What questions have you asked about your loved ones suicide?
I lost my husband to suicide in 2005. A question I constantly asked was: “could something or someone have stopped him?” Today, I am not obsessing over that inquiry any longer. I now believe I did everything I possibly could to help him. Sadly, it was Steve’s choice to end his life. I don’t believe anyone could have made him change his mind.
Steve was not a depressed individual. On the contrary, he was optimistic and filled with faith. We both experienced our truest happiness when we met and married in 1995.
What were your circumstances?
The circumstances leading to Steve’s death were quite unusual. In 1999 he received a diagnosis of a rare, almost always fatal non-hodgkin lymphoma. Doctors did not expect him to live. The only chance for a few years of survival was chemotherapy, full body radiation and a bone marrow transplant. The results of treatment and side effects would be gruesome, but Steve chose them. He was only in his 40’s and wanted to live! He fought hard to survive! Miraculously, he beat the odds and remained alive after 5 years.
Sadly, the treatment left him a changed man. He had no choice but to go on permanent disability. Depression seductively set in on him. After about six months of watching Steve morph into a man I hardly knew I suggested he seek help. Thankfully, he willingly admitted himself into the hospital for treatment. After three days they released him with prescribed Zoloft, an anti-depressant drug. He also attended a daytime psychotherapy program. I became hopeful and thought that Steve’s depression would soon subside after he began treatment.
To my shock and horror I found Steve dead on our basement floor from multiple gunshots to his head. It was only two weeks after his discharge from the hospital. I tell you this story because I don’t believe there was anything that could have alleviated the mental anguish that Steve encountered before the suicide.
The cancer treatments caused him to suffer both physically and emotionally. I believe his self-worth had diminished when he wasn’t the bread-winner. He viewed his life as hopeless and complicated.
Do you have questions about your loved ones suicide?
Many of you reading this may have a similar story related to a suicide death. Yet, you all have your own unique situations.
Some people have suggested that those who have survived life-threatening diseases when others have not suffer from survivors-guilt. I don’t know if Steve did or didn’t. Could that have been the reason he ended his life? I’ll never know. What I do know is that he believed his pain was unbearable. He may have felt he was a burden to others and me. Your loved one may have had the same feelings about being a burden.
Do You Wonder?
I also wondered if the Zoloft induced suicidal thoughts in Steve. It is a documented side effect of the drug. Why isn’t a patient monitored more closely when taking these types of medications? That is another question that wasn’t answered, as well as many others.
You may have these same questions as I do. For most of us we will never know why our loved one took his or her life.
Despite that I don’t have answers I know without a doubt that Steve loved me and would never want me to suffer. He would want me to live a happy life. Those ideas pushed me on in my recovery and therefore the reason I am blessed with happiness again.
I no longer let the questions haunt me about the suicide, instead, I accept that I will not have those answers, which is a necessary step in recovery.
Please feel free to share your thoughts.
P.S. I know some of you reading this have gone through your healing journey and feel that you are in a position to help others but don’t know where to start. You are in the right place: Start here at the Grief Healing LLC where you can be trained to become a certified grief healing coach.
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