The Insecurities of Suicide

I’m not sure how my parenting would have been had my husband not died by suicide. I don’t know if I’d be more or less anxious, if certain things would still feel abnormal, or if I’d be more confident.

Most parents probably fret about their parenting skills. Am I making enough healthy foods to counter the junk food I allow? Where’s the fine line between screen time as leisure time and screen time as a break for me?

Most parents probably wonder if they’re getting this right.

But I do wonder if I’m a little more self-conscious about it than others. Or if my worries are a little different.

I always knew people died. We are born, we live a while, and then die. It’s a cycle, one that everyone who is born will complete. And yet, I feel the end more acutely than I did before the suicide. I know what it feels like to have a spouse die. It feels like you die. It feels like never ending days that trudge along, days that are filled with tasks that are weighted with lead. Every footstep feels heavy, every movement a burden.

My greatest fear is the death of one of my children. Or, more accurately, that one of our sons will decide to follow their father’s path. I’m afraid that the demons he faced will be passed along like a birth mark or personality trait.

My oldest is currently in counseling. He struggles with depression and anxiety. His self-esteem is low at times. He’s doing very well at the moment but the psychologist had told me that he does sometimes think we (his family) would rather be a family without him. He has a fear that we don’t actually want him. And my heart didn’t just break, it screamed for my son.

Suicide has tainted my family. It will forever be a blemish on the corner of our family portrait, a water stain that warps and discolors. It is the thing that damages and destroys what used to be beautiful.

I’m trying my hardest to repair what has been broken, to mend the stress fractures in my little family.

I don’t know if I’m failing or not.

My Son Said He Wants to Kill Himself

I wish that I knew exactly what to do. I wish I had all the right answers, could do all the right things. Even after everything, after losing a husband to suicide, after surviving and pushing forward to keep living with my two sons, I feel lost and clueless.

My oldest is regularly seeing a psychologist. He has depression and anxiety. These leak into his whole life and affect him a lot. On top of all of this, he grieves heavily over his father.

His family history doesn’t help, either. On his father’s side, there’s alcoholism, depression, dementia, heavy drug abuse, and more.

Many people can probably relate. Mental health is poorly understood, stigmatized, and almost never treated well in the United States. People don’t typically go in for mental check ups. Even those who clearly need some help may shy away because of the fear of how they’ll look. Or worse, they have health insurance that doesn’t really cover those services. Or even worse than that…there are no helpful services nearby.

A few visits ago, the psychologist reassured me that he was not immediate danger but that he had admitted thinking about how to kill himself. The plan was juvenile and not thought out. An attempt was never tried. But my heart was pierced by an ice cold dagger. I just nodded stoically but I felt like rushing out of the room to find my son, reassure myself he was still there, still waiting to go home and have dinner.

I feel like I’m failing my son. I fear that despite trying my hardest, I won’t be able to protect my son the way I should. I’m afraid that I’ll get that phone call one day or find a loved one again.

I lost my husband to suicide. My biggest fear is losing one of our children to that same monster.

Why Me?

Why me…what a stupid question. But I still ask it.

Why did my husband shoot himself? That question burns inside of me.  I want to know the logic behind an illogical act.  There was pain inside of him, wounds that he self-medicated to forget.  I know that much.  But I don’t know everything else.

I wish I had better answers for our children.  I wish I had better answers for myself.

I don’t want this life.  I don’t want the word widow attached to a description of myself.  I don’t want children who are afraid that their mother will die next.  I don’t want to explain the harsh realities of life to my children yet.

The choice is not mine.  Life handed me this and now I bear the yoke of it all.  The world feels heavy on my chest at times and I cannot breathe.  I’m under water but my children are next to me and I have to continue the ascent to the surface.

Most days I bear it but some days I want to just cry.  Why me?