybe to be reminded of what a dire state my husband was in. That death was his only option. Or just to see “I love you” one more time.

While I have been battling with this for weeks, it dawned on me that I did in fact get a suicide note. 

However it wasn't the suicide attempt that ended his life. It was his first suicide attempt (I wrote about it here).

For some reason I forgot about this note. I couldn't remember what it said. I forgot where it even was. Did I even keep it?

Through sheer fear that I didn't keep it, I opened the old steamer trunk I keep most of his belongings in. It’s one of those things I rarely open, let alone dig through. It sits at the end of my bed, looking pretty, but hidden inside is a life lost to suicide. A lifetime, a marriage, a friendship and companionship that is lost.

My hidden treasure.

When I opened the trunk, I bent down.. and lost it. I just sat and cried. I sat and breathed in the smell of the trunk. I carefully looked through some items. Carefully as I didn't want to damage anything inside, but also being cautious as I knew I was walking into a land mine that could take me weeks to recover from.

Carefully guarding my heart, I searched. There hidden away is pictures, cards, things that were in his pockets when his body was found (still in the sealed bio-hazard bags).

I looked at his wallet. Still full of pictures of us, his credit cards, drivers license, and money. Money I refuse to spend no matter how bad things get. I looked at his glasses, and remembered how handsome he always looked in them. Looked at the only piece of his clothing that I kept, his favorite red hoodie (All his other clothes were made into a quilt, matching pillows, and a couple of throws). I was a little shocked that the smell of cedar from the trunk, now reminds me of my husband. How can the smell of an old steamer trunk, now remind me of my husband? I haven’t opened the trunk in probably a year. 

I can’t even remember what all is in there. I didn't stay in the moment long enough to go through and remember what is inside.

I however did find the suicide note he sent me.

I remember getting the post card. My husband was in a physic ward after spending some time in intensive care. I opened the mail box, and my heart shattered. There on top of all the junk mail and bills, was a picture of Delicate Arch in Arches national park. The same park my husband was found in after his attempt.

I thought reaching into the mailbox and pulling out the post card was going to kill me.

This post card has long been forgotten. Shoved into the trunk with the rest of his life.

Finding this (and realizing it wasn't lost forever) brought me some comfort. There in his own writing, a small glimpse of his pain and “Love you with all my heart.” Signed - Husband. The nickname I called him for years.
In case you can't read it, it says - I don't know what else to say but how sorry I am for your pain. No one has any idea how it is to be me. Love you with all my heart. Love you, Husband

It was a reminder of how much pain he was in. Brought back memories of his suicide attempts and memories of his last attempt. His final attempt.  I think the post card was a way for me to find his body. A not so obvious map, so I could have lead detectives in the right direction.

But more than anything, it was also a reminder that in his last moments he thought of me. Loved me.  And was sorry for the pain he was about to put me through.

I don’t think I ever spoke to Seth about the post card. I remember hiding it away in a file in my office shortly after I got it. At some point I must have moved it to the old steamer trunk. 

Now that I remember I did in fact get a suicide note, and my husband did in fact say one last “I love you” I think I can finally put this struggle behind me.

And put the post card back in the trunk, where it will always be.. just in case I need to be reminded again. 


  1. Oh Melinda, I am so sorry you have to be reminded of this over and over again. I went out to see the stars tonight, there was a chance of the northern lights being out (not). I see my husband in those stars, it is not an easy thing to do, but I want to be closer to him, so I go, and look, and grieve, each time I am there. I have one of those trunks, too, it was my grandma's....tough to open. It has remained closed for a long time now. No matter what you do, no matter where you go, he will always be a part of you. You will need no reminder.

  2. My dear Melinda,
    You write so beautiful about such a devastating time in your our lives. However you also write so beautifully about such amazing times in your life....our lives The amazing time we had with Seth, we had so many beautiful years with an amazing man (physically) in our lives. We have amazing memories and some very sad memories (like this one, which I had forgotten that you had received also). All I can ask you to do, is when you feel like you need reminding of Seths love think about how deeply he loved you from the first time he started asking you out. The love he always had in his eyes when he looked at you. He was deeply in love with you and still is. We sends his love to you always. All my love your Mother.

  3. Oh Melinda, thank you for this post. My husband died of cancer, and was on hospice for over three months (after two months of lots of hospitalizations that showed us the futility of their best efforts to help. My husband was never able to talk about things until he was ready, and he was never ready to talk about his impending death (and leaving the two small children he adored).

    The last time he left the house (did he know he was getting too weak to do that again?) he and his caregiver and a good friend went to a jewelry store to get me a necklace (that he knew would have great meaning for me, for lots of reasons). He couldn't say anything when he gave it to me, and I tried (poorly) to respond to what I thought he was trying to say. When I read your words: "But more than anything, it was also a reminder that in his last moments he thought of me. Loved me. And was sorry for the pain he was about to put me through" it hit me that THAT was what he wanted to say with the necklace that I wear every day, and that I warn our girls not to pull on so it won't break. You gave his gift and his gesture words that I needed to hear. THank you.

    p.s. It helps that my kids are away overmight and I actually cry and grieve as I read this, a luxury for me.

  4. I dont know any words of comfort, i found my husband hanging in december, no note, nothing i am so angry, i have 5 littleones to care for and will never fully know why...its horrendous, so i guess i can just send love,strength and empathy xxxxxxxxxx keep going hun, keep strong xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  5. Thank you for this post. My situation is similar to yours - my husband didn't leave a suicide note, really. He wrote "I'm sorry," and that's all. But several months prior to his death, he wrote me a note that I consider his suicide note. It talks about how deeply he loves me, and how painful the depression is, and how it's killing him. It urges me to find someone who will be better for me. After he wrote me that note, we talked for a long time and he committed to live and be in our relationship and love me - and I thought he was going to get better. I thought our love could save him. I was wrong, we were both wrong.

    I too am grateful for this note that I now consider his suicide note. It is comforting to have a reminder of how much he loved me and how his terminal mental illness was taking him away.

  6. Reading this reminded me how important it is for all of us to write notes to those we love, often, so they will have our words of love. Thanks for the reminder.