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Why I Decided to See 'A Star Is Born' as a Suicide Loss Survivor

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Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

Warning: This piece contains spoilers about the movie “A Star Is Born.”

This post contains spoilers for “A Star Is Born.” 

It was suggested to me by several people not to watch “A Star Is Born” because my late husband killed himself and a character in the movie ends their life as well.

Twenty minutes later I drove to the theater and bought myself a ticket.

I will never allow any movie, TV show, book or conversation about suicide stop me from living my life. I choose to confront suicide and not go around the topic. Something that has helped me move forward in my grief journey is desensitization and being as transparent with my story as possible so that I may help others.

On April 22, 2015, I came home and found my late husband, Sgt. Doolittle of the Kansas City, Kansas police department, dead in our little garage under our house. It was three days shy of his 35th birthday.

The police department’s official report and autopsy report lists our marriage as the catalyst to his suicide.

I already blamed myself, but I began hating myself after I reached out to his chief twice and was ignored twice. Their unnecessary blame added to my grief and I tried ending my pain one morning in the Bahama waters of the Caribbean Sea. It was a little after 7 a.m. on that empty beach when I swam out far past the buoys.

Unfortunately, at the time, but thankfully for me now, nothing happened. I swam to shore after an hour, cleaned myself up and went out dancing that evening with friends… never saying a word of what happened. That’s when I decided I needed change.

I’m able to enjoy a cold glass of Saki once in a while because I’ve purchased alcohol at the same liquor store my husband went to that same day he drank enough “liquid courage” to end his pain.

I’m able to not cry every time I see an advertisement for a certain store because I’ve spoken face to face with the manager inside that store — the same store my husband purchased the means to end his life.

I’m able to walk inside my home without screaming because I’ve sat in our garage in the chair he killed himself in, looking out amongst the same oak trees he saw.

I’m able to make love and be in a relationship again because I allow myself to trust. I now understand that Brett’s suicide was not my fault, despite what any “official” report states.

I’m able to hold my head up high because I wrote and published a children’s book on suicide loss after the school district I work for told me not to talk about my husband’s death, that it was a personal issue to me.

And I am still able to live because I have forced myself to do things that are emotionally painful, but necessary for me to move forward mentally.

Yes, I sobbed my way through the movie “A Star Is Born.” It hurt to see so many similarities and compare the warning signs, but it makes my voice stronger when I speak on awareness. Friends and family will want to “protect” you from the things they don’t understand. Their intentions are good, but you have to do what is right for yourself… whatever that may be.

Lead image via “A Star Is Born” Facebook page

Originally published: October 15, 2018
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