Six years. It took that long to get over my wife's death. Suicide not only kills the victim but it leaves human wreckage behind.
At the time I worked as a church pastor. In that role I dealt with death often. So, with the proper support I hoped to manage a quick personal recovery.
However, to compound matters, I lost my job. You see, the good people of my congregation never found the ability to deal with the suicide of a pastor's wife, and consequently lost the ability to deal realistically with me as their pastor any longer.
My world collapsed. My spirit fled. My soul shriveled. I left town.
I relocated with my too young to understand daughter back to our large metropolitan town and wallowed in self-pity and anonymity. For two years without work, living on a small pension, I played the roll of the caring father while secretly living the life of self-exile.
Every night I put my daughter to bed with love and kisses and smiles.
While she slept I stared with empty eyes into the flickering TV tube and ate my way into oblivion. I usually managed a few hours of fitful sleep each night.
I awoke easily to my alarm set to provide enough time to ready my girl for school. In order to play the role again - a shave, a splash of water, a fake smile, and a cheerful greeting - I masked my grief.
Out of sight out of mind. I slept away the day to forget the pain and awoke only to play the "daddy" role each afternoon.
This went on for two years. I gained over 100 pounds. My family never knew the truth, they only suspected and worried.
Finally, after prodding by my sister I managed to get a job teaching, and I started a slow climb out of darkness.
The combination of working with kids and talking to the right people helped me to mend, but oh so slowly. It took four years before I allowed my rage at God to surface where, with guidance, I learned to manage it and eventually to release it: a release that seemed a physical pleasure. Acceptance of my wife's suicide soon followed.
Because of renewed faith in Jesus my Savior, day-by-day now my life renews itself and I build upon each day's freedom toward healing which involves both my physical image and inner self-esteem.
The road ahead winds, twists and turns nearer to the horizon each day.
I look back now and then: to remember the good things of my 11-year marriage, to understand the mental illness that drove my wife to suicide (clinical depression), and, to remind myself to keep running away from the years of darkness into a brighter future.
Considering suicide? Consider first the real victim - your family.
Pastor Llew Bush