Yesterday marked the two year anniversary of the day I lost my husband to depression. It's the hardest day of the year for me. I miss him always and there are obviously times that are harder than others, like our wedding anniversary, Christmas and birthdays. However while those days bring sadness, it's his death anniversary that has me re-living the trauma of that horrible moment that took my husband and my future from me.
Dan died at 11am. He got dressed for work that morning, kissed me goodbye, and then drove an hour away from our home where he spent some time writing me a letter before taking his life. This is something I don't think about too often anymore, I have somehow found a way to process the devastating details around the way that he passed so the details don't haunt me constantly the way they did in the first year or so. His disease robbed him of his ability to see a way out of the darkness, I have accepted this and understand, in that moment, he somehow thought it was the only option - that those of us left behind would be better off.
It's a cruel added complication to those of us widowed by suicide, in that we not only grieve our partners but have to wade through the stigma, judgement and unanswerable questions that come along with the loss. Time has helped, and the day-to-day has certainly gotten easier but I've come to know there will always be moments where the questions of how my funny, clever, popular and thoughtful darling came to be in such a helpless place (and what I could have done differently to help him) will always re-surface. His death anniversary is one of those days.Read more
This coming Friday will be the second anniversary of my husband's suicide. Two years. I can't believe I made it this far. I can't believe it's been so long since I've kissed his sweet face and felt his hand in mine.
There is something so very unique and special about the friendships that form between widowed people.
Last weekend I got to hang out with some of my favourite people – all widows who I’ve met since Dan’s death. We’ve bonded over our mutual understanding of what it’s like to live this nightmare - through many nights of teary phone calls and online chats; countless ‘me toos’ and that sense of relief that you get when you know you’re not alone and someone else really understands how you feel.
These eleven women (including myself), ranging in ages from late 20’s to mid-40’s, travelled from all over Australia to spend a few days together. This is the second year in a row that we’ve caught up like this and a couple of the newer ladies to the group had never met in person.
They all admitted to being extremely nervous, but even the greatest fears and reluctance to take that step into the unknown had been out-weighed by the desire to connect and feel ‘normal’.
And that’s the best way to sum up the feeling of being surrounded by widowed people. Together, we are ‘normal’!Read more
The quest for peace, acceptance and happiness after losing my husband to depression has taken me to some unexpected places. It has lead me travelling (around Australia to meet with other widows and to the USA to connect with Soaring Spirits at Camp Widow), encouraged me to try new things, forced me to open myself up to ideas about life and spirituality and introduced me to some really wonderful and interesting people.
Recently, this quest took me on another unexpected adventure, to the Ocean Soul Retreat in Bali, Indonesia, where I undertook their holistic healing program.
Having never been on a retreat, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. As an introvert and self-declared control freak (not to mention, picky eater), I was a little apprehensive about the idea of spending a week in the company of strangers and relinquishing my comfortable, but not-so-healthy, lifestyle to embrace a program of healing treatments, daily yoga and a very different whole foods menu. However, I decided to go all in and embrace the program designed – kale and all!Read more
I’ve spent the past week at a holistic healing and yoga retreat in Bali, Indonesia and planned to tell you all about it today. It was an incredible week. I’m still processing everything that happened and trying to work out how to put it in to words.
On top of that, my 6-hour flight home landed in Brisbane at 4:45am this morning so I haven’t slept a wink (seriously, who are these people who can sleep sitting up on planes, surrounded by strangers!?) so it’s proving challenging even stringing a coherent sentence together.
I’m tired, emotional, a little shell-shocked and don’t yet feel ready to summarise my week at the retreat. Therefore, I’m going to abandon that plan and talk instead about how freaking incredible it felt to drag my sleepy arse through the exit gates of the Brisbane International Airport at such an un-Godly hour this morning to see the huge arrival hall empty… except for one person. My incredible sister, who had set her alarm for 4:30am so that I would be met by a friendly face.Read more
I'm writing this from an airplane, somewhere over the Indian Ocean, as I'm on my way to Bali to spend a week at a beautiful yoga and healing retreat. It's a funny story actually... this whole trip only got planned on Tuesday. Yes, as in four days ago.
It came about through a range of unusual circumstances and has really had me thinking about how (a) we never really know what is around the corner and (b) even the biggest skeptic could struggle to pass these events off as coincidental, when all signs point to my late husband organising me a special post-wedding anniversary gift.
Let me start at the beginning...Read more
This has been an emotional week for me. Tuesday would have been our second wedding anniversary and as I looked back at the stunning photographs of our beautiful day, my heart was filled with a complicated mixture of happiness and sorrow.
Over the past few months, I’ve been doing such a good job of living in the ‘now’ that I haven’t made much time to sit quietly and think about our love story. Looking at our photos, of loving gazes and his cheeky smile, triggered a rush of memories.
It was like one of those scenes in a movie where they show a montage-style flashback in triple speed, with hundreds of images blurring into the next. Faces, moments, laughter, kisses, his soft lips on mine, camera flashes, gazes, physical sensations, tears, toasts, secret smiles, our hands clenched together, the joy, the complete and utter happiness … all flashing before me, tumbling, one after another, over and over again. I was right back there on that special day.Read more
For a long time after Dan died, I had a ritual of talking to him each night about my day.
It helped me feel close to him, like he was still part of my life. My grief counsellor thought it was a healthy and helpful way of maintaining a relationship with him and it bought me a lot of comfort.
I realised this week that at some point, this nightly routine started to become less frequent and now it’s something I hardly do at all. My relationship with Dan is changing. And I’m not sure how I feel about this.
Next week would have been our second wedding anniversary, regular readers might be aware that he took his life unexpectedly six weeks after our wedding, so that second anniversary is also looming. As these milestones creep up I find myself thinking, what would our life be like now?Read more
Something really awesome happened this week. A very dear friend found out she was pregnant and rather than feel that expected pang of grief that had become standard when I hear of someone else’s ‘happy life announcement’, my first thought was how wonderfully excited I was for her.
This is huge you guys! For 22 months now, I’ve had a horrible default reaction to the good news of others. I hear of someone getting engaged; see one of those gushy ‘happy wedding anniversary my darling’ Facebook statuses; or God-forbid, catch wind of a baby announcement – then back comes that wave of grief.
‘It could have been me’. ‘Dan and I could have been pregnant by now’. ‘We didn’t even get one wedding anniversary’ … all of the horrible, self-pitying thoughts that make you feel like a bad person and a really shitty friend.Read more