Surviving the stigma of Suicide

Updated: December 14, 2015

An open letter to my dear friend,

I am sorry to hear your husband has died by suicide. When you called last week to tell me, I cried. ¬†I cried because the last memory I have with the two of you was in Seattle when we said goodbye. ¬†Remember, we scooped into Devin’s ashes so you guys could have some. ¬†Ugh, it felt horrible and sick. I also cried because you asked me for advice and I had none to give. ¬†I couldn’t sit on the phone 3000 miles away and tell you how you should even begin to deal with what just happened to you! ¬†Your daughters dad is dead and even though I’m living that life, I have no advice.

But, I will say, I am here for you.

And, I will share some of my stuff. ¬†I hope it helps in some small way ūüôā

I do not believe suicide is a selfish thing

Suicide is a decision made out of desperation and hopelessness. ¬†Sometimes people feel horrible and think life will be better with them not in it! ¬†Does that sound selfish? ¬†Judging people who commit suicide is wrong and it doesn’t help survivors of suicide.

SOS, The Survivors of Suicide Group

I joined SOS group a couple months after Devin died. ¬†The first few months, I basically went there and was publicly intimate with their tissues. ¬†Gheesh, I was a mess! ¬†For months I showed up every two weeks and cried. ¬†If I tried to speak, I burst into tears. ¬†(not the cute little trickle down your face tears, I’m talking loud weird noises with the red face, snot and tears) ¬† Hardcore public displays of a complete breakdown. ¬†WoW, but I kept going back because no matter how bad it hurt, I felt connected and a whole lot less alone. ¬†And, the meetings helped me!

The Center for Grieving Children

This place has become the absolute best place for the girls.  My only regret is not getting there sooner.

My friends were often no help and it made me feel very alone

This was hard for me.  I expected my friends and family to understand but none of them did.  Nobody knew what to say or do.

I don’t think I will ever ‘Get Over This’

I am not the same person I was before this happened. ¬†And I still grieve and long for the old me. ¬†I carry this baggage around because there is no place to put it. ¬†It is stuck inside me because I ache when I watch my kids do amazing things and he doesn’t get to. ¬†I ache when I see other kids with their dads. ¬†And, it hurts when they cry about missing him!

My kids are truly okay and happy

Jaxen and Scarlet are happy and doing just fine without their dad. ¬†They miss him and wish he didn’t leave but they are okay. ¬†We have done a lot of work to grieve in healthy ways and we have grown together.

The Stigma

The stigma associated with suicide is wrong and hurts those of us who have to deal with at close range.  You can find safe places and people to talk to but you really do have to seek it out.  The following are words a friend shared with me about his brothers suicide.  It helped me.

I’m really at peace with my brothers decision and only have respect for him. ¬†I only regret not being able to be with him and spend time together. ¬†As for his suicide, while the chemicals were out of balance, I know this was an option for him for a very long time…and he reached his breaking point. ¬†I don’t have any anger or lingering issues about it, just love and fondness for all that he was including the deep and angry/sad/depressed/repressed side that he hid from the world. ¬†He let himself become completely open and vulnerable to who he was by taking his own life, letting the world see the truth in the breathtaking act of suicide, leaving people bewildered and angry and forever sad about losing their joy and friendship. ¬†His decision is something I love him deeply for, because he knew I would understand.

(I believe we need more people to truly understand suicide.  And, De-stigmatizing it is a start.  And, I really hope someone can figure out how this can happen)

And, One more thing.  I love you <3

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