Grieving wife

( Canada)

My husband died on June 25th, 2008 from suicide, I have been struggling daily with this and the waves of grief are unbelievable. What is really hard is the fact that he did not struggle with mental health issues before this; he lost his father when he was 21 and his mother (whom he was very close) when he was 35.

Looking back now I believe he never truly dealt with their deaths, there was times when he would get down,(probably mild depression), we had a good marriage, and two great kids, and anyone that knew him was shocked that he chose suicide, as they all knew how much he loved us.

We would have been married 25 years in August of that year, we went away for a week-end every year on our anniversary, and that year we were going to go away for a week in the fall when the kids returned back to University.

He was so proud of both kids, our son who was 21 when Allan died, was completing his 3rd year University and our daughter who was 18 was finishing her 1st year University. When our daughter went off to University, both of us would shed a few tears, as the house was so empty and quiet, and I remember he once said "it is the same feeling as when Mom died". He would be waiting at the end of the driveway when they came home for their breaks. As you can tell he was a very loving father and husband, which is why we are so confused and so many questions.

He was under A LOT of STRESS over the last 3 years dealing with a legal issue, where a neighbour slowly began to steal some of their family property (cutting down trees,and staking claim to our land). His father worked hard for that land, as it was once part of the family farm, and Allan could not see it fade away into the hands of a so called neighbour who never put an ounce of sweat into it.

He went through several groups of land surveyors and lawyers and spent countless days at the provincial archives studying old deeds and aerial maps trying anything and everything to prove he was right. All of this time and energy spent on the land dispute consumed him and he slept no more than two or three hours a night thinking of ways to convince lawyers that he was simply being honest and had an honest case.

Allan was such a man of his word and did not do well with "liars and thieves", so he was very passionate to bring this person to Justice, which unfortunately cost a lot of money and was very hard to prove. The day that he took his life he was told by a lawyer that he could lose all the land if he continued to take this to court. I guess this was the last straw so to speak.

I do not put blame on anyone, it was Allan's decision. I read once that it is like the cup that overflows with the last few drops, was it the last few drops that did it or all the drops combined in the cup that made it spill? I had tried unsuccessfully to get him to talk to a counsellor/priest etc before this, as I knew he wasn't sleeping and under a lot of stress.

It is so difficult to think that he chose to leave us for that. I know deep in my heart that he was obviously engulfed in his own pain and he knew how much this was hurting us also and thought we would be better off without him. Regardless there are so many "what ifs and should haves".

I reach out and accept any help and support I can get, and would love to not just sit and be swallowed up with questions and grief but do something to honour Allan's life. I was told once "not to focus on what he took away but what he has given me" and I TRY to live this everyday. Thanks for allowing me to tell my story.

Comments for Grieving wife

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May 31, 2010
for grieving wife
by: Anonymous

My prayers are with you at this difficult time.
In no way are you to blame for what happened. There had to be lifelong issues.

Your post made me think of something my father said before he took his own life. He said he could not remember ever being cuddled as a child by either parent. All he remembered was that sometimes his father held him on his knee. And I too remember that the grandparents were stoic Norwegians who were not affectionate with us, but kind. I was a child who craved love and I would throw myself in my grandparents arms so they had no choice but to hug me.

I wondered why my parents did not love me as they were not affectionate. They did however and I realize it now some 65 yrs later. My mother is still not very affectionate.

The reason I am telling you this is so you know that there could have been issues that go way way back in time. My younger brothers Olaf and Tom fared better, as they would get a hug every day.
It is best not to blame yourself in any way because you do not know what could have led up to what happened.

You better believe I lavished love on my own children and grandchildren. As the years passed I realized that if God loved me then I was precious to him. That is what saved me.

I am not saying that lack of love at home caused the problem as regards your husband but just that it could have started many years ago. This is just an example. There could be many factors, none of which have anything to do with you.
Please realize that these kinds of things are not easy to understand and best to give over to God. Take care.

May 29, 2010
Thank-you for your comment difficulty of trying to understand
by: Grieving wife

Thank-you so much for your comment, I cried when I read your response. Understanding a little of what goes on in the mind of someone who is suicidal, is so helpful but painful to hear, knowing that I may not have saved him, releases some of the guilt; how could someone as close as myself not see this coming?

My heart is breaking for you, as hard as this death is, it is just as hard for you (or harder) losing your husband of 28 years, but knowing he is with someone else, I am so sorry for your loss. Please understand that so many more people love and think the world of you and your life is so precious.

Allan's suicide is forever imprinted in our lives, and there will be sunshine someday for you, I think so often of all he will miss out on, it breaks my heart. My children are presently doing OK, my daughter did go for counseling and will again if needed, she was such a daddies girl. This has affected her with trust issues and when we talk about it she says "well I thought I could trust Dad", she is slowly getting better, my son just says he is OK.

I pray every day that they both are and always will be, but we are good to talk and openly talk about Allan. I am glad my story helped you, if it saves one life, then Allan's death has not been in vain. I wish I could give you my e-mail, but post a note here anytime, day or night and I will check on your progress, keep you head up, YOU WILL ALSO SURVIVE, WE WILL SURVIVE TOGETHER!

May 28, 2010
The Difficulty of Trying to understand.
by: Anonymous

I have not lost my husband through death, however I have lost him because he has decided to leave me for another woman after our 28 yrs of marriage. This was in Jan./10 and I came very close to committing suicide. The loss and pain was too overwhelming and difficult to comprehend. I was diagnosed with depression and severe anxiety prior to this news. So in this state suicide did seem to be my only option. I still to this day struggle with thoughts of this, however it is through a strong support system that tries to keep me going. Believe me it is an idea that pops into my head pretty well everyday.

Your husband's suicide may not have been a sudden decision. As you say, he may have been suffering from some form of depression. And what I have learned about this devastating disease is that the person becomes someone else inside and they work very hard to hide and conceal what is truly going on with their feelings.

His suicide may not have been a fleeting thought for him, it may have been something that he dealt with a lot. I know that is not comforting, because you will probably wish that you had seen the signs. However when things do seem too difficult to handle and not being able to resolve the issue may have been the catalyst.

I do feel for you and can somewhat understand your pain, as it was someone who had a family member commit suicide that talked me out of it. And she had to do it on a daily basis for weeks.

I cannot imagine the pain and questions your children have. I do hope that they are receiving counseling and have a great support system and not for just a couple months but for years and years.

It is a story like yours that makes me rethink my thoughts of suicide. So in some way you have helped me and I thank you for that. I do understand the deep pain that goes to the core of your soul when this happens to a family. I speak from the perspective of one that suffers with the thoughts of it, as I suffer from a pain that goes to my soul and consumes my heart.

May 27, 2010
by: grieving wife

Thank-you all for your kind words and advice I really appreciate it, I agree that Allan probably had unresolved grief from the death of his parents and the empty nest syndrome when the kids went off to University. I work 12 hour shifts so I was usually not here for supper when he finished work at least 3 days a week, along with the land battle he was dealing with, if only I had known then what I know now!

I immediately looked for grief counseling, which I attended for 12 weeks(1 day/week) after his death, which certainly helped. I am also involved in a suicide support group, which meets once a month, which is helpful, although I believe that time heals the wounds of the flesh not the soul, this is something that I will carry for the rest of my life.

I am certainly doing everything I can to heal and if you asked anyone that knows me they would say she is doing good, but on the inside they have no idea of the pain I feel, it certainly is not 24/7 but definitely still daily, some ways I have tried to deal with my grief is going to El Salvador with Habitat for Humanity with my daughter, it was an unbelievable experience. I have travelled with my children, last Christmas I took them to New York City and we attended Mass at St Patrick's Cathedral and lit a candle for Allan. This certainly helped an otherwise difficult time, I also attend Church services every Sunday when I am not working and I am presently starting to join an exercise class, and last but not least I talk out my grief with people like yourselves which I find very comforting. Thank-you all again. I know I will survive!

May 26, 2010
Swallowed in remorse
by: Anonymous

Please do not get swallowed in remorse. We all have remorse, full of what if? and if only... thinking we could have changed the outcome of what happened to those we have lost.

I lost my husband 6 months ago 6/6/10 and did initially blame myself. If only I had gone on that walk with him. Even if it were to be, I would have been there to keep him calm in his last moments.

I mean no harm but your husband had unresolved grief, do not get in the same self blaming trap that he and many do. It hurts I know but replaying what was hurts, over and over with no resolution or moving forward towards peace and acceptance. We are here for you, all of us on this site, keep reading...HH

May 26, 2010
For grieving wife
by: Mariana

I am so terribly sorry about the loss of your husband. Obviously he was quite overwhelmed. I get the impression that he was very sensitive and caring and indeed loved his family. It is hard to say just why he took his own life. Lack of sleep due to worries was not good for him either. It is really a sad situation.

It would be well for you to have a grief pastor, as they are really helpful. Rely on God every minute and just give everything over to him. In situations like this you need the Lord very much. The grieving process takes time but must be gone through.

My prayers are with you and and remember you are not alone. God cares and so do the wonderful people on this board. You are loved. Please feel free to post messages, whatever is on your mind and heart. We are here for you. God bless you and keep you.

May 25, 2010
sad sad sad
by: Anonymous

I am so sorry for your loss, losing someone you're so close to by suicide. He was hurting, i will put you in my prayers, Thomas

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