Support thread: Husband suicide

(23 Posts)
dilys4trevor Sun 31-Jan-16 09:00:36

I wanted to start a support thread on suicide, for anyone touched by it really, but particularly those who have lost a husband or partner and are now wondering how to bring up children.

My story: my husband committed suicide on the 13th January this year, throwing himself in front of a tube, leaving three children under 7. We had recently informally separated after a very bad year where he had treated me with cold disregard but had refused to leave. An affair at the place we both worked (where I am the MD) had recently emerged and it was clear to me that he was still lying about the nature of that. He had been begging to be taken back, dismissing the affair as just enjoying attention from someone who thought he was great. But to me, it wasn't just about that, it was about a year of poor behaviour towards me and neglect of his children. He seemed to me to have become an extremely self serving and self regarding person with a real unpleasant streak. I had been wavering but knew really he should be out of our lives. I had felt strongly he shouldn't have the children over night until he had sorted out his drinking (serious) and his erratic behaviour.

On the morning he did it (because the evidence he was lying about the affair, hitherto dismissed as a couple of snogs, was mounting) he admitted that he had been having sex with her for about a year. He begged for forgiveness and said he was going to sort out his problems around needing attention, but it all felt a bit empty to me and I wasn't convinced on the depth of his commitment. There was something not right about him and that had been the case for a year. He had seemed to lose all ability to empathise or use logic. I can't really explain it. I asked him to resign to show some decency and he took umbrage, becoming a bit aggressive and unrepentant, panicking about his career and being very irrational, saying he would be working in McDonalds and the gossip about this girl would follow him everywhere (I think he was actually most embarrassed because of who she was, rather than what it said about him: she was young, in a bit of a rubbish job and not particularity attractive...and he was obsessed about his reputation and image generally). It was clear to me he wasn't to be trusted and that his focus was not on me but on his career (which would have been fine anyway) and couldn't be consistent so I said we had nothing more to say. Then he did it shortly after.

I got great advice from our marvellous school in telling the children (I told them the truth, although not about the affair) and they have been fab. I am having counselling every week and the children will start too in a few weeks, both at school and through BUPA. Financially, there are some hoops to jump through but we will be considerably better off as a result of his death (than even if he were still alive and we had stayed together).

I have the funeral to get through on Friday. I also have problems with his family as I have discovered from his email account that they had been very negative towards me during the period of estrangement just before his death. Their 'support' since his death had been stifling and not helpful and so I asked them all to back off. Finding out they were so ready to believe the worst of me, when it was my husband who had been so clearly badly behaved, really just gives me more of a concrete reason not to spend too much time with them (his dad's involvement with the children had always felt very superficial).

So that is it really. My career feels like it is in tatters (this girl has been at our work, where I was the MD and it turns out alot of people had suspected at the back end of last year. They were certainly know all now). And I am worried sick about the children (I keep worrying about what happens if I die, keep worrying one of them will die and I am sad that I may never have a 'normal' family life or a partner again). Good news is I have tons of friends and a loving family.

Anyway, it would be good to hear from other people in a similar place or who have been touched by suicide. One of the things I might do is see a clinical psychologist or similar, to understand a bit more about why it may have happened. Was he mentally ill or just a huge twat, who did it almost to punish me and everyone else for his own mistakes? I will never know.

GRW Sun 31-Jan-16 20:32:56

I am so sorry for your loss, it must be hard to get your head round it. It sounds like you are doing everything right with regards to your children. It is better for them to hear the truth in language they can understand from you, than to hear it from outside sources you have no control over. My sister took her own life after a relationship ended, and my mother did blame her ex partner and found it hard to be around him. I didn't feel any anger towards him. Your husband was responsible for his own actions.It is true that you will never know what was on his mind at the end, and do that is hard to come to terms with when you need answers. It sounds as if his alcohol problem was clouding his judgement and behaviour. I am glad you have got support from family and friends, and hope the arrangements for the funeral are going ahead without too much conflict with his parents.

dilys4trevor Sun 31-Jan-16 21:51:59

Thanks GRW. I'm sorry to hear about your sister. Did you ever find out much about her last hours and days or get to the bottom of it? I have been doing that 'searching for clues' thing relentlessly

MamaTeeTee Sun 31-Jan-16 22:05:16

So sorry to hear about your loss. I lost my lovely husband to suicide between xmas and new year although his body wasn't recovered until January 9th. His funeral was on Wednesday and it was simply beautiful. DH has a substance abuse problem which drove us apart the last few months. I am not mourning the loss of the person my husband has been the last few months. I am mourning the loss of a true gentleman who I genuinely believe to be my soul mate. He left behind me and our DC (4and5).
So much we will never know.

How are you bearing up? How are the children.

dilys4trevor Sun 31-Jan-16 22:39:49

I'm sorry to hear about your lovely DH. I'm wondering if I will ever be able to get past my anger at last year and at the suicide to mourn the good bloke he used to be. The kids are ok. Youngest is 18 months and she is fine. 5 year old seems good. Tonight I asked him if he had been thinking about daddy much over the weekend (he was at my parents') and he said 'no, not til you just said it.' My 7 year old is the one I will need to watch. Tonight we hugged and had a good cry. My DH and his whole family are very emotionally distant whereas I wear my heart on my sleeve, as does my family. I so want the children to be emotionally open as I believe it stands you in such good stead. I talk and talk when things go wrong and it's almost like i eventually talk the hurt or worry away. I tried to explain this to my eldest tonight. We talked about how crying in front of people is a sign of strength. How are yours doing? Are they talking much?

MamaTeeTee Mon 01-Feb-16 08:44:42

DS (4) talks about him but hasn't shed a tear at all. He knows he's not coming back but he doesn't understand the concept of life and death. He struggles to understand emotions. To be honest I suspect he is on the spectrum as there are lots of other characterstics that would fit in with that.
Dd (5) is breaking her heart. She cried her heart out last night and said "I need something to calm me down". That is the worst part for me - I can cope with my own grief but hers just breaks me. She was such a daddy's girl. He was amazing with them both. There is such an empty feeling at home. DD and I aren't sleeping very well. We are going away for 4 nights today so I'm hoping that will help.
Next weeks mission is sorting out probate. He didn't have a will. We are both Young (DH 30 and I'm 24). Just doesn't seem right. I have no idea where to begin with the probate. I'm sure dH wiped his arse with his paperwork as he literally has none at home.

dilys4trevor Mon 01-Feb-16 09:37:17

Mama, my husband didn't have a will either (he was 36). I have hired a lawyer to apply for a Grant Of Probate to ensure everything goes within my control. The law says that when there is no will, everything in his estate (what's in his account, any life assurance not in trust, savings etc) goes half to the wife and the rest half and half to the wife and the kids. I'm applying for probate so I can have it all in my control and not have some of it sat in trust til the kids are 18 (which is the worst time ever to come into money!). Everything I do is for them anyway. Does he have a big estate? I'm about to do the bank account which for some reason I was massively putting off

MamaTeeTee Mon 01-Feb-16 10:00:40

No he didn't have a big estate. We have a joint mortgage on the house we live in and he has a buy to let in his own name which has approx 40k equity in it. And he has overdrafts to pay off out of that (approx 5k).
He also has a buy to let joint with his dad but unfortunately his dad automatically inherits all of that which is shit because we put about 20k deposit into that (I say we, it was dH but you know what I mean).
I am considering using a solicitor to sort out the probate as I have a sneaky feeling MIL will try contesting it.

dilys4trevor Mon 01-Feb-16 10:24:57

Oh yes, definitely do hire a lawyer. Mine is only 100 quid an hour and he said it will take him only about that to fill in the probate form for me. And he has given me tons of free advice already over the phone. He is based in Sussex but comes to London a fair bit. Do you want his details?

Babyroobs Mon 01-Feb-16 19:33:09

So sorry to read about your loss Dilys and Mama, my heart goes out to you and your children. I lost a work colleaugue to suicide a few weeks ago and am finding the guilt hard to deal with. She had been through some difficult times. I had tried to get her to get some help but she refused and then stopped getting in touch. I can't stop thinking I should have done more. I know it is not on the same level as losing a husband but the guilt feels all consuming. This is the seconfd friend I have lost to suicide in the past few years .The number of suicides I am hearing about/ reading about is just tragic.

dilys4trevor Mon 01-Feb-16 19:55:40

There is nothing you could have done. I have realised this. I had told my husband time and time again that he could still see the children, that he wasn't going to get fired and I had even given him hope we might get back together. I'd also told him he desperately needed to get help for his problems. I believed him to be doing so but I found out when I went into his email after he had died that he was instead forwarding my emails to a lawyer, saying I was out to get him. It was like it didn't matter how many times he was told stuff, he wouldn't believe it. It wouldn't have mattered what you said or if you had gotten in touch. If someone is of a mind to do this they will find a final-straw reason and find a way

Borninthe60s Mon 01-Feb-16 20:19:16

Mama - is the house with DH's DF owned as joint tenants (upon death the other inherits) or tenants in common (upon death the % owned by the deceased falls under terms of the will). Might be worth checking. Glad to see you are still here too as your original post has gone.
OP - sorry for the above hijack. I believe from the things,you've posted that your husband was mentally ill and suffering with paranoia and this will have clouded his judgement.

To you both, I am very sorry life has dealt you and your family this blow X

OwlCurrency Mon 01-Feb-16 20:32:54

Hi OP. I lost my father to suicide when I was eighteen. He had been very up and down throughout his life. I believe that this was not his first attempt. He had just split up with his third wife. I think he just couldn't cope and it was as simple as that. It's not something I puzzle over and over, but it did take me some years for my mind to be at rest over it. I am not angry with him, but I wish that things could have been different for him. It was hardest for his younger children, who were three and seven at the time. I suspect it will be hard for them as they won't have the emotional maturity to process it. As you know, it's difficult for an adult to understand. But it isn't impossible for them to overcome it. Don't make it a taboo. Don't focus on negative things about him ever, as they will take criticism of him as a judgement on themselves. He was a good person who struggled and became overwhelmed with bad feelings. It's very common. He isn't suffering anymore, which is a positive to hold on to.

dilys4trevor Mon 01-Feb-16 20:57:55

Yes I am being very positive about him without heroising. And I am telling them they can ask me anything. I bring up happy memories often and mention him also in a neutral way ('oh, yes I remember that, daddy was there too wasn't he?'). He had been a good man once, he can't have been pretending all those years. It was like the whole of last year he had lost the ability to empathise with me, like totally. And in the last few weeks, lost all logic.

OwlCurrency Mon 01-Feb-16 22:26:42

It sounds like he had completely retreated from life.

Your kids may be frightened that this indicates some kind of deficit in them, which they might express to you. It's the kind of worry I and my siblings have had.

dilys4trevor Mon 01-Feb-16 22:50:14

Do you mean they will fear this mental issue has been passed biologically on to them? Or that they will worry he felt that way because of something they did? I'm so sorry you obviously went through this Owl as a child. Was there anything your mum did or didn't do in reaction that made a difference? I'm so worried for them. Have you made your peace with it?

dilys4trevor Mon 01-Feb-16 22:51:03

Sorry for all the questions! I don't mean to pry x

DancingDinosaur Mon 01-Feb-16 22:55:51

I lost my dh, but to cancer not suicide. Still the same issue of bringing up children alone though. Big hugs to you.

dilys4trevor Mon 01-Feb-16 22:57:37

Owl, apologies, just saw your previous post and it is clear you have made your peace ( I don't even really know what that means btw).

OwlCurrency Tue 02-Feb-16 12:34:07

You aren't prying at all!

They'll worry because they are genetically his children. Knowing that someone so close to you has done something like that makes you terribly worried that there is something wrong with you also. Particularly if you have periods of depression.

We also had issues with a serious suicide attempt with the youngest sibling when she was in her teens, but there were other very bad things that happened to contribute in that case. However, there is a question of being genetically predisposed.

I think it's something you never quite get over in the same way as another type of death, because of the intent. But it's not something I spend much time thinking about now, as it was fifteen years ago. Life does go on.

OwlCurrency Tue 02-Feb-16 12:37:28

I was an adult and had left home at that point. My parents divorced when I was young. My dad had remarried a long time back. So my mum wasn't in the same position as you are.

If I have any advice, it's just to be very kind. The children will feel guilty and concerned about themselves. Give them lots of reassurance.

Topsy44 Tue 01-Mar-16 18:50:47

OP, I am so very sorry for your loss.

Losing someone to suicide is heartbreaking.

My DH took his own life 18 months ago. Unbeknown to me, he had a porn addiction. He had been looking at teenage girls on the Internet and got arrested. I told him that I still cared about him as a friend but we would have to get divorced as I just couldn't trust him. For me, it was a knee jerk reaction to a very stressful situation. 5 days after that he took his own life.

I have a soon to be 4 year old dd. The guilt, what ifs and if onlys are truly overwhelming at the beginning. The last 5 days of his life would play in my head on a constant 24/7 loop. The guilt was terrible in the beginning as I really did feel I was the catalyst but counselling with CRUSE has helped me enormously and all I can say is that those feelings have lessened and softened. They haven't gone completely but I do know now that my husband, like yours, was very very poorly and because of that his rational thoughts were completely blocked. It does sound like your husband's rational thinking was most probably blocked in that last year in how you describe his actions.

My dd just knows for now that her Daddy died as he had an illness inside his head that nobody could see. I will tell her when she starts asking the 'how' bit but for now she is just satisfied with the explanation above. I have tried to give her lots of love and affection and to know that she is loved by me and was loved by her Daddy very much and to tell her about his amazing personality and not his behaviour. She seems very settled for now but I know more questions will come and it's not an easy road.

Am sending you a big hug as I know how tough this journey is. It does get easier, emotions will settle and you will start to see that there was nothing you could have done to prevent this from happening, they were very ill and lost all rational thought in their minds.

Big hugs. Xx

calamityjam Tue 01-Mar-16 19:09:41

It will be 10 years this December since I lost my dh. Very similar circumstances to you op, albeit a different method. He hanged himself. He too had been having an affair and our children were 3,5 and 9. Please feel free to ask me anything at all. I am very open about the whole thing and won't be offended by any questions. Sending you hugs xx

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