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Still numb and in shock, but terrified of the guilt I will face

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My sweet love, Bubs, ended his battle with schizoaffective disorder a couple weeks ago. (Schizoaffective is schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.)


Did I see the signs? Of course! Red flags all over! There were always red flags. But I was probably in denial about how bad it got. I should have had him 5150d again. He would have lived a little longer but he would have been miserable in the hospital. He would have been angry. He would have killed himself eventually anyway.


So the guilt is there, but I know I'm not feeling it full force yet.


One thing a family friend said: It might help if you think about differently. He didn't kill himself. He was murdered by a disease.


The one thing I don't understand: "Suicide is selfish." What the fuuuh! Does not compute. If you can shed some light . . .

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Hi Meemzi. I'm so sorry for your loss. My fiancé also died by suicide 4 months ago, and there are so many questions and so much guilt that comes with this kind of loss. It's so frustrating to constantly think of what you might have done differently but not be able to change it. And yes, i hate it when people say that suicide is selfish. It minimizes everything they went through to get to that point and everything we're going through now, and it just isn't helpful.


I don't know if any of this is helping, but I just wanted to let you know you're not alone. If you want someone to talk to, send me a message anytime.

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I am so very sorry for your loss Meemzi.  I lost my husband of 20 years to bipolar depression 2 years ago.  The most helpful thing anyone said to me came from one of the local police officers who responded to our 911 call who had also been through a personal experience with suicide.  He told me not to focus on the guilt, but on how my love had helped to keep him in this life as long as he was.  My husband fought the disease for over 30 years.


I guess ''suicide is selfish" was coined to make those who are contemplating it to think about the destruction a suicide leaves behind, but I know how hard my husband fought his disease.  There are still days that I'm angry with him, especially when I see the kids having a bad day, but I know it was mental illness that claimed his life.


Wishing you peace.

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My deepest sympathies.


My late wife of 20 years suffered the same disease and same outcome. Her symptoms were pervasive and out in the open for the world to see for 18 years. We tried everything to reach some level of her living without symptoms - medication, therapies, involuntary and voluntary institutionalizations, prayer, hypnosis and on and on and on. I guess because of our reaching out to every possible treatment, I never felt much guilt.


It made no difference in her case. T's final outcome appeared to be carved in stone. The coroner took pains to explain to me that there was no other possible outcome in T's case. That even if I removed every possible means she would have found a way - and she did.


As far as the selfish aspect - I don't know what to say about that. She did die in such a way and place that my youngest son (9) was  guaranteed to find her destroyed body. He was very affected by that for years but I tried to not blame her.


I chose to believe it was the illness acting, not her.


Sometimes I thought "Who in their right mind . . .  .?" To ask the question is to answer it.


No one. :(


Best wishes - Mike

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My husband suffered from chronic depression. Though it was cancer- not suicide- that ended up killing him. Mental illness is just like any other disease- sometimes it's terminal. No matter how many cures we try to throw its way. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of stigma involved. I have known a few people who died from suicide and I never got the whole 'it's selfish' thinking either- makes no logical sense.


For what it's worth- feeling guilty affects many widowed no matter how their partner died and more people than you imagine will 'help you' try to figure out how getting cancer was your spouse's fault. It's best for us to remember that other people's reaction to suicide - or cancer- says everything about them and nothing about our partners.


I'm so sorry you need to be here with us.

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So sorry Meemzie. Yes the guilt is another thing to deal with in this horrible journey.


Bunny, you nailed it with the comment about the way other people will 'help you' figure it out. Suicide, cancer whatever the disease. In DHs case he died from lung cancer, yup first question out of their stupid mouth is did he smoke?  Really, so what if he did?  He didn't but asking that stupid question is like implying he deserved it if he smoked. My guilt is that I'm a stupid smoker, then the next thing people say is then it's from your second hand smoke.  Wow, that sure makes me feel better, only once again, no, I never smoked in the house.  Usually by this point I want to tell them to shut their stupid pie hole but I don't.

Only 20% of lung cancer patients smoked.


Stigmas are so hard to break

And then again you nailed it by saying "says everything about them and nothing about our partners" yes, yes and yes thank you for that Bunny!


Gentle hugs Meemzie

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Welcome to Young Widow Forum. Shortly after losing my wife to suicide in 2009, I wrote:


I have accepted that my wife's suicide was not about me or even her life circumstances. It was about illness. If medical science has learned anything in recent decades, it is that so many psychological/behavioral problems stem from physiological/biochemical abnormalities of the brain, many of which are genetically inherited. And if I learned anything during the past several decades with my wife, it is that clinical depression is a serious illness just as real as any other life-threatening illness, like heart disease or cancer. Unfortunately, it happens to be classified as mental illness, which makes it appear different. My wife died of a disease of the brain that impaired her thinking and her judgement. I take some comfort in accepting that she died, not by choice, but of natural causes.


And later, after meeting many other widows and widowers who lost their spouses to suicide or addiction, I concluded:


The great majority of adult deaths by suicide or addiction are not due to freely chosen, self-destructive behaviors or character flaws. They are instead the result of serious mental illnesses that often have a physiological/biochemical basis of genetic origin. Such illnesses may be chronic, life threatening, difficult to manage, and impossible to cure. And therefore, the great majority of Special Situations members here lost their spouses to illnesses just as real and deadly as those that took the lives of most other members' spouses.


Sorry for the traumatic loss that brought you here.


--- WifeLess

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Meemzi...so sorry for your loss and that you are now a member of our group.


It will be 4 years in a few weeks that I lost my husband to suicide.


For over 15 years I went thru the ups and downs of his illness with him- doing the same things others have posted they've done. 


The last few days with him were horrible- and similar to yours.


Even with all the help we tried to get and sticking by him -I still felt horrible guilt. Thanks to the lovely people in this group I've learned so much. But the most important is something you've already written. That he would have done it anyway.  He had a fatal illness..it was just a matter of time.


Still the guilt after the first few weeks was destroying me too. Thankfully I felt such an urge to go to church one day. I rarely ever go- but something pushed me to be there that day. The topic was about guilt. What I took away from going that day was...what purpose does guilt serve?- nothing...let it go.


I still went round and round some days- as I am sure all of must have done/still do...it's a lot to figure out and organize in your brain.


I used to pray for God to help him and heal him. I never thought He would call him home- but if that's God's will then I have to accept it. Only God can give a life or end a life.


If people ask me how he died- I just say It was God's will...because that is what I believe to be true. But it still hurt and I still felt guilty.

What gives me comfort is that the answer to my question will always be "YES!".

The question is...Is he OK now...


When I finally got to the end of my guilt- I decided- If my love could have saved him- he would have been the healthiest person ever.



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Thank you all for your replies.


He suffered a lot before his passing and it's a comfort to know that he isn't in pain anymore. It's the other side of the "Why didn't I do anything?" coin.


I think I'll find great comfort here.

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