When I wrote 10 Things You Should Know Before You Kill Yourself, I spoke from the only perspective I know — my experience as the wife of a man who took his own life. A lot of people respond negatively to that post claiming their situation is different because they are alone and will be forever. Somehow, they argue, this is a good enough reason to end their lives.
What they fail to understand, and what is not obvious in my post is that my husband was technically alone too. We were separated and had been estranged for a long time. I wasn’t the loving embodiment of a perfect wife. We had no children and his parents lived in another state with little contact.
So on paper it would be fair to assume no one would miss him much. But I can tell you that’s not true.
Even if you’re not in a loving, intimate, romantic relationship, even if you have no family, even if you go days without speaking to another person, if you die, you will be missed.
When the news of my husband’s suicide became known, my phone didn’t stop ringing. Everyone had the same message — we’re shocked, saddened and distressed.
I wish I had done more, talked more, paid attention and listened. He was great, I liked him, he helped me out.
When I went to the store, the shopkeeper had tears in his eyes; when I ended the lease on the house the real estate agent’s voice cracked with emotion; and online, a forum blew up with tributes and memories of my husband’s life.
Please don’t tell me you want to kill yourself because no one loves you — such deep, tangible love is rarely felt by anyone. The kind of love that surrounds you is silent and shy, reluctant to express itself until it is too late.
I didn’t love my husband but his suicide affected me profoundly. The same words echo in my head — I wish I had done more, paid attention, listened. I wish he had paused for a moment to consider the gaping hole he would leave in so many lives. I wish he had asked one of the scores of people who cared about him for help.
And I wish he was still here. I wish I could bring him back. But I can’t.
All I can do is perhaps convince you to stay.
Nobody loves me isn’t a good enough reason to kill yourself because no matter who you are, people care about you. We are here, listening, paying attention, holding our hands out to help. At least give us a chance to try.