themighty logo

The Grief From Losing a Spouse to Suicide Is Not Black and White

The grief from losing a spouse to suicide is not black and white.

It is not either complete empathy for them and their battle or complete anger over their leaving.

Yes. My loving and beautiful husband one day walked out of our home and killed himself.

One day.

In one day he was gone.

In one day I became a widow. Our children no longer had a Papa.

Yes. Yes, I have read every book, every article, every personal blog post about mental illness.

Yes, I have talked to hundreds of people who battle mental illness every. single. day.

Yes, I can put myself in his shoes and almost completely understand why he felt he had to leave.

Yes, I understand it wasn’t exactly a choice for him, but the only way he could find “out” of his pain.

Yes, since he died I have laid on my bathroom floor drowning in tears, screaming from a place inside of me I never knew existed… all while just wishing everything. would. just. go. black.

But it isn’t black and white.

This pain, this specific type of grief, is a rainbow. A rainbow I hope others never get to see.

It is filled with all of the human emotions — all of them beautiful colors and completely, completely valid.

There are blues as blue as the ocean which are filled with days, hours, minutes of tears. Tears that could fill my house, my town, my state, and sometimes it feels like they could fill up the universe. Sometimes it feels like they might bleed me dry.

There are purples that are the beautiful memories of the one who held my heart.

There are yellows that are all of the sunshine days we spent together… laughing and being best friends.

There are oranges that are all the sunsets we watched together being in love.

There are the greens that are the visions of us running in nature with our children.

Beautiful and vivid pinks that are my heart bleeding. Bleeding every. single. day… even when others see me smile and think I am “over it.”

And yes, there are reds. Deep and burning redsfilled with anger, resentment, abandonment. Yes, these emotions are also valid. Yes, you too might feel these if this happened to your family, and lying and saying you don’t, or pushing them down, or trying to drown them out wouldn’t help anyone. Push away those reds and they will burn brighter. They will flow like lava into your soul. Be honest about the reds. They are just part of the rainbow.

You see?

It isn’t black and white.

It’s an array of colors. It’s a rainbow.

And until that rainbow has planted itself above your loving home, you cannot possibly understand the complexity of its colors.

Telling survivors of suicide they have no right to be angry because their loved one was sick is only putting more grief, more pain, more darkness into their minds and hearts. Do you think they want to feel angry? It’s a battle of mind vs. heart. Most days they feel maybe they are to blame for it all and shouldn’t be on this earth either. They are fighting. They are merely trying to survive. Have you ever been so mad at your spouse but yet love them so much your heart hurts? This is no different. My husband is gone from his body, but his soul lives on. His soul visits mine. I can hear him speak to me. We have conversations in my dreams. And you know what? He agrees with all of this. He agrees. He has unconditional love for me as I have for him… still.

Mind vs. heart.

Mind vs. heart.

Allow survivors to feel all of these colors of their grief rainbow. All of them. With no judgment from you. For it’s a battle between them and their loved one. And have you ever been in a battle with someone whom can’t speak their side because they exist in the beyond? This battle will some nights make you feel like you are falling off the edge of the earth.

Choose love. Unconditional love.

We cannot put human pain and grief into black and white. 

It’s much more complicated than that.

It’s a whole beautiful, tragic, dark and ever lasting rainbow.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo by Ingram Publishing