September 11th conjures something in all people old enough to remember that particular event in 2001, it was horrifying, unbelievable and yet it was true. I remember being a 15-year-old, stunned by the scenes of terror, carnage and devastation and then later the sight of the tears of those people who had lost a loved one. It made an impression without a doubt, how could it not? We all live in a world that was born on that day and its consequences still ripple.
But on September 11th 2017, I awoke to a day that would change me forever, the truth I didn’t know then and in a way maybe I never will is that I didn’t change; the person I was died that day. She died in a split second, when my eyes adjusted to the darkness of our Garage and the brightness of the autumn sun obscured for a second the life I was going to be born into. Only recently I have begun to remember that instant, and what I saw!
I saw the body of my 28-year-old husband, father of my three children, the love of my life and the man I had spent the last ten years of my life with. He had hung himself from a beam in the garage. He left no note, there was not sign to anyone that he had even been depressed or disturbed. It wasn’t a spontaneous act, he purchased a rope a week previously and rigged a gallows with a counter weight; in a way he was an engineer to the end. He perfectly executed himself and died of a broken neck instantaneously.
In that moment I saw and did not believe. I lost every dream of the future, I lost the person I trusted and loved most in the world and only recently have I understood… in that moment I lost me. The person, who I had been for 31 years was as dead as the man in front of me. I can only take the account of my neighbours that the noise I made was something so awful it defies description. For months I couldn’t remember a thing about that day, I lost a week of my life.
In many ways my life would be easier if that moment had remained gone, but it didn’t, it started to slowly come back over the months since his death. At the funeral, the last intimate moment I had with him was when Ed Sheeran’s song “All of the Stars” was played and I laid a white rose on his coffin. The crematorium was so crowded they had to have screen to play it to people outside. I was oblivious, I got up; walked towards the coffins head and placed my hand on the cold wood, I hadn’t told anyone what I intended to do. I didn’t know if my courage would hold and I didn’t want to be a weeping spectacle.
But my courage did hold, I stood there with my back to everyone, my face to box that contained the body, hopes and dreams of us. I whispered something which will remain private but I laid the rose and placed a final kiss. Little did I know that grief actually begins when the curtain closes. My feelings on grief before and after Stuart’s passing have changed, I had no Idea grief was a physical pain. It is an actual pain for which there is no cure, no pain relief, no escape. You simply have to endure the horror and terror of not knowing yourself, doubting everything and knowing that you have no option but to either sink or swim!
Suicide was described to me as grief with the volume turned up, it most certainly is. I miss his voice, his smell, laugh, messiness, his everything. He left me with an 8-year-old daughter, a 6-year-old son and a 13 month old daughter at the time of his death. I never intended to raise these children as a single parent, I often believed before his death that I was a just about adequate parent at the best of times. Now I have no choice to be the best I can be. They don’t know he how he died they were told his “brain was broken” like some people die of broken hearts. I am living with a broken heart and yet the world continues despite our loss, we only have today; tomorrow never comes and as for yesterday it doesn’t really matter – its gone like dust in the wind.
I hate Stuart, I love Stuart, I want him back if only for a minute to say I love you My Lobster. Maybe in another life we’ll get it right, but in this one I am left picking the pieces of the one he decided to shatter. Suicide is taboo, but in my own experience of it- it was the single most courageous act he ever did, AND it was the most selfish act he ever inflicted on his children, me and the wider ripple of people it has touched. I don’t advocate suicide, there is always a way out even if you can’t see it; TALK, SPEAK OUT!!! There is someone out there who will guide you to the door that leads to life.
I’ve though a lot about what Stuart did, about the effect it has taken on people all around me. Yes I’m angry but overall it’s always love I return to. If there is an afterlife, my first words won’t be of hate or anger but of love. Love is more powerful than hate, it’s why we grieve, its why death hurts those left behind; however that death occurs. Time is said to be healer, maybe its true, maybe it isn’t but I can say this with complete truth. I would grieve forever and suffer this pain twice fold if the alternative was that I never got to have 10 years with him.
One day can’t destroy those 10 years of memories, they are happy, sad, joyful but most of all he stood beside me through all of them. I met Stuart when he was 18 years old, I watched him turn from boy to man, I didn’t see his pain, his internal conflict. That will haunt me but as a know now 4 months past his death, Life has to go on and now I need to find a way stand alone!