I won’t pretend to understand the depth of your grief; your post-suicide heartbreak is uniquely yours. We both wish we didn't share suicide's painful realities. But, we do. There are zillions of things I wish I’d known sooner. Approaching my 10th year of healing, I am hoping that sharing my blunders might help you.
Shortly after my husband’s suicide, maybe 3+ weeks out, I was shunned by many (frankly, shunned by some I was certain wouldn’t). They still cared deeply about me. They cared about my husband and our family…but they were afraid. Afraid of me. Afraid of my post-suicide reality. Afraid they might say the wrong thing and make me feel worse. Afraid they couldn’t fix my reality (which…they couldn’t). Worse yet, they were secretly afraid for themselves—afraid their name might one day be listed as a survivor in a suicide obit. You and I both pray that never happens. Never. Ever.
But shunning did happen. Relax, it was temporary; they eventually came back.
Head’s up. When they returned, they arrived armed with endless advice. Brilliant plans to make me ‘fine’ again. Busy again. Make me be what THEY needed me to be again. I was sooooooo tempted to succumb to their hush-and-hide-all-things-suicide fix-it plan. Today, I’m thankful I didn’t.
Looking back, there were perks to my post-suicide shunning.
1. It was quiet (and I’d NEVER been so tired).
2. No one asked me to comfort them (I was WAY too weary and brain-dead to console ANYONE).
3. No one knew how long I cried—or how frustrated I was when I couldn’t summon much needed tears.
4. No one knew how long I stayed in bed.
5. No one knew how many days I wore the same t-shirt.
6. No one saw me eat frozen-solid ice cream (with a fork) at 3 in the morning.
7. You know the list—you’re living it.
I’d been granted the chance to hit pause. AND I TOOK IT! Thank God I took it!!! Solitude’s safety birthed clarity. Being shunned left me alone to evaluate what mattered most in my life…and what didn’t. Post-suicide changed EVERY corner of my world.…and yet, thankfully, I was the proud owner of a re-set button.
Please hit pause.
Take your time.
Sit with your reality.
Befriend your sorrow.
Feel to heal.
Decide what matters.
Just as importantly, decide what matters no more.
Hold onto your power—especially when your shunning ends.
Re-set your priorities.
Build your new tomorrows wisely.
YOU CAN DO THIS. Your re-set button has no expiration date.
Next time we'll talk about another treasure: the re-birth of authenticity.