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Roller Coaster

Survivor Experience: Ride of My Life

I hate this roller coaster ride. It was not my choice to ride. I was pushed into it. Sometimes the ride is fine and at first I feel okay. “I can get through this,” I say to myself. Then out of the blue –like a sneaky trick –I am plunged into a dark hole that is so terrifying I have to use all my strength to hang on for dear life. The timing is unpredictable. In a twitch of an eye, the plunge starts in the middle of a job meeting, at a red light, in a store, with friends or not with friends. Alone or not alone. This is exhausting and I feel like a used worn wet rag.

The ride has a sadistic sense of humor. It doesn’t want me on alone so it sends others to keep me company. Their names are Guilt, Anger, and Depression. They are very friendly. They each have their own personality and want me to join in with them.

Guilt tells me, “It’s my fault, I should of been more aware and less self-absorbed.” Then Anger screams loudly to Guilt so I can hear him too, “It may be her fault but he should have never abandoned her like that!” Then my new companion, Depression chimes in sadly and says over and over “You both are right so why bother with anything –even living–because now nothing really matters.” These new companions never fail to point out something I didn’t realize or remember. They seem to make sense of this tragedy and I almost give in and believe them.

But then along the sidelines and in the stands I hear a team, people of all ages on the Alliance of Hope forum, male and female, each with different viewpoints and beliefs. Like one voice I hear them faintly at first and then more loudly. They say, “No, don’t believe them. They are not your friends! Your loved one was ill and didn’t mean to hurt you. Your loved one was in pain and wanted the pain to end. You would have done anything you could at that time to help. Don’t beat yourself up it is not your fault. You cannot control or make choices for others. They made their own choices good or bad. They would not really want you to suffer so much over this. Be kind and gentle with yourself. Cry and just breathe. It will be alright. Drink water and eat something nutritious. We’ve been through this and can help you get through this too. We will always believe you and support you. Always!”

Listening to this team, a warm feeling grows and gives me hope. I start to feel like I am getting stronger and want to trust and live again. I know deep down they are right and what they say is truth. My former companions Guilt, Anger and Depression start to fade into the background and the roller coaster becomes slower, steadier and more on an even keel and I want to get off.

Everyone here is that one voice -the Alliance of Hope team. You told me all these things and cared, loved and believed in me even when I couldn’t believe in myself. This Memorial weekend I want to say thank you all for helping me get my life back. You all are in my thoughts and prayers. I love you all. God Bless.

HomeyTheresa’s essay was originally published on the Alliance of Hope forum for suicide loss survivors and was reprinted with permission. HomeyTheresa lost her husband to suicide.