When Affairs Are Deadly: Suicide and Grieving

when affairs are deadlyBy Sarah P.

No one ever knows to what extent infidelity can truly consume a life. Like a fire, infidelity is indiscriminate in whom it harms and like an out-of-control blaze; it harms everyone and everything in its path. The fall out of infidelity burns through families and lives.

The unfortunate truth that nothing that has a beginning based in immortality or harm can come to a good end. It’s impossible. All affairs come to a very bad end—one that is fatal. Yes, affairs are deadly.

Anytime someone has an affair, there is some kind of death, casualty, and an end to the most important relationship in someone’s life. Affairs spell the death of trust, the death of love, the death sacred vows taken, and the loss of the marriage that the betrayed spouse believed they had.

This experience is life shattering for the one going through it. Some have said that losing a loved one to death is preferable to going through an affair as a betrayed spouse. But what about the cases when a betrayed spouse has to deal with the death of a loved one that had the affair and the death of the marriage they knew? This is what happens in the case of suicide.

In this post, I wanted to address the issue of suicide and infidelity since one of our members is currently going through it. This is also a topic with which I have a personal history. I have a family member who has personally gone through it, many years ago, and who has come out the other side. I also have a more recent experience with it since a family acquaintance committed suicide in our next-door neighbor’s home.

But, before I begin, I wanted to say two things: even though infidelity spells the death of a marriage and even though suicide spells the death of a past relationship, neither of these occurrences means “the end.” Please keep that in mind as I continue.

In this post I am also going to talk about the things that many may not want to think about such as whether a loved one’s suicide was their fault, what they might have done wrong to cause the suicide, and I will even tackle the idea of the afterlife and suicide.

This post will be a mix of factual information about suicide, the stages of grief, Christian views, my own spiritual views, and my own personal experience with this topic. This post does not necessarily represent the views of Linda and Doug, the psychology community, or anyone else since it will include my own opinion on some very heated topics.

 

I will start with a personal story…

One day, when I was twelve years old, I was in my room packing because we were preparing for a cross-country move. It was the middle of the afternoon and my mom came in and in a robotic manner told me that my uncle was dead. Her casual attitude was the result of extreme shock since she had just found out about it herself.

Later that night I found out that my uncle, who had married into the family, had shot himself at the other woman’s house immediately after my aunt had gone into hiding and had him served divorce papers.

My aunt had to disappear because the other woman was supplying him with street drugs, which caused him to be violent and erratic, sometimes threatening the life of my aunt and cousin.

After a third-party served him papers, he went over to his mistress’s house. The other woman literally told him he was better off dead and she gave him the gun with which he shot himself.

After I became an adult, my aunt told me the entire story in very great detail. She had known he was having an affair, known about the drugs, and tried many times to unsuccessfully get him to in-patient rehab. He had even brought the mistress to visit her in their home and during that visit the other woman told my aunt that my aunt had lost the battle and that she, the other woman, was moving in.

He was a very successful and handsome man and well-known in his field nationally and internationally. The other woman was a prostitute and drug dealer. My aunt was a professional woman with a specialized degree. The other woman was obese, of another race, and had not finished high school. My aunt had finished a terminal, professional degree and she had been a blue-eyed beauty queen during college. (The reason I am telling this part of the story is because each woman was the opposite of the other in every, single way. This was true both literally and figuratively. My statement is not to imply that my aunt was ‘better’ than the other woman as a result of her race.)

My mom and aunt had spent years praying the situation would turn around, but it still ended the way it did. As a result, my aunt has never gotten the type of closure that she desired in the sense that there will always be gnawing questions that will be unanswered until the day she is reunited with the Lord and with her husband in the afterlife.

My aunt was left with the guilt that she could have done something. My aunt has been left with going over the story again and again even thirty years later. She has been left with the dread that there is no telling what happens to the eternal souls of people who commit suicide. And yet—my uncle is still very much with it.

When the extended family gets together, everyone still talks about my uncle as if he is still around. In fact, he seems to pop up everywhere. For example, my family and I moved to a house in 2006 and the husband and wife knew my uncle because the husband had worked with him for several years. Before then, these neighbors had been complete strangers to my extended family and me and this house that we moved into was not even in the same area as where my uncle and aunt lived. There should have been no connection at all. Yet, there was my uncle, popping up again, in the present. Spooky much?

deepest pain

 

A Chance for Growth

Even though it was hard on my aunt, she and my cousin came through it and they are doing well and have been doing well for years. You see the thing about tragedy, just like the all-consuming fire, is that it provides fertile ground from which new life can grow.

When there is any kind of tragedy, but especially in the case of both infidelity and affairs, a death of a certain relationship will occur. In infidelity, it’s the death of a marriage that the betrayed spouse and the wayward spouse once had, or thought they had.  But, that doesn’t mean that it stays that way. Once the recovery process begins, there is a new beginning and a newness to celebrate.

In the case of physical death, there is the celebration of life and also the forming of a new relationship with the deceased. You see, it’s very important to remember that death ends a physical body, but it doesn’t end either a spiritual, eternal life and it also does not end a relationship. Something new grows in the place of the former.

This forming of new life or new relationships is demonstrated in the ancient myth of the Phoenix. The fire consumes the Phoenix, but the Phoenix is only to be re-born anew again, over and over. Fire is destructive, but it is also a purifying force.

To use Hawaiian symbolism, the Goddess Pele destroys everything is her path and her fire burns hot—almost 1,000 degrees.  No one in its path escapes the burn. But, at the same time Pele leaves behind lava, she also leaves behind a cooled rock that becomes the foundation of the Hawaiian Islands.

Over time, the lava rock becomes some of the most fertile and coveted soil on earth. Pele’s destruction gives birth to islands that are arguably the most peaceful and harmonious place on the planet—a place where new and vibrant life flourishes.

But, no one could have guessed what would become of it all during the volcano’s violent eruption. They would have seen only death and destruction. But, over time, what seemed like death and destruction was actually a new beginning. The paradox is that none of it could have been without Pele first starting the all-consuming fire.

All Christians know about Job from the Bible. No one wants to be in Job’s shoes because he lost everything. To add insult to injury, when he thought he could lose nothing more, he got sick and sunk even deeper than anyone could have imagined.

Yet, in the end, God restored Job’s life. God promises, “Then I will restore to you the years that the locust swarm devoured, as did the young locust, the other locusts, and the ravaging locust,” Joel 2:25 (NIV). God may not have caused the tragedy, but he has the power to restore all and he will. This is God’s promise in all things.

It doesn’t matter if you feel like your life has ended because of an affair or if you feel it has ended because you lost the most important person to you.

 

Was it my fault?

This is the biggest question with which those left behind struggle when a loved one ends his or her life. No, another’s suicide was not your fault and there was nothing you could have done to prevent it. We humans love to have control or the illusion of control because anything else is frankly terrifying. God gave humans free will AND God did not give anyone control over another.

Yet, all of us struggle with the illusion that we can control what another does if only. There are many if only’s and you can make yourself crazy going through them.

  • If only I had seen the signs
  • If only I didn’t let that person out of my sight
  • If only I had done more
  • If only I had done less
  • If only we had moved
  • If only we had stayed
  • If only I made him get the right kind of therapy
  • If only I did this
  • If only I did that…

All of these ‘if onlys’ depend on the idea that you are able to control another person. I will say it again: we cannot control another person. Over the long term, there is nothing we can do to prevent an action that another person is set on doing.

Over 90% of people who commit suicide have depression or some other kind of illness. When suicidal thoughts and plans take over, it is like trying to stop a freight train with your bare hands. The best thing you can do for yourself is to realize that there is nothing you could have done to make that person change his or her mind.

It is hard to explain to someone how a brain can hold someone hostage if that person has never been through the situation. When someone is suicidal it’s like they are being pulled toward a cliff against their will. They do not want to be pulled off the cliff, but some mysterious force drives them closer to the edge. It’s like being in a runaway car that is going toward the cliff and the breaks are not working. If the person does not have the clear thinking to bail from the car, they will go over the cliff with the car.

Psychologists and psychiatrists know that the brain is capable of holding someone hostage through chemical imbalance. Don’t underestimate the role of biochemistry in the brain. Think about diseases such as Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s is a disease that has to do with damage to nerve cells in the substantia nigra area of the brain as well as dopamine signaling.

You would not tell a Parkinson’s patient to try harder to control their movements, as if it were a personal failing on their part, just as you would not tell a depressed person to “snap out of it.” Just as you cannot do anything personally such a prodding, controlling, changing a person’s diet, taking someone for walks, in order to stop the progression of Parkinson’s, you can’t talk someone out of depression or suicide. Only medicine can do that and it is not the cure.

Depressed people are at the mercy of their minds, which have turned against them and have decided to take over in ways that are harmful to that person. Depression is just as serious as cancer and just as deadly. The point in going through all of this is that there is nothing you can do to change someone’s depression. The only thing you can do is to get them help and to know when to get them into an in-patient psychiatric ward when you suspect someone is capable of self-harm.

Often a wayward spouse has depression before they are unfaithful. Being unfaithful can provide a false high and it can temporarily bolster lacking neurochemicals in the brain. But, this is a deadly combination for the wayward spouse because once the high from infidelity is gone, the depression returns along with guilt and shame. This in turn can leave the wayward spouse feeling as if he is no longer worthy of living.

I found a comment about these feelings in an unlikely forum. A man who calls himself Dr. Decay says this about cheating with two different women on his long-term girlfriend:

“Now three years later… I grew up a lot and realized my mistakes. Except I have been carrying this guilt ever since and it’s causing me to become depressed and disconnected from everyone. The guilt is so strong that I sometimes want to kill myself because I feel like I don’t deserve her. She has done nothing but give me love and stay faithful. I feel like such an evil person inside; it’s eating me alive from the inside. I don’t want to tell her knowing it could be the end and I’ll lose her. But on the other hand, I can’t keep living this way. I know I am a dirt bag…”

Like any man with a conscience, this man is being eaten alive by the guilt of his actions coupled with the fear of losing the woman he loves. He is in a “no win” situation because he feels that if he tells her, he will lose her. Because he cannot live without her, he keeps it inside. But, by keeping it inside, the guilt is eating him alive. This is causing him to think about suicide and the fear prevents him from telling anyone. These are precisely the situations that lead people to take their own lives.

the heavens

 

Where Do Our Loved Ones Go?

This is a difficult one to answer because different belief systems have different answers. No matter what one belief system says, there will be others out there who call the answer unholy. Therefore, I will give you my personal feeling on the situation and reference the aspects of religion that I use to form my opinion.

What I am about to say is extremely personal in nature and some might consider it blasphemous. I do not mean to offend anyone or to have a theological discussion. I will let you know up front that I was raised in a Protestant church, but that I have Jewish ethnic heritage on my mom’s side of the family. Thus, my beliefs are due to studying both faiths. The foundation of my belief is that “God is Love” (John I, 4:8) and everything else flows from that belief.

My personal belief is that when people commit suicide, they are turned over to God’s care. But, I also feel that some people, even though asked to join the light, may hesitate to go out of fear, guilt, or confusion. This is especially true if someone does not believe in an afterlife or in a higher power.

On a word, they will be surprised that they still live, even though without a material body. I believe that those who reach out to Jesus, here or hereafter, will in Jesus’s presence. Because I believe God is a loving and benevolent being and believe that when someone takes their own life, God welcomes them as the most compassionate father would welcome them.

Like any parents, He would ache that his child was in so much pain that he wanted to end it, but that would cause him to pour out even more love and compassion for his child. God would not turn his back in the child’s most dire and desperate act.

The story of the prodigal son comes to mind. The prodigal son demanded his portion of the household assets and spent all of his inheritance abroad, only to return to his father no better than a penniless beggar. At the time, this act was a terrible affront to a family and cause for shame. Instead of shunning him, his father prepared a feast in the son’s honor and gave him a ring for his finger. The father celebrated his son that was lost and then found again.

This story applies equally to those who have repented of and stopped infidelity as it does to those who commit suicide. Both acts are a sin, but Jesus does not turn his back on those who sin. Christians believe that Jesus died for sins so that no one had to face eternal damnation. If this is true, it applies equally to all sins, including the taking of one’s life.

 

Another personal story…

I will tell you a personal story about an acquaintance that committed suicide. This is an unembellished story and you will likely find parts of it fantastical. But, I am telling it just as it happened.

My neighbors are like a second set of parents for our family. They are a wonderful retired couple who put Ward and June Cleaver to shame. (I will call them Grace and Gavin. I will refer to Gavin’s adopted brother as Paul.) Gavin’s parents ‘adopted’ Paul when he was in high school since he had been Gavin’s life-long best friend. Both of Paul’s parents had died tragically and so Gavin’s family became his new family.

Paul dealt with episodes of black depression throughout his life and medication did not bring relief. When he suffered episodes, he would move in with Gavin and Grace. This is how we knew him.

Paul was a successful man and spoke several languages. He had been an executive at multinational companies in his youth and had several marriages under his belt. He neither lacked money nor attractive girlfriends. But, this didn’t matter because depression is a chemical imbalance. While depression can be caused by life’s events, it soon turns into a chemical imbalance in the brain.

Paul had been living with Grace and Gavin for a while by the time we moved in. But, he was doing better—or so everyone thought. He was dating an absolutely lovely widow that he met at church. He was jogging daily around the neighborhood and he was making plans for the future.

One Sunday he told Grace and Gavin that he was going to go for a jog instead of attending church with them that day. He promised to catch up for lunch. He didn’t come to lunch and didn’t answer his phone when Grace called. She and Gavin became worried. She called Paul’s girlfriend to see if they were together. They were not together and so she began making calls to everyone she knew. After more people telling Grace that they had not seen Paul, Gavin and Grace drove home.

When Grace entered the garage, she smelled blood before she saw it. Paul had ended his life with Grace’s pistol that had been passed down through the family and had belonged to her grandfather.

As close as they were, Paul was so good at hiding his intentions that no one suspected it. I found out after I went to drop in on Grace the next day for coffee. She told me what happened but gave me no details about anything. She said she feared for his eternal soul. She was in a state of shock and I did not ask questions. At that point, I told Grace I would go home and pray for everyone. The only thing I knew about the suicide at that point was when they found Paul and that Paul used her gun.

When I was praying, I saw a very real vision in my mind’s eye of Paul being accepted into Jesus’s arms. Heaven was full of light and everything had these golden, illuminated outlines. Since everything was made of light, Paul seemed to be melting into Jesus’s arms. A sense of peace flooded over me and in my mind I began to hear a song that I had never heard before. The song sung by angels and it contained words that I had never heard before either. The words seemed to be answers to questions. Immediately, I took down all the words and the melody. I knew at that moment that this was where Paul was and I knew it was very real.

I went and found Grace the next day because I wanted to tell her. But, I hesitated because I feared I would sound like I was at best trying to reassure her with wishful thinking or at worst would be perceived as crazy.

Working up the courage to tell Grace, I prefaced it with the idea that what I was about to say might sound blasphemous to her and so I wanted to apologize in advance. I told her that even though she believed that Paul might be somewhere not so good, I was convinced that he was in Heaven.

I recounted all that I saw in great detail and then took out the words to the song and the music. I showed her the words to the song and hummed it for her. Grace sat there silent and I did not know what to think. My embarrassment was growing and I was feeling like I had upset her.

Finally, Grace spoke. She then told me she found a 300-page journal where Paul had been planning everything and he had been planning it for some time. But the last entry in his journal contained a series of questions about his eternal soul and what he would experience.

She looked at the song and said that it answered each question written in the journal. I got up the courage to describe in great detail the others who were there to meet him. Grace told me that I had seen Paul’s mom and dad. Grace was finally reassured. She affirmed that everything I told her was too specific to be wishful thinking on my part.

Grace told the story at Paul’s celebration of life and everyone who heard it also believed it was true. The vision and ‘message from Heaven’ brought Paul’s remaining family and friends profound healing. For this, I was extremely grateful because it was the only reason why I told Grace what I saw. I had hoped that the message would contain something that she could hold on to and it did. The vision I had while in prayer was so strong and so real that I have no doubt that I saw Paul and that he is in Heaven.

religion

 

What does Christianity say?

This is going to vary from church to church and from authority to authority, but the consensus seems to be that the Bible does not specifically discuss suicide. I have read several different Christian sites that have stated if someone has accepted Jesus, then it does not matter how they died. All people who accept Jesus go to Heaven (in most Christian churches.)

The Catholic viewpoint implies that those who take their life were not acting of free will. Therefore, they are buried in consecrated ground and afforded the same rights as any other Catholic who has died. The Catholic view appears to be similar to mine—that a merciful God accepts someone into Heaven, even if that individual did not pass away due to natural causes.

 

What does Judaism say?

Judaism speaks of a place called Gehinom and it has been likened to a laundromat of souls where eternal souls are cleansed before ascending to higher planes of existence. Being sent there (or not) before ascending appears to depend upon the extent of free will the soul had when taking their life. (I am going to argue that there is no such thing as free will in suicide.) Either way, the Jewish view does not relegate someone to a place of punishment and no second chances.

Thus is appears that the general consensus in Judeo-Christian views is that a soul doesn’t go to hell. My personal general view is that no person who commits suicide goes to hell, whether someone is saved or not. But, I believe this because I also believe in a God of second, third, fourth and even twenty ‘second’ chances. Suicide violates the 5th commandment and since all sins are forgiven, this one is also forgiven. This is my technical reasoning but I don’t even really believe in a God that is so legalistic.

My heart reasoning tells me that we have a God that is more loving and benevolent than any human could ever imagine or is even capable of imagining and so He gives that benevolence and love to all for the taking, no matter who they are or what they did. We cannot comprehend this level of benevolence or even why God might be so benevolent because our human minds are too limited to understand such things. Someone who commits suicide is someone in pain and in my personal opinion not even a sinner.

God is like the ultimate parent. If a child came to you in tears and was in extreme emotional pain, the last thing you would do is punish your child. Instead, you would scoop your child up in your arms and you would shower your child with love, doing everything in your power to wash your child’s pain away. This is who God is to us and he does not wish to punish us, but to scoop each of us up in his loving arms and to tell each of us that we are the love of his life and the apple of his eye. All of us are equal and equally loved in this respect.

 

The Five Stages of Grief

Unfortunately, there will come a point during the grieving process when you will blame yourself, bargain, and feel intensely guilty. This is part and parcel of the grieving process. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance make up the five stages of grieving.

Like any loss, whether the loss caused by an affair or the loss of a loved one, loss causes extremely uncomfortable feelings. There are published articles on this site about grief and you can find them here:  http://www.emotionalaffair.org/?s=grief&submit.x=0&submit.y=0

So, I wanted to specifically discuss how to work your way through grief. There are several helpful suggestions provided by Father Arnaldo Pangrazzi in his article Bearing the Special Grief of Suicide. 

He suggests the following:

  • Learn to live with unanswered questions
  • Allow time for bad memories
  • Acknowledge your feelings of anger.
  • Turn guilt into forgiveness
  • Accept the loneliness
  • Draw from your spiritual resources
  • Rebuild your self esteem
  • Be patient with yourself
  • Reach out to others (1)

As unfortunate as it sounds, we can only change our outlook on tragic situations. Going through the grieving process allows us to change our outlook. Become like the Phoenix and allow the grieving process to transform you. This doesn’t mean life will be perfect afterwards, but it does create a new beginning. You are the Phoenix poised for a renewal.

Many blessings to all of you on your journey.

 

Recommended books for you and grieving loved ones from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

Touched by Suicide: Hope and Healing After Loss
Michael F. Myers, M.D., and Carla Fine, Gotham Books, 2006.

The Wilderness of Suicide Grief: Finding Your Way
Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. Companion Press, 2010.

Suicide Survivors’ Handbook — Expanded Edition
Trudy Carlson, Benline Press, 2000.

Silent Grief: Living in the Wake of Suicide
Christopher Lukas and Henry Seiden, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2007

After Suicide Loss: Coping with Your Grief
Bob Baugher, Ph.D., and Jack Jordan, Ph.D., 2002. 

For the full list, please go to https://afsp.org/find-support/ive-lost-someone/resources-loss-survivors/books-loss-survivors/

 

Sources:

Father Arnaldo Pangrazzi. Bearing the Special Grief of Suicide.   From https://soslsd.org/resource/bearing-the-special-grief-of-suicide/

 

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Processing the Five Stages of Grief after Infidelity
Tips for managing each stage as well as important Do’s and Don’ts for each

Processing and moving through the stages of grief is a vital part of surviving and healing the trauma of infidelity. So vital in fact, that we’ve created a program that deals exclusively with this subject to help you effectively deal with the stages of grief after an affair.

 

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8 Responses to When Affairs Are Deadly: Suicide and Grieving

  1. TryingHard July 15, 2016 at 8:11 am #

    I don’t understand how people get themselves so deeply into trouble that their only choice is to end their lives. I do understand how one can hurt so badly they just want the pain to end and suicide is their only answer.

    When I served my h with divorce notice he was living with his sister. She came to my home that night frantic that he was crying and talking suicide. I was shocked. He left me saying he was in love with OW. Isn’t this what he wanted? I prayed that night to be led what to do. It came to me to go to his business and talk to him. It was the first time I left the house. First thing upon entering the building was the OW. I blew and yelled Get the fuck out of here. Lol she almost fell stumbling backward. Well you can imagine the mayhem that ensued as I turned into the formidable lioness!! She left after a lot of words and threats. I was relentless. And finally my h told her to leave the building. He denied the suicide talk but I knew he was lying. He was cold and it was a very difficult conversation but he learned that day that I loved him and was going to fight for our marriage and him. It took a while and there were several more conversations. But this was the first that put the fear of God into the OW.

    I don’t know if he was serious about suicide or not. But I do know he was so distraught of how deeply he’d gotten himself into his own created mess. I know he was certain that if I was aware of the depth of the betrayal I would or could never forgiven him. So like beckys husband he had done so many deceitful things he was pretty desperate and confused. Sometimes I think my confrontation was led by God, or his war making angel Archangel Michale, but I may have taken the first step that day in saving his life. He has since thanked me several times and says I don’t know how I “saved” his life. It’s weird I know. And like I said I don’t know how people get so deep in the mess that their only option is suicide. Life is all about second, third chances with God. But this is def the last chance with me. He gets himself into anymore lying and cheating messes Jesus will be the only one there for him.

    And I believe the same as you. God does forgive and embrace all. I also believe your vision. I had something similar after my mother died.

    Good post

  2. Sarah P. July 16, 2016 at 12:12 am #

    Hi TryingHard,

    I am happy that you confronted the other woman! You need to put the fear of God into these scandalous creatures. As for your husband, he was certainly on a self-destructive path. Is he on the straight and narrow and is the OW leaving him alone?

    Tell me about the vision you had with your mom if it is not too personal. I am always extremely interested in these accounts because I know in my heart they are real.

    • TryingHard July 16, 2016 at 4:33 am #

      My original intention was not to confront her, it was to talk to him. I can’t remember if I had tried before that day to talk to him. I knew if I showed up at the office he wouldn’t want a scene but as I said she was the first one I saw and I went after her. Sometimes I wish I’d have walked past her and straight to his office and shut the door. But what happened is what happened. She’s history. Point is I’m pretty certain he could have never handled a divorce and he did talk about ending his life. He’d gotten in way too deep with her financially and that’s just adds a whole layer to the infidelity. He would have lost everything in a divorce. The business could not have survived a divorce. The banks would have pulled their line of credit on him. When you own a small business your personal assets are part of their guarantee.

      Anyway the OW pushed for a restraining order on me which he drew up with his lawyer but never filed. I’d show up at the office a few times after that day but never made a scene or confronted her and she got fired a couple months after when we started reconciling. It was a mess.

      If you forward me your email address I will give you my account with my mother and my after physical death experience. It’s way to personal to put here but I wouldn’t mind sharing it with you privately.

      • Sarah P. July 16, 2016 at 10:14 pm #

        Hi Trying,

        If you want to privately forward Doug your email address then he can send it over to me. 🙂 I would love to hear your story about your physical death experience. I am a personally a firm believer in NDE’s and so I am sure whatever you went through is 100% real.

        That is quite a story about the OW. What you and your husband needed was a restraining order to protect you from the OW. From all the other things you said, she sounded like the worst kind if user on the planet (just like many other OWs out there.) I am glad that you confronted her. I know that people say confronting the OW is a mixed bag, but I err on the side of confronting the OW and putting the fear of God into her.

  3. Sarah P. July 16, 2016 at 1:21 am #

    Hello All,

    Sure has been quiet out there…

    How has everyone’s week been going?

  4. Becky July 16, 2016 at 7:16 am #

    Thank you from my very sore heart. My anger at my husband was seen and heard on the day he was found . I could do was cry and hold each of my 7 children and 3 of my grandchildren. I was so mad we as a family are still grieving the loss of Josh our son who died in November due to cystic fibrosis he was 31. Yes I am still mad at my husband his selfish choice to end his own pain has left everyone of us reeling in undeserved pain. I love him I miss him ,I am sad he left with no note just unanswered questions. My husband knew he must have fought this battle since his attempted suicide at 15 he alwYs said he would never do it again (I think he lied about most of what he said his whole life he was the type to say whatever it took to make you believe him) unfortunately he never trusted doctors and he refused to seek professional help . My husband was a lost soul his whole life . I recently read how cocaine causes brain damage to the brain in ways of long term use it damages the brains ability to have deeply emotional connections to anyone and it damages the brains ability to make moral judgements . In the past he used and abused cocaine I’m not sure but he tried lots of drugs experimenting . My husband was sexually abused as a child and teen yes he was a sex addict which perhaps led to his drug addictions he was an addict . My husband was robbed at gunpoint finiancially this wiped him out to a small business man $28,000 was all he had. The robbery 6 days before he shot himself (his business had been struggling since our son died) brought a paranoia I’ve never seen with him. He made a mess of his business it is bankrupt owing over 100,000 in debts and he left us to not only mourn him but we must try to fix the problems he couldn’t face. Your article was written to touch hearts and minds and I thank you very much. This is my life and suicide will NOT take any pain away all it does is leave innocent people with unanswered questions and a life of pain .Becky B

    • Sarah P. July 16, 2016 at 10:36 pm #

      Hello Becky,
      I am so sorry that you are going through all of this. There was a lot going on with your husband and it is starting to make sense. He sounds very much like my uncle in some ways. My uncle’s brain had been damaged by cocaine and it really changed his personality. Or else is made a existing personal demon that he was fighting grow and consume. That’s really too bad that your husband was sexually abused. He really was the biggest victim of them all and probably everything that he did in his life was to escape the pain. Unless someone has been through it, they cannot know the horrors of what it was like. I have not been through it but a colleague calls sexual abuse “soul murder.” She says that whatever soul the person has was damaged and changed by no fault of their own. Very sad. Sexual abuse is my number one pet peeve and is just a shade above infidelity. So much harm can come from acts that are sexual and it’s such a paradox. I hope that you are able to gain peace over the next few weeks. I am also so sorry about your son who had cystic fibrosis. I am so sorry that you lost him too. Big hugs, Becky, and you will be in my prayers.

    • TheFirstWife July 18, 2016 at 11:09 am #

      Dear Becky. I am so sorry you are in this position. Please recognize your H’s desperation. In his mind he could not face his life anymore. He felt utter despair and hopelessness.

      It was easier to die than stay alive and fight to turn his life around.

      We had a very unsettling incident a few years ago in our town. Somewhat similar to yours. The H was involved in cheating people out of $ (investment scam) and he was an attorney.

      You may have read about the family killing in Msrymand a few years ago. H killed his wife and 2 daughters in MD hotel room. The wife was my friend.

      When the H knew the Sh&);t was about to hit the fan he murdered his family. Wife and 2 daughters. He just could not face the shame, guilt, financial devastation and jail time. He could not bear to think of the hardships his family would face so he murdered them.

      That desperation and moment of reckoning is too much for some people. I hope you can find comfort in the fact that your H had so many issues (as you are now finding out).

      He never believed you would support him through it all. How sad HE didn’t get it. How sad HE didn’t see what was right in front of him – a wife and family who loved him.

      In his mind there was only one way out. How unfortunate.

      I hope you were able to get through the service on Saturday. I hope your children find some solace down the road that you did everything you could (and more).

      I hope you can heal a bit each day. Professional counseling can truly help.

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