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Lost And Confused


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I am so new to this I am not sure what I am doing here or how to find you guys so I can talk to you. I have lost my husband to suicide 4 months ago and I am feeling so alone and misunderstoood since this happened that I just want to find people that have lived through it so they can tell me if I am acting normal or if I am actually going crazy. Thank you for listening. Connie

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Welcome, Connie – I’m glad you found us, but I have a suggestion. You might want to post your next message in a different forum in this Discussion Group, as each forum serves to group visitors’ messages into separate categories that will attract people with similar experiences. Since you posted in the Tributes and Remembrances section, I’m just afraid that fewer visitors will read your message, and you’ll be less likely to get the support you need and deserve. May I suggest that you try posting your next message in the Loss of a Spouse, Partner or Significant Other forum instead?

That said, I want you to know how terribly sorry I am to learn of the tragic death of your husband four months ago. I can only imagine how horrible this must be for you and the rest of your family, and even though there is nothing I can do to take away your pain, I hope that I can offer you some useful information.

Suicide is one of the most difficult and painful ways to lose someone you love, because you are left with so many unanswerable questions and so many mixed feelings: How could your loved one do such a horrible thing to you? Where do you put all the anger, guilt and frustration that you feel? What more could you have done to help? How can you ever get past the shame and embarrassment you feel when others find out what happened, and seem all too quick to judge you for not foreseeing this and for not doing enough to prevent it?

It may help for you to know that anger and guilt are the two most common reactions in grief, and most especially so when the death is by suicide. Anger at God is very normal too. If you are like most suicide survivors, you may be wondering whether your husband is united with God or forever alienated from Him. I am neither a cleric nor a spiritual advisor, so I wouldn't presume to tell you what to believe in this regard – but as a bereavement counselor I can assure you that, when we lose someone we love, it is perfectly normal for us to question all the spiritual beliefs we may have held since childhood. Death forces us to puzzle over the biggest questions in life: Why are we here? Is this all there is? Where do we go when we die? What does all of this mean? I encourage you to ponder these important questions -- and know that finding your own personal meaning in this loss is one of the most important tasks that lie ahead of you, as you come to terms with your husband's suicide.

For whatever reason, your husband obviously believed that life in this world was just too much for him, and at the moment he took his own life, he saw suicide as his only option, as the only way to end the emotional pain he felt. If as mere human beings, you and I can see the tragedy in that and forgive your husband for being human and at his weakest, it just seems to me that God can do so, too. I can't tell you what to believe, but I'd like to think that, since God's heart and mind are a lot bigger than ours, He must be at least as capable as we are of giving your husband the sort of understanding and forgiveness he needs.

I also hope you realize that when someone is determined to commit this act, there is very little if anything someone else can do to prevent it. We simply do not have any control over the choices and actions of another human being, no matter how much we may wish it to be otherwise. For reasons known only to him, your husband acted on an impulse and, as someone once said, his suicide became for him a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Unfortunately, you are the one who is left behind to deal with the pain and hurt and guilt that have resulted from his action.

There is no right or wrong way to do the work of grieving, and each of us must find our own way – but I believe very strongly that the first step in coping with grief is to educate yourself about it, so you know what to expect and what tools are available to help you manage it. It is especially important that as a survivor of suicide, you learn all you can about this particular subject. Read what others have written about it (see, for example, No Time to Say Goodbye: Surviving the Death of a Loved One by Carla Fine, ISBN 0385485514; you can go to Amazon.com to order it or ask for it at your local library). I hope that you will continue to use the Internet as one way of obtaining the information, comfort and support you need and deserve as you continue on your own grief journey. See, for example, an on-line e-mail course on grief that I wrote, The First Year of Grief: Help for the Journey. Take the time to explore some of the links I've posted under the SUICIDE LOSS category on the Links: Bereavement and Loss Sites page on my Grief Healing Web site. See some of the articles and books I've written and others I've listed on my Articles and Books page. There is an abundance of help out there just waiting for you to find it – and if you haven't yet obtained all the help you need, keep on looking! You might ask your primary care physician for a referral to someone who specializes in grief therapy or bereavement counseling – or try calling your local hospice or funeral home and asking for a referral.

Grief is something that we get through and learn to live with, Connie, not something we ever get over. Death may end a life, but it does not end a relationship. The bond you have with your husband will remain with you as long as you choose to keep his memory alive in your heart. Always remember that your husband's entire life was much more than those few final moments when he chose to take his own life. I promise that the day will come when the good memories you have of him will outweigh the bad. As anyone walking this path will tell you, the way you come to peace about all of this is one day at a time, and if that's too much, you work at it one hour or even one minute at a time.

I hope this information proves helpful to you, Connie, and when you're ready to do so, I hope you'll let us know how you're doing. Meanwhile, please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.

Wishing you peace and healing,

Marty T

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