Suicide hurts those closest to you
December 24, 2012
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.
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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