Nash’s Note: Introducing this guest post is one of hardest ones I’ve had to do. There’s not many words I’m able to find that’ll properly welcome you here, so I’ll keep it simple. Michelle is someone I’ve known for about two years now, and her story is one that continues to break my heart each time I think about it. Last October, she lost her husband to suicide. The fact that she has the strength to even share this testimony with us is so powerful. I’m beyond thankful.
After struggling with the realization of losing my husband to suicide, I needed to do something to deal with the heartache; the loss. I joined a faith based group called Enjoy Recovery. This is a twelve-step program that aids in helping with a variety of life issues including addiction, abuse and an assortment of anxieties, obsessions, and fear. I had to try something. At the end of the session, some of the members were given the opportunity to give a testimony of their journey. This is what I shared with the members and their loved ones on graduation night.
On Thursday, October 25, 2018, my life, my whole world stopped. The thousands of beautiful happy memorable pieces that made up the picture on the puzzle box cover like a family photo album had been suddenly and violently scattered, ripped up, lost and soaked up in tears and blood beyond any recognition. This April 25th will be six months since my husband took his life. There are so many various aspects that surround this incident, but I am not here to give you these details.
Initially, my thoughts were “I have messed up my life so much, I was being punished.” And “How can God let this happen?” There were many questions and thoughts racing through my mind. I was lost, hurt, confused, and mad. We held a memorial service for my husband for friends and family. After everyone flew back home, I was left struggling to figure things out — but the more time I spent doing this, the more depressed I became. I wanted time to stop and the world to pause, because I wanted/needed to mourn. I had just lost the other half of me; my best friend. I knew that I could not stay stuck where I was. I made the decision to get some help and also join E.R. At first, I wrestled with the reasoning behind joining. I questioned everything. I mostly wanted to know, “How was I supposed to give my broken heart to God?”
I continued doing the steps and even paraphrasing the chapters into my own words as a way to grasp a better understanding. I would like to tell you that all of the questions surrounding the “why” have been answered. I would also like to tell you that I’ve gotten through everything and that is why I am here today giving my testimony, but the real truth is that every day is still a big struggle, and sometimes, I feel like I don’t even want to get out of bed.
About half way through our steps, I stumbled across the revelation that I was still mad at God and harboring animosity. I felt hopeless. Nothing in my life was ever going to work again. I was still working the steps and coming to class. I had no clue what my life was supposed to look like. My days were quiet and empty and my nights were long and lonely. I was so mad at God. I felt like He could have stopped this tragedy from happening. My grief counselor suggested that I try to envision God in the middle of all the events of that night. As hard as I tried, there was no sign of him. No sign of him in my pleas to my husband, begging him to stay with me. He was not in our bedroom when my husband picked up the gun and loaded the chamber. He was not there to give me the strength to pry the gun from my husband’s grasp. I didn’t see him there as I knelt over my husband’s body even though I cried out to him over and over. I had never felt so alone.
Realizing all of this enabled me to begin searching. My prayer time, worship and devotional time became intentional daily. I moved from questioning “Why me?, Why my family?” to “Where were you God?” — I was at the point of wanting to hear God’s answer. I was past the point of hearing well-meaning people console me with, “Your husband is no longer suffering.” This only left me feeling as if it was my turn to suffer.
Joining E.R. allowed me to not only meet new people but also allowing them in whereas before I wanted to just be stuck in my own broken-heartedness. I didn’t want to share my grief. I believed that no one really wanted to get to know me; no one wanted anything to do with my sadness. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Once I realized I needed to open up, the friendship and love poured out to me and have truly helped me and have had a huge impact on me and my daily life. Because of the friendships and the love, I now feel I still have some living to do. Getting through this program in order to honor God with my life is just one hurdle I’ve overcome during an unbelievably unbearable time, but choosing daily to live and live with a purpose is the main objective. The loss that I’ve endured is not something I can overcome and leave behind. It will stay with me as I move forward. Choosing to move forward productively following God’s will is just one answer given to me in my journey.
The last answer came during a First Thursday service in our church. During one of my most precious time spent with God, He helped me to see that he is always with me. As I kneel in the middle of worship at the altar, my eyes closed. I feel warmth on my shoulders — I am back in my bedroom on that night in October, kneeling. My husband is there lying on the floor. There’s no blood. My eyes are open. I see no blood, just my dear sweet husband as I am kneeling over him as I was that October night. There is a warm, glowing light, shining over us. My God is there. He is there to take my husband home.