Feeling Relief after Suicide- Is it okay?

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This will be a hard one for people to read, at least for some of you, but I know that I am not the only one who feels this way and I feel that it is something I need to write and to share.

There was so much sorrow when Jason died.

When most people die, there is a lot of sorrow and grief because that person has lived such an amazing life and has given so much to those around them. Grief also manifests itself for what could have been. Some of that grief is associated with uncertainty in the future. For me, it revolves around what will happen with our children in so many ways, financially, emotionally, spiritually and physically. However, in our case, some of the sorrow is also because of how my husband chose to leave this world. That is a grief all of its own.  That being said, there was relief in his death. That is not something that most people feel with the death of a spouse, especially one that is young and has so much life left to live.

Often when I am at support groups or online on my Facebook page for those of us who have lost spouses due to suicide or addiction, an overwhelming sense of relief is expressed.There is so much work required to care for a person who is drowning themselves, whether in sadness or in substances. There is so much work required to care for a person who is drowning themselves, whether in sadness or in substances. There is neglect, abuse and disharmony in those types of homes. My home didn’t manifest abuse, but disharmony and neglect were there. I didn’t realize the extent of the neglect until I started watching other families and how they function. I don’t think Jason did it with any malice or intention of harm, but it happened anyway. Our kids would want to go throw a football and Dad would be too tired. I needed help getting kids to bed and Jason would disappear. Dishes, trash, yard work, repairs all fell to the wayside unless I took care of them.

This realization is difficult and painful because I knew the kind of man that Jason could have been but never was. I held onto our marriage with the hope that things would improve in the future, but I did think about leaving. I was so tired. I was worn out trying to bring joy into a sad world, exhausted from constantly caring for others; I wanted something more. I honestly craved not everything, but a simple helping hand sometimes. That is all that I desired… someone to help with reading at night or fixing a hole in the wall or unloading the dishwasher. That would have been amazing. Gifted with extraordinary strength of character and physical stamina, I was able to care of those things alone, but every once in a while, I just wanted someone to lend a hand.  Sadly, that hand rarely extended from my husband.

Now that he is gone I feel so free. I can go out with friends, go to a play, eat dinner at friend’s homes or invite them to mine. I get to take time for myself, which wasn’t there before because of the extra work it took to care for Jason’s needs. I get to live for me and my kids now, and I feel that we are doing well. There is relief at Jason’s death that I didn’t expect. That is not uncommon in cases of suicide. This startled me at first, but I realized that it is simply the truth. The counselors describe our reactions to death in the context of being ‘care takers’ for the terminally ill.There is relief at Jason’s death that I didn’t expect. That is not uncommon in cases of suicide. This startled me at first, but I realized that it is simply the truth. The counselors describe our reactions to death in the context of being ‘care takers’ for the terminally ill.  It neither makes me a monster, nor a saint. I did what was necessary to keep Jason alive because I loved him, but to be relieved of a constant worry and burden does not make me a bad person; it makes me human.

I refuse to feel guilt; that would only harm me and my children and stop our progression.

Instead I am embracing the extra time and the opportunities to enjoy life.

This freedom extends to my children as well. I watched them follow a dad this weekend as he leapt into the wind over a fence and down a hill. Jason’s anxiety would have caused him to caution the kids, but now they are free to try things. I gloried in their freedom. It gives me hope that they will learn to take risks and make mistakes because that is part of life. We cannot hide and cower from life because we are afraid we will fail. We may fail. We will fail but as we do we learn and grow, our improvements will lead us to find ultimate success. I have this renewed zest for life that makes me want to try new things, new foods, new goals, new friends and really anything that brings us happiness.

We all get to choose our paths. I feel it would be unwise to hamper my future by wishing for the past.

I feel like I need to allow myself  to enjoy the new experiences and freedoms that Jason’s death gave us. I  honestly think this it is what he would have wanted. Those words from his suicide note float through my head often “To be free. To be free.” Those words from his suicide note float through my head often “To be free. To be free.” I am going to soar like the pelicans and skim my wings on the surf. I may dive in with great speed to snatch the fish from the water. I may lazily float on the waves, enjoying the rhythm of the ocean, but in each instance I will be living and not worrying about the past or the future but just loving the present; to do so does not diminish my love for Jason. It does set me free to explore the world in front of me and the relief I feel is not wrong. It just is.

My entrance into grief came crashing into existence the day I found out my son’s heart was no longer beating and I would have to deliver his tiny body.  On October 21, 2014 I was plunged into another pool of grief when my husband, who had lived with depression for years, chose to take his own life. This leaves me at 38 to raise four amazing children ages 14, 11, 9 and 3 on my own.  We cope with anxiety and depression in various forms.  How do I go on? I know God loves me and that he has a plan for me. I know that while it is not okay today, it will be in the end.  I also believe firmly in living in today.  After all, today is the day I’m living so I might as well enjoy its glorious chaos.  

  Check out Melinda Mack’s blog at Doing