Did you tell people of your spouse / partner's suicide?

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Did you tell people of your spouse / partner's suicide?

Postby Salvette » Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:51 pm

I am curious from the point of view of a spouse, as, and I am just generalizing, but most spouses probably feel embarrassed, guilty, shunned, looked upon as being the cause. I'd like to know if any of you have or had been in denial, maybe just at first, that your loved one took there own life? Did you tell people that your spouse committed suicide, because most people ask "how did he / she die"? I am curious being the person assumingly in an intimate housesharing position with the person who took their own life straight out told the truth, or were in denial, or told other people a different reason (he had a heart attack) ?

I lost my father 4 months ago, as a child (38 years old), I'm suprised when I do tell people that I "lost my father a few months ago", not many people have asked how he died, I guess cause he was older they just assume he was sick. And of course there are other people who probably know, and don't even bring it up. I'm suprised at the lack of conversation about ANYTHING that happened or what I've been going thru myself, from people who know me family / friends.
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Postby mjoax » Tue Jun 29, 2010 6:01 pm

I am sorry if you feel like you aren't given the opportunity to talk about how you feel or about what happened with those close to you, friends and family.
I remember the first few days following my husbands death I didn't know to hold back anything and told everyone close to me the truth.. and even my boss ( at a job I had only started 3 weeks before) Again one of those things my husband had done leading up to his suicide because for years I was a sahm. It was at his suggestion and encouragement that I find a nice part time job to help transition my life before my daughter starts school this fall... I don't like change and he said that it would be a good idea to start back to work a few months before I had to send her to school and be hit also with returning to the work place. ( in reality he knew I needed a job when he left ) but anyway my boss called because even though the grief specialist that were on scene after his suicide took my bosses number and called him and told him I had a death in the family and wouldn't report to work somehow he didn't believe them or whatever and he actually called my phone about 12 hrs after they had removed my husbands body from our home. I don't remember everything but the gist of it was me crying hysterically that my husband had killed himself and he didn't leave a note.. I remember asking my boss if he thought that was normal.. the not leaving me a note. how could he not tell me why? So this went on for a while me rambling and then it did finally dawn on me how inappropriate the conversation was.. I quickly apologized and got off the phone. One of the first phone calls I made that morning was to his adult children who live 3000+ miles away. then I called our minister who had married us I told him the truth as well as John's office and a few close colleges. I didn't understand that there was shame in it I was just shocked to my very core. I couldn't have thought to make something up if I needed to my brain was on auto-pilot. All my friends were called in the early days following his death and they too got the whole version. Bless their hearts for sticking by me week after week listening to me say the same thing over and over again. Basically I told those that loved him and those that knew him well. Because to some degree I thought someone, anyone..... could help me understand what had just happened, how it happened.
I do find it really difficult to tell people now the truth the people that will never meet him those that can't know that he was so much more than the way he died. So when people ask and they always do. How my husband died I lie a little, I say it was a brain thing and that is was sudden and unexpected. While not a full blown lie it was a brain thing (depression) and the bullet that he put there. It was also so unexpected for me anyway... so this is what I tell people who ask. That are only asking out of curiosity What I would like to ask them is why do you want to know?

I did learn something from my very good friend she has a daughter the same age as ours. She said to me that she would always talk to me about John but didn't like to bring it up so she waited until I did. Which never takes/ took long. Is it possible that people close to you are just unaware of how much you want/ need to talk about how you feel? Sorry if I have forgotten some vital piece of information with your story. If memory serves you don't have a good relationship w your mother/ ( or was it step mom) anyway and there were other siblings that you were trying to build a relationship with in the aftermath of your fathers death..
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Postby blynn » Tue Jun 29, 2010 10:57 pm

There is only shame if we feel shame.
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Postby WaterLady » Thu Jul 01, 2010 12:26 pm

Dear Salvette92,

I agree with Blynn on this one.
There is only shame if we feel shame.

My husband was a good and caring person, he had mental health care issues. That did not make him or me or our family bad people. I have always been right up front with people about what happened. If they want the whole story I warn them they will not like it, but I always follow with what a good person and loving father my husband was, and what a great life he gave us. I think people follow your lead, if you feel shame, they can feel it. It's your story, you have control over how people read it.
But then I am and always will be my husbands best admirer and supporter. I want people to remember only the good person that he was.

Hug's to All on this day, I have had a very bad week, but am feeling a little lighter today. Just missing my sweetie. Funny how one minute you can be in the dumps and then some little thing will change it and you feel so much better, until the next trigger comes along.
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Postby OscarLonnie » Thu Jul 01, 2010 11:00 pm

I remember once when I went to the suicide survivor group a woman there told everybody about her husband’s suicide. I could almost sense a certain amount of sick pride in her voice as if her experience was somehow “moreâ€
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Postby Cyndi S. » Fri Jul 02, 2010 7:24 am

Well said Oscar! This is a choice that each of us makes individually - there is no right or wrong decision, just what makes us the most comfortable within ourselves.

Because it has been 9 years since my son left this world, I tend to be very forthcoming about how he passed. I can talk about it without being too emotional now, and find that often it opens a conversation that whoever I am talking to can relate to. Each time I talk about it, it takes a little of the 'stigma' away for me, and there have been many times that the person I am talking to has also lost someone they cared about to suicide and lets them tell their story to me.

Say what feels "right" for you...
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Postby lilly » Fri Jul 02, 2010 7:40 am

It depends on who asked me that question. If the person is the gossiping and insensitive kind, the answer is not just no, the answer is HELL no. I will never give them the satisfaction and the chance to talk :twisted: about my Dean. They can watch Jerry Springer all day long and I won't be part of their entertainment. I learned my lesson a long time ago. I trusted EVERYONE and told EVERYBODY my sad story in the very beginning. Well, I guess I was just too desperate. I needed to talk about it in order to cope with my pain, otherwise, I thought I would go crazy. Well, I became a subject of the talk for a very very long time. People called me, "that girl who killed her fiance" "That girl who dated a dude who killed himself." etc, etc. It hurt so bad. But in a way, I feel I did it to myself. Why was I so STUPID that I trusted everybody?

I do feel a certain level of shame when talking about his suicide, especially in the very beginning because of the way he died. (He hung himself when I was STILL on the phone with him.) The more I tried to tell people he had mental illness, the more they think I sugarcoated everything. It made me sick to my stomach. I have been told most people out there do want to help, they just don't know what to say. Well, unfortunately, that has not been my experience. I don't deny that there are many good hearted people and I have met a few, but I feel the majority of the "strangers" out there are not like that. They either A. don't want to get involved. B. take other people's misfortune as a source of entertainment. As a suicide survivor, I must protect myself from these "secondary wounds."

One of my therapists suggested that I just kept it simple. She also said not ALL suicide survivors are treated equally. Surviving spouses face DIFFERENT challenges compared to surviving parents. I think she's absolutely right. My Dean has a little daughter, I automatically became the evil step mother. I also must be a gold digger, a cheater and a liar otherwise, why would he kill himself?! These are all the craps that I had to deal with in the past 16 months!!!! People have all kinds of speculations. Telling people my fiance killed himself while I was on the phone with him just opened a can of worms for myself. I still to this day feel STUPID for being straight forward with everybody. Now, I don't talk about suicide to strangers at all and suicide doesn't have to be a conversation starter. If somebody comes up to me and ask me what happened :roll: I just tell them, "The death is unexpected. I am still dealing with the grief so I'd rather not talk about it." Most people do leave it like that and if they don't, then too bad.

Oscar, I understand what you meant. I met a lot of suicide survivors in the past 16 months. There is this lady who told us she's very "proud" of her husband's courage to end his life. :!: She said life is not worth living and she is still here because she's a coward. :!: It turned out she herself has bipolar and attempted suicide several times. Our support group cannot handle her anymore and our support group leader asked her to seek professional help immediately. The lady refused help, she refused taking medication and the last time she was at the meeting, she sounded so defensive and told everybody our survivor support group is nothing but a joke and everybody is looking down on her. :roll: (Why would we look down on her? We all lost our loved ones to suicide.)

I feel SOME suicide survivors have extreme needs other than coping with the grief. We will never know what they are truly dealing with. I am no longer guarded or feeling defensive when I talk to people about my loss. I realized nobody is prepared for this kind of life crisis. We are all here to learn. I only tell people about the suicide when I feel they are good people. They don't have to understand suicide (nobody really understands it anyway), they don't even have to know what is the right thing to say (nobody knows what is the right thing to say anyway) as long as they are good people who have a genuine good heart, I don't mind sharing my story.
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Postby survivor82 » Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:03 pm

i have not been ashamed or tried to hide the fact. i live in a very small town and everybody knew within an hour. all i could say the first few days tho were "he did it he did it he did it" somebody that didnt live around here had seen all the condolences on my facebook and sent me a private message that asked how he did. all i could say was he died and i found him. i'm to the point now if someone mentions it, i say it matter of factly. i have basically been not allowed by anyone to talk about how i feel. ive been told its over its not my fault move on by just about anyone i'm close to. so when somebody i dont know that well mentions it, i say that he hung himself in our garage. and i have no problem saying it because that is what happened. in a weird way i guess i feel relieved to be able to talk openly about it to people that are asking how i am doing.
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Postby Scott's lost mom » Mon Aug 02, 2010 6:18 am

I don't want Scott judged, but people are judgmental. I don't want anyone making assumptions about him. It brings out a primal protectiveness.
He was a very private person. He never gossiped or made unkind comments about others. A murderous rage comes over when people give their opinions/assumptions. My husband did it the day after Scott left. He put him into a category 'people who commit suicide are very troubled’ rage was all I felt. I am still trying to figure out why he left. If I the woman who conceived him, carried him in my body, nursed him, and loved him for 21 years doesn’t know, "HOW DARE SOMEONE ELSE MAKE AN ASSUMPTION?"
My close friends make kind statements. God needed an angel, god needed a Major for his army, Scott was too good for this world, too smart for this world, god intervened to prevent him from the horrors of the war and he was so perfect that his work here on earth was done.
I was thinking about it the other day. I don't tell everyone his sat scores were 2 points from perfect. He wouldn't let me. He told me I sounded like I was bragging. He also didn't want it mentioned to his friends. He didn't want any of them to feel bad about their scores. Why should someone who was so considerate of other’s feelings be subjected to judgment by others?
Today I am sorry I told anyone. I still am not sure that it is true. Until I understand and accept it, I just can't put myself out there to others. Some of the books I have come across refer to the person as a suicide. It spirals me into a dark depression. Why do they do that? Why do they think they can define someone that way? That is not my son!
The only place I can comfortably discuss suicide is here. My therapist is very careful when we discuss. It stays a sentence away from Scott.

Last week she predicted it would take me months if not years to accept this, if I ever do.
Scott's lost mom
Scott left me on 6/16/10
He is 21, perfect, strong, brilliant, a senior in college, and a cadet major. He is my heart and I don't know why he didn't take me with him. I never wanted him to be alone.
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Postby Ronnie Walker » Mon Aug 02, 2010 6:34 am

Scott's Mom wrote:
Some of the books I have come across refer to the person as a suicide. It spirals me into a dark depression. Why do they do that? Why do they think they can define someone that way? That is not my son!

That is so well-said. Thanks for that.

Ronnie Susan Walker, MS, LCPC
Founder & Executive Director: Alliance of Hope for Suicide Survivors
Visit our website: http://allianceofhope.org
Specialized counselling for new survivors: http://www.allianceofhope.org/alliance-of-hope-for-suic/counseling-coaching-and-consultations.html
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Postby lilly » Mon Aug 02, 2010 8:31 am

Scott's mom,

I just want to let you know that based on all your description about Scott, He's indeed a very good person.

I liked the fact that he didn't brag, he didn't gossip, he was humble, and he was nice to people.. These are the very good human characters that people take for granted.

I feel our loved ones went through so much pain and suffering, they were more sensitive about other people's feelings.

I sincerely hope you have a better day today.. Hugs.
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Postby lilly » Mon Aug 02, 2010 8:47 am

In term of the books.

It seems like all suicide survivor support books have a chapter or two about suicide prevention. (I honestly believe the author just put the chapters there for the sake of it.)

Suicide prevention is my trigger. Honestly. Every time I read about the warning signs, how to talk to a potentially suicidal people, I feel I am on edge of nerves break down.

I wonder,

A. Who on earth will pick up a book about suicide prevention out of the blue?

B. What's the point to put the suicide prevention on the survivor support books when the readers have already lost their loved ones to suicide?! A slap in the face?

Suicide prevention = useless slogan At least to me it is.
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Postby blynn » Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:33 am

I agree with you Lilly, about the books. I often feel that up to half of many books for "survivors" are devoted or at least very appropriate to the topic of prevention. I always have thought "if only I had read this book several months before he died!" :cry:

I think that suicide prevention "hotlines" should tell concerned loved ones to go buy a few books on surviving a suicide, or the aftermath of a suicide. Then people would realize just how REAL and devastating it can be. I would have seen just how high risk our situation was.
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Postby Silver Rain » Tue Aug 03, 2010 3:37 pm

In order to start to heal as a suicide survivor, I knew I had to tell the truth and not bottle it up. It was my husband's decision and actions, not mine and I knew it would be toxic to hold everything in. If people can't take the truth or choose stigma, that is their problem, not mine. I need to heal and become strong and whole again.
There are souls like stars that dwell apart-Sam Walter Foss
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Postby Jonathan's mom » Tue Aug 03, 2010 5:49 pm

Last edited by Jonathan's mom on Sat Jun 30, 2012 7:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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