My name is Abby. I am an intern with LOSS as I work towards a Masters in Social Work at Case-Western. I am also a suicide loss survivor, having lost my husband in September, 2015.

In a few weeks, it will mark 4 years since I lost my best friend and husband, Kevin. Truthfully, I’m in a good place with my grief journey. I haven’t fully healed, but I suppose I may never. I’ve accepted being forever just a little broken which holds a unique beauty, the kind of realness the Velveteen Rabbit discovered only after he was worn down by love.

It’s a strange experience to lose your husband at 23

It’s a strange experience to lose your husband at 23, an age where many people aren’t even married. Even stranger is the experience of grieving during a time in your life, the media-glorified “mid-20s,” where it feels like your life should be full of friendship, fun, and frivolity. Instead, I isolated myself, ate popcorn for dinner, and slept as much as possible. In essence, I basically cocooned myself like a caterpillar, coming home from work too exhausted from putting on a brave face to do much else. I hardly even remember much of the first year of my own grief journey other than a giant blur of delivery pizza, wearing pajamas to Kroger, and sleeping as much as humanly possible without being defined as comatose. Therapy and antidepressants broke through my numbness. God, family, good friends, and communities (like LOSS) gave me hope. Eventually, life was good again.

I’m here now, but truthfully, I wasn’t always here

As I am emerging from my comatosis state of grief, the world looks different. I can appreciate a beautiful sky or explore life events without a persistent pang of, “Kevin should be here. He would love this.” After the guilt of enjoying life subsided, I entered a new uncharted territory, just being. I’m here now, but truthfully, I wasn’t always here. Life was a constant state of survival, with the bare minimum of socially acceptable behavior. I just couldn’t participate in life.

Some dear friends and family members understood. These are the people I will hold dearly in my heart until the end of my days. They were the ones who called and left messages like, “I’m thinking of you. I don’t expect you to call me back. Love you.” They were the ones who hosted me for Christmas and let me lay on the couch the whole day, and still invited me back. I honestly was pretty terrible company.

All the baby showers, weddings, and birthday parties I missed

There were some in my life that stood far away from my grief, seemingly afraid of both me and any emotions I might bring, but welcomed me back into the world when I was ready. These people also hold a special place in my heart. They don’t seem to mind all the baby showers, weddings, and birthday parties I missed. I still carry so much guilt for missing these special events, but am thankful for the abundant grace these people have allowed me and continue to give me. 

Then, there are the relationships I’ve lost in this grief journey. They still bring me to tears when I think about their painful endings, even the insidious endings. I still pray regularly that these will be mended, or at least I can be forgiven.

I guess, what I’m trying to say is that my 20’s have not been typical by any means and sometimes it’s hard to relate to other millennials, but I can say that I love my life, and sometimes even myself. I loved the life I had with Kevin, and I love the life he is still very much a part of.

If you or someone you care about are struggling with suicidal thoughts please get help. 911 | 1-800-273-8255 | text “4hope” to 741741