I found Soaring Spirits the day after my husband died from depression. I googled the term 'suicide widow' - reeling from shock that these strange words were now something I needed to make sense of.
One of the links that I clicked contained the heart-felt words from a young widow named Melinda who had also lost her darling husband Sean to depression and was sharing her story to help others, like me.
Melinda's words connected me to a community that would save me from losing my mind. I sat for hours, reading back through her past entires, devouring the words that I so needed to hear.
Every night, for well over a year, I would read this daily blog before going to bed, to remind myself that I wasn't alone. There were other brave men and women who had walked this path before me and, like them, I too would find my way. One day, the relentless ache would ease. The sadness that sat in my stomach would lift and I'd start to enjoy living again, rather than feeling lost in the fog of grief.
I will miss writing for Widows Voice. There is something incredibly therapeutic about sitting down at the keyboard each week and 'checking in' with myself. Asking myself how I'm feeling, what has challenged me this week, what feelings are new or what am I proud of. I've had some very powerful moments of self-discovery writing for this blog and I treasure the people Soaring Spirits has bought into my life.
However, at the three year mark, I'm starting to feel like the word 'widow' no longer defines me in a way it once did. It's a word I think represents great strength, wisdom and bravery. Some of my favourite people are widows, I'm certainly not ashamed of the label or shy away from using it. But for so long, a widow was ALL I identified as. It was the single biggest part in my world.
Today, that is not the case. I now think of myself as a friend, a sister, a daughter, an aunt and a girlfriend. I am in love again; I live and work in the city and enjoy my weekends; I am passionate about life and excited about my future. I dream about one day being a wife again and hopefully a mother. My cup is full and while I'll always be Dan's widow, a badge I will wear with honour, I'm ready for so much more.
Today, when I googled 'suicide widow', the posts that I've written for Soaring Spirits were the third result that show up. I dream of living in a world where no one is widowed from suicide but I know this is an unrealistic dream. So I hope that those who find themselves in that same situation I was in three years ago will find this blog and also connect to this wonderful community.
Thank you for reading along with me and for all the comments that have shown my words have helped and that I'm not alone, giving me hope in return.
Please help me to welcome Kaiti Wallace, a fellow Aussie widow that I met after she lost the love of her life in December last year when she was only 27. Kaiti is a beautiful writer and I'm excited that she has agreed to take over as the Saturday Widows Voice writer, from next week.