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  • Writer's pictureMs Marley


It's the middle of the night and even with all the lights on I shiver at every dark area of the

house. I’m afraid of the dark and if I do sleep it is during the day. A dear friend sleeps on the

other end of the phone just in case I need someone in a hurry. Have I slept at all? What time is

it? What day is it? Did I tuck the kids in before they went to sleep? Did I feed them dinner? In

the corner of my eye I see movement and jump, it's just the cat. I’m so tired. When I do sleep I

have nightmares that you aren’t really dead and that you need me to find you. I hate how people

look at me, of getting out of bed and putting one foot in front of the other, of breathing. I want to

die, I want to follow right behind you. I don’t want to live this life without you.

I keep thinking about all of our dreams and plans that we made together. We were supposed to

do it all as a team, as lovers, as husband and wife, as best friends. But I can’t leave the kids, I

can’t do to them what you did to them, to me! Why? Why? Why did you get to leave and I

have to stay? How could you break every promise you ever made in one night; completely

altering and leveling the lives of so many people? That was not who you were or what you even

believed in. You are gone forever never having to explain your actions and worse yet you don’t

have to see the light disappear from your children's eyes as they learn their father killed himself

while they slept.

Sometime in the weeks after your death your mother took me to a survivors group. There were

people there of all ages and walks of life, all with the one thing in common, someone they loved

committed suicide. Some of them were also new to the group, maybe just having lost someone

in the last couple of years and some people were survivors of over 20 years since the death of

their loved one. But one thing was the same, the amount of pain. The pain that raged out of the

people who had survived for 20 years seemed to have no less of a hold on them than those who

had only a year under their belt. How could this be? What happened to “time heals all wounds”

and all those other ridiculous cliches everyone had been spouting at me over the last month? If

the anguish I felt now was going to last for the next 20 years I would never survive, I would go

mad, if I wasn’t already.

Did you know that when you left me behind all I kept wondering is, “What did I do wrong?”

“How is it possible you felt that you couldn’t tell me what was happening to you after all that we

had shared?” “Did I fail you in the end?” “Did you not know how much I loved you?” In short, I

blamed myself and carried the guilt, shame, and responsibility of taking a life as if I had

murdered you instead of you taking your own life. I carried it like luggage with me in all that I

did. All the pain that you wanted to escape did not die with you, it just transferred to all of us that

loved you for us to carry for you. There has been joy since you died, there have even been

other relationships. But the joyous occasions of our children’s birthdays, Christmas, school

plays, recitals, graduation are all tainted with “you should have been here” year after year. The

shadow of what was, what I thought would always be, the ache of “if only” is attached to me


I did survive, in fact this year marks 25 years of living without you. As far as the going mad part

that is debatable, normal is not a word people ever used to describe me but you don’t get all the

credit, I just think you took my eccentricity up a notch or twelve. What I didn’t realize or

understand back in the beginning like when I attended the support group is that the pain doesn’t

go away. However, instead of reliving it and dwelling in the pain over and over, I had to let it

become part of me, a part of my story. You notice that I said, “back in the beginning” because

that is what it is, a new beginning, a new me, a new life. When I survived you committing

suicide I had to find a way to become a new being because even if I was physically still here,

the person I was died with you.


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