“Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday…”
Each day since my beloved’s passing I have tried to think of ways I can grow and learn from this experience. In the beginning, this felt impossible but I was desperate to feel something other than the tremendous amount of guilt, pain and loss I had been feeling. I need to find some meaning in a meaningless act. Maybe starting the conversations about mental illness and suicide can bring relief to others who are suffering, or provide support to the caregivers of those who are affected. As a caregiver I felt alone and isolated. As a man affected by mental illness, my husband did as well.
In my search for information and attempts at finding relief from the destruction my husband’s suicide has caused, I found solace in reading other people’s stories, experiences and challenges. It helped to ease the feeling of isolation. I had felt so alone. Perhaps the most useful advice and helpful information for me came from a man whose wife committed suicide at a young age. His name is Jeffery Jackson. He created the Survivors of Suicide Handbook(2003) which addresses everything from the stages of grief, to blame, to the complicated circumstances a suicide survivor faces. If you or someone you love is a survivor of suicide, I recommend reading the Survivors of Suicide Handbook and use the information as one of the tools to use in your steps forward towards healing.
Near the end of the end of the book, he suggests making a pact with your dead loved one by finding ways, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, to undo the damage the suicide has done to thier lives and to the lives of those impacted. For me personally, I’m not even close to figuring this out. But, in making that promise to Anthony, the beautifully made man who stole my heart and soul, stood in as a father to my son and with who I created our daughter with, I hope to keep his spirit alive, through me, through his children, and those who loved him for who he was, not what the illness turned him into. I hope that even in the smallest ways, even if it’s just by telling my children how loved they are each day, that I can begin to repair what the suicide has done.