Last week, within 30 minutes of each other, I learned of two young women who lost their significant other and spouse to suicide. It broke my heart because, unfortunately, I know this loss all too well. It’s a loss I would not want for my worst enemy and a loss that cuts so deep you don’t know if you’ll survive. In fact, when I heard the news, it brought me back to those hours and days after my husband Michael’s suicide. I longed to talk to someone who understood. At that time, I needed to know I wasn’t alone and the feelings I had were OK, which is what motivated me to write this letter.
Dear Suicide Widow,
You are not alone. I know it feels that way. Though dozens of close family and friends surround you, the beginning of this horrific journey is very, very lonely. But I get you. I know the darkness that consumes you, the fear that haunts you and a relentless evil that you feel won’t stop pursuing you. It is a dark, dark place – overflowing with confusion, shock, sorrow, guilt, sadness, and pain. It is literally a living hell. The fear is something nothing could ever prepare you for. There are no words to describe it … it is THAT dark.
The first weeks are filled with shock and questioning, “How did this happen to us?” And “How did I not know?” The funeral comes and goes and you feel like an outsider in your own body, living someone else’s life. “This can’t be my life!” You spend hours upon hours going over the days, night and moment before your world came crashing down. You become obsessed with solving the mystery of how this happened to the “last person on earth” who could ever die by suicide.
If you have children, worry for them consumes you, but they will be the reason you put your feet on the floor each morning. However, there will be days when you feel as if you can’t possibly handle one more day without your soul mate. You feel as if you are fighting an inner battle to survive every single second of every day. And, you are.
The guilt you feel, it isn’t from God. It is evil trying it’s hardest to convince you of a lie. Looking back, I cannot believe I even considered that lie. But that is what Satan does … he sees vulnerability and attacks. Don’t let him. During those moments, let your knees hit the floor and pray.
There were days, even weeks after Michael passed, that I did not want to survive. There were thoughts of taking my own life, and because I was unaware this was common, feelings of shame and guilt overwhelmed me for having such feelings. Listen to me: You are not alone. God is with you every step. And, this all-consuming darkness will not last forever. Your grief will, but it changes and as time goes on your memories with your love will become of your life, the happy memories, not those final hours.
It can be difficult to see now, but if you keep fighting and lean on Jesus, He will give you strength and peace only he can give in such a chaotic and traumatic time.
God doesn’t give us what we can handle. He helps us handle what we are given. Let Him. I continued to remind myself that God does not plan for a wife to lose her husband or children to lose their father, but he allowed it, so there has to be something more that I cannot see. Know this; God is always working behind the scenes for His glory and our good.
I know it seems impossible to understand, but God has called you on this journey. Trust Him. Let Him in and, I promise, He will begin healing your heart. Though you cannot fathom, “joy comes in the morning”.
Choose hope. Keep going, and you will get through the darkest side of grief. There will always be pain for your husband’s loss, but there is still joy to experience on this earth.
As the days go on, talk about it, and ask for help. Of course prayer, but talking about what happened over and over with those closest to me began my healing. Joining a Suicide Survivors group, where there were others who understood, and talking one-on-one with a suicide grief counselor helped tremendously, too. Learning to accept what you’ll never know and surrendering to God’s will was my saving grace. So thankful for His mercy and grace.
You’re a fighter. You will survive. I am praying for you.
God bless you, sweet sister.
Philippians 4:13; Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:38-39; Psalm 27:13