I lost my husband of 32 years (my high school sweetheart) to suicide on February 11, 2016.
On that day, my entire world came crashing in. If you can imagine the most enormous tidal wave crashing in with no notice, no time to catch your breath, to process the situation, to carry on… At that moment, the knock on the door, the Officer asking me to please take a seat. The words that came out of his mouth. Your husband has taken his life. Our entire life together, in slow motion as I stared into space passed before me.
I began to hyperventilate, screaming, trying to catch my breath, going into survival mode, shock because at that moment I had convinced myself I couldn’t carry on without Will. It wasn’t possible. He was my entire world, my life, my happiness, everything…
The shock wears off and now the intense grieving begins. The complex, complicated grief that goes along with losing a spouse is unbearable. The unannounced tidal waves are relentless. They don’t let up. The back and forth whiplash of emotions take every ounce of energy. You brace yourself for the next, that’s all you can do. Try to prepare yourself for the next one.
A few weeks pass as I began to process the loss of Will. I, at the very moment, knew that there were only two choices for me: Crawl into bed and drop into a deep depression or focus on our beautiful memories together, get into therapy and most importantly make a difference, inspire and help others.
So, I chose the latter. I immediately get help, begin to train for the 16-mile Overnight Walk for Suicide Prevention in NYC (I had 4 months to train). Getting into the best shape of my life at 50 becomes my obsession, my goal. Guess what… I did it! The walk in NYC, I chose to walk by myself and journal on Facebook to all my friends and family. It was the most amazing, healing experience of my life!
I’m not saying I’m totally healed, but I now know and trust in myself that I CAN carry on. Enjoy life at its fullest, help others by sharing my story. It’s not easy. It’s the most difficult loss to experience. I choose to talk about it. If I can save just one life from suicide and inspire those going through loss and grief. Learn to enjoy the simple things in life; family and friends are most important. Everything else is relative.
I promise you though it does get better. It takes time, determination, will power, the effort to reinvent yourself. You will change; it’s inevitable, but I promise you, you will transform into something beautiful and amazing. Not now, not tomorrow or months from now, but one day you will accept the loss. Your memories, well those are yours always and forever.
“Haze” the Labradoodle photographed with me below. Named after my husband Will Haze an amazing gifted actor, model and beloved husband.
Originally published at medium.com