Navigating Life After Your Spouse Dies by Suicide


Navigating life after the death of your spouse as a whole is too overwhelming. Every operating system in my body shuts down at the thought of anything too far into the future.

So to not overwhelm my system, to not fry the inner workings of my mind, body and soul; to somehow manage to have the strength to put one foot in front of the other, we are living life broken into smaller segments.

The end of school.

The week of Father’s Day.

The twin’s birthday.

Family vacation.

Camping weekend.

Summer camp.

Up north vacation.

Sometimes it’s a day at a time. Sometimes we work through a week at a time. Or a season at a time.

Like summer.

Getting through.

Living through.

Surviving summer is our smaller segment of living right now that we are focused on.

And while these smaller segments of life are coming and going; as we conquer these small victories in a lifetime of mountains ahead, subconsciously I think I’ve somehow come to imagine that achieving these smaller segments of life will make this situation feel better or start to go away. Like by conquering each mini segment of life, we will somehow make this pile of hell on my shoulders fall away.

But it doesn’t. The pain is still here. Deeper than ever. The weight of our new reality is still balancing on my shoulders, threatening to take me under. The path is still laid out dauntingly ahead of me. All I see is darkness. Hurt. Pain.

I’m only left with days and things behind us. And a lifetime of days and things without him looming ahead of us.

The heaviness lingers.

The permanency of our new reality sinking deeper and deeper.

The endless days ahead without him.

Without a partner.

Without their dad.

It feels like a mountain that is insurmountable.

I’ve been handed a life sentence of wrestling with the repercussions of my husband’s fatal choice.

Today I couldn’t get out of bed. The cloudiness and heaviness of my life kept me chained to one of the few safe places I can hide. I was hiding from living. From feeling. From facing all that is waiting for me when I rise.

Summer is coming to a close. We’ve somehow managed to survive this small segment of time.

There have been smiles, and laughter. Fun times of connecting and adventuring. But all the while, it’s been hard.

And heavy.

Exhausting.

Draining.

Maddening.

Confusing.

Suffocating.

Disappointing.

And while this summer is almost behind us, I’ve seen and been forced to swallow the reality that we have a lifetime of summers without him ahead of us. And a lifetime of the next small segments of life that are laying out ahead of us.

We may conquer one small segment of life, but what lies ahead is even bigger and more daunting.

A lifetime.

A lifetime without him lies ahead.

A lifetime without him is what I am staring at.

It’s what is looming ahead of me and filling my mind and body with fear.

With hopelessness.

With apprehension.

Weariness.

Anxiety.

Years of starting back to school.

Without him.

Years of celebrating his birthday.

Without him.

Years of celebrating the kids getting another year older.

Without him.

A lifetime of Thanksgivings.

Without him.

Without our entire family today.

A lifetime of Christmases.

Without him.

A lifetime of milestones, firsts, adventures, vacations. A lifetime of doing life.

Without him.

Without him.

Everything without him.

How do you even face that reality?

How do you face the dark of your days?

How do you even go on putting one foot in front of the other?

How do you muster up enough strength to keep going?

How do I do life without him?

How do I live a lifetime without him?

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

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Getty image via spukkato 


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