This is a sensitive topic, since you know by now that I lost my soulmate, Trent Gardner on June 11, 2016 to suicide. He was a brilliant man, a musical mastermind, a producing powerhouse in the studio, with a range and perfect pitch that rivaled Peter Cetera of the legendary rock band CHICAGO. He worked with legends like Steve Walsh of KANSAS and Jon Anderson of YES.
Trent was, what I believed him to be, high functioning bi-polar with paranoia, but UNDIAGNOSED.
He never spoke of being depressed. He never shared that he was lost and hurting. He suffered in silence, to dodge the stigma of being a man born in 1961 and having mental health issues. The shame he carried was unbelievable and I knew deep down, something was very wrong. Yet I couldn't help him. No one could. He isolated himself and pushed everyone away from him, rather than reaching out and letting me know how deep he'd gone to the point of no return.
Trent was a retired police officer from the Vallejo, California police force. He was a huge teddy bear, and a big warm bundle of empathy. His brilliance, intelligence, kindness and tenderness with me...Oh My...I can't fully articulate here what it all meant to me. Simply put, he was LOVED BEYOND MEASURE.
Still, 3 years later, I'm still in shock over his death. This man loved me SO MUCH! He made me feel loved, validated me, supported, and he was my biggest cheerleader and confidante. I could be totally unabashedly myself and he accepted me that way, warts, freckles, scars, flaws, quirks and all. Life with Trent was an adventure of the heart....amazing!!!
But for a long time, I carried a copious amount of SURVIVOR'S GUILT over the death. Like, come on, I was going to marry him and give him a child....so how could I possibly miss THE SIGNS that he was going to open his mouth and place a gun in there? How blind could I be, right?
Being a survivor of suicide loss is a heavy cross to bear. Unless you've gone through it yourself, you really don't have a clue how heartwrenching the pain is. All the things we run through our minds...after the fact. After they've pulled the trigger, swallowed the entire bottle of pills, or hung themselves from the ceiling. Why didn't I do something? Why didn't I see it? How could I not PLAY GOD and stop him/her from executing that horrific and fatal act? After all, I AM Joe Hero.....or Wonder Woman.....I have superpowers...I can take on the world and be INVINCIBLE. This should be a piece of cake. Stop someone from hearing the voices, alleviate their suffering, somehow magically banish all the pain they've endured since they were born. NOOO!!!!!!!
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD....STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP!!!
NONE OF THIS IS YOUR FAULT. I HOPE YOU KNOW THAT. HONESTLY. SINCERELY. PLEASE, JUST STOP THE BLAME GAME. THERE IS NOTHING YOU COULD HAVE DONE.
Our loved one who suicided....had it planned out for a long time. They battled their demons and fought the good fight...til the bitter end. You couldn't have held their hand, eased their troubles, and monitored them 24 hours a day....just to prevent this. How exhausting that would be!!! You would have to give up so much of YOUR OWN sanity, just to keep them alive. And even then, we have no guarantee of that.
Guilt is like a poison. It's like drinking an entire bottle of Clorox and expecting to be "okay" after that. NOOO! What happens? You die from the repercussions.
Your loved one KNOWS you did your best. They're crossed over safely to THE OTHER SIDE, living in the Divine White Light, and basking in the glory of being healed. In their haven of Paradise, they're smiling down at us...wishing we could only see how perfect they are now, in God's Hands.
Please, if there is any takeaway from this blog post...let it be simply knowing...you did your best.
I mean that. Sincerely. Deeply.
Sending massive love to you,