Dear Coleen: I’m struggling to come to terms with wife’s suicide

Dear Coleen

On June 23 my wife committed suicide. I found her hanged in the garage on that Sunday morning. It’s a scene that will haunt me for the rest of my life. I was absolutely distraught, shocked and upset. I just didn’t see it coming.

We’d had a lovely Saturday afternoon – barbecue, bit of music, a few drinks. I’d just booked a holiday to Kefalonia, and the week before we’d been to a lovely hotel for her birthday.

I blame myself for not seeing there was a problem and getting her the help she needed. But I’m also angry with her for not talking to me, for not letting me help her.

She was a wonderful woman, only 56 and had everything to live for.

She had no money worries, a lovely house, holidays every year and she does this. I’m so confused.

It’s not getting any easier and I think about her every minute of the day.

I’ve gone back to work offshore from Blackpool and it’s helped being with the company again. But at home I’m so lonely. Part of me thinks I have to move on and my late wife would want that.

But I know my 28-year-old daughter would resent anyone who isn’t her mum, which I understand.

In truth, I can’t see myself with anyone else, but growing old alone worries me. People remind me it’s only been four months and I need more time. Any advice would be helpful.

I think you’re expecting too much of yourself too soon. I know it might be tiresome hearing people say, “it’s only been four months”, but after the trauma of your wife’s suicide, it is going to take time to come to terms with it.

You have to sit with grief and allow your mind and body to heal, and you’ll have good days and bad days.

I think you need professional support through counselling. Visit the website of bereavement charity Cruse, which has details of support services for those coping with bereavement by suicide.

And speak to your GP too. When someone we love dies by suicide, the grieving process can be more complex and even more difficult to resolve.

From your letter, I can tell how raw your emotions are – one minute you’re devastated, the next you’re angry and then you’re talking about meeting someone else.

You need to work through all of that.

What happened wasn’t your fault and it wasn’t your fault that you didn’t spot the signs.

It’s a tragedy that’s left devastation and confusion in its wake and you need help with that.

I know it can be hard to ask for help, but no one expects you to get through this with a stiff upper lip – it’s OK not to be OK.

You and your daughter can support each other too.

It sounds like going back to work has been positive, but you also have to give yourself time to grieve without putting too much pressure on yourself.

Wishing you all the best.

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