Brett’s mother died last week and I did not go to the funeral today. Not because I didn’t want to..quite the contrary.
Some people mistakingly say she was my ex-mother-in-law, but my husband died of suicide..we did not get a divorce. She was my former mother-in-law, but even after Brett died I always felt like they were still my parents. I tried to make things work. I invited them over to the house, to lunch, gave them things of Brett’s, took pictures of Brett’s garden and sent them on Mother’s Day, and would remember to reach out on special occasions and the anniversary of Brett’s death (though I don’t like to call that an anniversary). It was always me reaching out, never the other way around. I learned in my support group that people grieve differently, so I continued reaching out..hoping we could continue a relationship.
About a year ago was the last time I spoke with his stepdad. My former father-in-law’s last words to me were, “We do not want to know anything you have found out about Brett, Lindsey. We want to keep our memories of him the way they were. Take care.” I felt a lot of mixed feelings…mainly hurt, but was hopeful that one day they would return. I stopped reaching out at that point to give space.
Last week, I asked a family member to ask my former father-in-law if it was ok for me to come to the hospital where he was at, after she had died. I wanted to be there for him. I was 2 minutes away from the hospital when the family member informed me that my former father-in-law did not want to interact with me at this time. Today was her funeral and I did not go because I do not feel welcomed, I didn’t want to cause more stress on the family, I feel abandoned, and lots of deep hurt. I don’t even know what she died from..
What did I do wrong? Is it because I speak up on suicide prevention and don’t want others to go through what I have? I was their daughter too and I feel abandoned in so many ways. I was hurt in so many ways. I really don’t want people to comment on this post to tell me what they think the parents are feeling…I’m telling you what a former daughter-in-law feels like..what it feels like to be a widow of suicide. Sometimes I feel like a contagious disease that a lot of people do not want to be around. Brett’s police department abandoned me, his parents..and yes, sometimes I struggle that Brett did the same too.
My former mother-in-law was a very giving, eccentric, loving person who was in a lot of hurt after her son’s suicide. She is hurting no longer. Today I wanted to wear the necklace she gave me after Brett and I married, but I couldn’t quite get it around my neck this morning. Glad I’m at work today.
Thank you Prevent Suicide PA, EveryDayMatters, and R.Y.A.N. (Remember You’re Always Needed) for donating prevention resources to the art exhibit, Faces After Suicide! I will make sure to add your resources tomorrow to the exhibit at the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center. Viewers are listening..and it doesn’t matter that resources or viewers are from out of state or country. People are seeing that wherever they are, organizations care and they can get help if they are in need
If you were blamed or blamed yourself for someone’s suicide, reply #blamedtoo and please share. Suicide and blame go hand in hand. It’s time to let ourselves and people know it’s not anyone’s fault. Suicide is no one’s fault. If someone is contemplating suicide they are suffering from a real medical emergency and need help.
At 6:30pm tonight I’ll be doing an author signing for my book, “Goodnight Mr. Vincent Van Gogh,” to support R.Y.A.N. (Remember You’re Always Needed). Linda’s son Ryan ended his life at the age of 18 and she is passionately working on suicide prevention by holding a soccer game at Scheels soccer complex. All donations are going to www.everydaymatters.com. You will see me with the SASS-MoKan – Suicide Awareness Survivor Support table. Hope to see you there! #postventionisprevention #abovetherug
Opening weekend to my traveling art exhibit, Faces After Suicide, was a huge endeavor, but completely worth it. It took me over 3 years to create and wouldn’t have happened without all the support from family, friends, and the heart of Kansas City welcoming everyone, Joel B. Nichols. The exhibit is doing exactly what I envisioned and way, way, more. Art Connects. Thank you Leedy-Voulkos Art Center for allowing the exhibit to be in your beautiful space until September 29th, for helping me, and for staying above the rug. Also, thank you to all the prevention organizations who were able to be present for guests to talk with and learn from. SASS-MoKan – Suicide Awareness Survivor Support Greater Kansas American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Chapter, Solace House, Cosplay For Hope, Johnson County Suicide Prevention Coalition, Mission 22, Hope For The Day, NAMI Kansas, Headquarters, Inc.
Art Speak Radio Interview..