When my husband took his life, he left a suicide note nailed to the stair post. On finding my husband, the last thing on my mind was reading this note.
To this day, I am unaware of the full contents of the suicide note. Despite asking a number of times, the Police have not advised me even though I’m ‘next of kin’, and even though they were more than willing to disclose the contents verbally to a ‘3rd party’ (in contradiction of Coroner procedures). This questions the personal judgement of the Investigating Officer.
The few details I have been advised of make it perfectly clear that my husband blamed me for his death. The note said I ‘destroyed his life’. That is a lot of guilt to reconcile.
But it also begs the question – how much of his suicide was down to irrational desperation, and how much was due to rational revenge? This question is constantly going through my mind and I will never get an answer. Depending on which way the wind is blowing on any particular time of the day, it makes me question whether I am able to continue loving my husband in his death. Because many times I feel like I actually hate him. Was any inadvertent actions on my part so heinous that I deserved to be blamed for his suicide, to find him and constantly picture what I saw, to be seen as the only party that was at fault? I know I wasn’t perfect; my husband has made that perfectly clear. Who out there is perfect though in every aspect of their life? My husband certainly wasn’t perfect but I didn’t expect him to be. For the majority, our marriage was very loving and very close and I was willing to accept/live with his imperfections because I loved him. My husband obviously didn’t feel the same. He had a number of options during his final minutes – he could have phoned someone for help and clarity; he could have left me; he could have held on to the thought of working on our marriage as we discussed the day before he took his life. But he didn’t – he killed himself and made sure he exacted revenge on me in those final moments. That’s not the person I knew and loved for the past 17 years of my life because, no matter how wrong I may have been in our marriage, I’m not sure it could ever match or warrant what he’s done in taking his life and the effect this has had. People may see me as evil; this part of my husband that I don’t know is evil too. It’s going to take a long time for me to forgive this side of him immaterial of how much desperation may have played a part. Maybe as long as it’s going to take me to forgive myself.
For at least the past 3 years, my husband had withdrawn from various means of social interaction. I knew why because he talked about it to me. He had become very sensitive to the views and actions of others, and was massively suffering from self doubt and dislike of himself. He knew I would understand because I was very similar.
Approximately a year ago, I had a bad episode of depression. At first we were at loggerheads because he didn’t recognise it, but when I eventually went to the Doctor, David became his usual very supportive self in helping me. This lasted for a couple of months before it started affecting our marriage. Because as a result of my depression and/or aim in recovering, I lost a lot of weight and had to buy clothes to compensate for this, started to socialise every couple of months (I was generally a recluse), became interested more in politics, and used social media as a means of preoccupation. Eventually I started to gain some self-confidence, at least on the surface, because this is something I’ve always seriously lacked. My husband found all this very difficult to live with. It tremendously impacted on his view of me and his own insecurities; he told me he felt threatened. This was not remotely my intention and I frequently told him this. I tried to explain to him it was purely symptoms of my recovery from depression and did not affect how much I loved and appreciated him. I was only trying to deal with my own depression and just needed time. Unfortunately, it’s only on reflection that I realise my husband could not accept or rationalise all this. I seemed to become an obsession for him, to the extent that he told me I was his life and he had nothing in reserve. I would not have seen how severely this was affecting him at the time because I lived with it every day and became used to it. That’s not my fault, that’s life and part of being in a marriage where both good and bad things occur. You just weather it. I’m not sure my husband realised how bad he was either; there’s a part of me that thinks he would have gone to the doctor if he had, like he did in 2010. What I know is that no matter what I did or said, my husband’s perception was totally at odds with my own. This is the point at which we should have sought professional help. But we didn’t.
Ultimately, David’s own insecurities did affect me. David had put me on a pedestal (that I didnt want to be on) and I couldn’t live up to his expectations of me. I couldn’t be what David wanted me to be in order to make him feel secure because it would have undone all the work I had done to recover from my own depression. I wanted him to accept the happier more confident Anthea and see the benefits to both of us. But David couldn’t. I don’t believe this was his fault. It was his own obvious battles with depression fighting against my own. The end result, however, was that I felt like I had a husband who only felt glory and security when I was in the pits of depression. A husband who felt he needed to try and control my life in order to achieve his own security. He never meant it like this; he told me in the days before his death. I know he was like this because of how much he loved me. But it did create pressure which I found difficult to handle, and which resulted in my fighting against him trying to control my life. My husband saw me as a wife who didn’t have any concern for his needs or feelings, who saw his point of view but was selfishly intent on living her own life. Neither of us meant such negativity towards the other, but we both were unable to find the solution or compromise.
Events did take a turn for the worse. My husband did have reason to hate me although I’m not sure he could ever have hated me as much as I hate myself. But to kill himself? And then to blame me? Is any person worth killing themselves over in the first place, to the point that you totally ignore the effect on other persons such as friends and family? I don’t think so. I certainly wasn’t worth it and never wanted to be. No one should mean so much that it could result in such devastating consequences. And nobody should ‘need’ somebody to this extent. That is not what love should be. What I do know is that the whole situation has been a tragic series of events that could rival a Shakespearian tragedy. The difference being that Shakespeare’s tragedies were fiction, whereas mine is very real and a living hell.