I am Rae.  This is a continuously evolving statement.  Some days I know exactly what it means and some days I have no clue.

I know these things all of the time.  I am a strong woman, a loving daughter, a mother who tries her hardest for her children.  I am also a widow.  A survivor of my husband’s suicide.  I have been forever changed by this aspect of my life in a way that keeps pushing me from behind, towards territories into which I never thought I’d step.  I now deal with PTSD, panic attacks, anxiety and vivid nightmares on a regular basis, none of which had I ever dealt with before my husband’s death.  I now stand inside of new-found fears that never controlled me previous to this and I often feel out of control of my own mind.  I am lost in a sea of paperwork and phone calls as I work towards closing my husband’s estate and getting his affairs in order.  It is arduous and emotionally taxing and I feel terribly alone in this endeavor for I am the only one who can legally handle his estate.

Every day since his death has felt like living in a glass menagerie. I stand inside of my menagerie, built for one, every day trying to figure out how to break out and get back to a sense of normalcy.  The people I love come to the edge of the glass walls and talk to me, love me, comfort me and have been there to help me when I needed them most but there is still a sense of separation.  Nobody else in my life has lost a husband to suicide and I feel isolated so much of the time.  It is hard to find a connection with someone else going through what I’m going through.  Unfortunately I can find more people than I can count who have lost their husbands, wives, children, parents, best friends and family members to suicide.  We are a vast and infinite club.  But finding someone who can understand exactly how your heart aches, exactly why you hurt so incredibly bad,  exactly how much you loved the person who left you…it all feels impossible sometimes, like you’re searching a dark room while wearing a blindfold for something you aren’t even sure exists.  Some days I feel good.  Some days I feel great.  Some days I fall apart.  Like, completely, totally apart.  A million jagged pieces all over the ground.

I am putting my words together here because I am sure there are other people out there who can relate to what I have been through and with what I am still dealing on a daily basis.  It can change my day to know that someone else out there understands me and knows how it feels to feel like I do or simply just make my day by putting a smile on my face by hearing or reading that someone else made it through the storm.  Dealing with a suicide is beyond difficult.  It tears wives, mothers, fathers, children, siblings, partners, friends and entire families apart.  It transfers pain far and wide and leaves a sense of abandonment, worthlessness, insecurity, total sadness and so many more emotions upon the people who are left to deal with the unanswered questions.

I want you to know that if you are a part of this terrible club that hands out membership cards to the unsuspecting and unwilling, you are not alone.  You are never alone.  And you can get through this.  You can find the strength to get through today and make it to tomorrow.  If day by day is too much, and it may very well be, take it moment by moment then minute by minute. That will turn into hour by hour then day by day.  Eventually, you will find the strength to get through your days.  I promise you.  It will get easier.  I can’t say it gets better because living this life without the ones you love is unbearable at times but I can say, from experience, that it does get easier.

Thank you for coming and for sharing in my stories.  I am sorry if you can relate too closely.   I am sorry if your heart aches like mine.  I am sorry someone you loved isn’t here to sit next to  you.  But I understand.  I am with you.  You are not alone and you can do this.