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Puzzle Pieces and Life Preservers
Emotions & Challenges, Grief Journey, Losing a Spouse or Partner

Puzzle Pieces and Life Preservers

I had a tough morning. It’s been just over nine weeks, which I know is very early in the processing of my husband taking his life after a big argument. I know this will happen many, many times over the next weeks, months, and years. Immense tidal waves come crashing on me, leaving me gasping for breath. And at the very bottom of my soul, such a deep, deep ache that radiates upward through my heart and lungs, traveling down my shoulders and arms, leaving my skin feeling raw and pin-pricked.

Then, a life preserver is tossed my way. This morning it was the thought that I must call my friend to see if she might be free for a walk with my dogs and me. Feeling the need to just “be” with someone else. Knowing that, even in the presence of others, I will not escape that deep feeling of aloneness. They cannot help it. I understand that, unless they end up standing in this same brand of shoes, there is no way to feel or explain this dark foreign planet I am now on. But, I walk, and I talk, and I cry – and it helps a bit. Then, I feel the need to escape (now!) as the talk turns to jabber about everyday life, which I’m no longer a part of. And I cry alone in the car again.

Until another life preserver – an old army buddy of his calls me. I pull over and talk and cry, unleashing the water that’s filled my lungs from the last tidal wave, as he listens, and cares. He tells me that, a couple of phone calls ago, he had wondered if he had dementia. My husband could not recall anything about another close army friend he’d mentioned. I ask myself if this could be another puzzle piece. But I know I will never find every piece, and the puzzle will never be whole.

But I feel a bit better and know I am swimming away from the wave. So, I decided to stop at the ballpark to toss the ball and frisbee for my dogs. They are always full of joy while chasing, even though Mom is broken into a million pieces. I find myself smiling at that joy – another life preserver.

At home now, I will be still for a while as the seas calm. I know that there will be another wave again soon, and I will ride it to its crest with eyes wide open, searching for another life preserver or two, and swimming hard for it. They are out there. God bless them.

About the Author

Wisdom From Our Community

"Wisdom From Our Community" posts originally appeared on the Alliance of Hope Forum for Suicide Loss Survivors and are reprinted with the permission of the authors. Our online forum transcends time and distance, offering a culture of kindness, hope, and understanding to people who have lost loved ones to suicide. Operating like a 24/7 support group, our forum is supervised by a mental health professional and moderated by a trained team of loss survivors. Members can read and comment, share their stories, and connect with other suicide loss survivors.Read More »