If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past 45 months after Ted took his life is, as parents, we won’t be able to protect our children from cruel realities of this world.
We can educate them. We can even try to prepare them, and that’s not always enough. The Universe, God, or whomever you believe in, or don’t believe in, is going to throw you a nasty, curving fastball that going to knock the wind out of your kids, and I hope that you as their parent will be there to help them navigate through the ugly storm they will go through to process what has happened.
Don’t run away. Don’t hide them away. Face it with them. Talk about it. Sit with them in the ugly and the uncomfortable. You Will Conquer It. And it will take TIME.
Ted and I had made a silent pact that we would never get a divorce. We were protecting our children from having to experience a divorced family, where there were so many possibilities of things that could go bad. For me, I wanted our kids to know the joy having two parents at home every night because that’s what I had during the younger parts of my childhood. I didn’t want them to experience any of the stories they shared about their friends in divorced families. They didn’t understand why divorce happened, even when we tried to explain it to them.
Only, times had changed as we became adults and parents. Not a lot of families had a stay at home parent with their kids. We both worked. I missed my kids. I missed my husband. As the kids got older, it seemed we were both trying so hard to be more involved in their lives. Only, fears of not being able to pay bills or have health insurance for our family, our kids, kept us both in places we struggled with mentally and emotionally.
There were bad days. Days where it felt like a divorce would be better for him and for me. Yet, we didn’t want the kids living in a single parent lifestyle, split between two people. And I did love Ted. I knew he was a good person. A good person struggling to find himself amongst the chaos of living. I was struggling, too. And we both dealt with it differently.
And what we had set out to do – give our kids two loving parents who were there for them always didn’t happen.
I missed most of our children’s childhoods to a job I ended up hating and being let go from. I wasn’t home those nights they needed help with homework, and Ted was. And there were so many other things Ted and I regretted and resented because we made decisions that took us away from our children and away from each other.
Ted ended up taking his own life. I couldn’t protect our children from that. Nothing we had done raising our kids prepared any of us for that.
I made decisions that I thought would protect them. I tried to prevent things from happening. I promised Ted I wouldn’t tell anyone. I told two people, silently hoping that their knowing would help change Ted’s suicidal thoughts. I didn’t tell Ted I told them. I helped Ted find a counselor. I started seeing one.
In secret, we both sought counseling. I didn’t hide the fact I was going to counseling from anyone , except our kids. No one knew Ted was in counseling except me & the two people who I had told, and Ted didn’t know I had told them. Secrets. I hated secrets, and here we thought we were protecting others from something – pain and fear. Keeping it secret wasn’t the right thing to do; only we only did what we thought and knew was best.
This post has taken me several days to write. For the second time in 45 months of Ted’s suicide, someone special and loved by us took his life. It hurts. It’s a different hurt, and it still hurts. My motivation for having started this post was to encourage others to talk. Talk. Talk. Talk. Don’t sugarcoat the ugliness of this life. While you think grass is greener on the other side and that one person is all peaches and cream, you don’t know the turmoil and hard work they are going through to keep it up. There isn’t always safety in putting our heads in the sand, or building a wall around our families. Eventually, they will find out…..