There are not many places where you can be open about the “dark” part of grief and widowhood. Not just that you miss the person or that you are lonely, but the trauma of it. The details of it. But, I think it is important that we talk about it, if only so that others feel less alone.
**Content warning: Discussion of suicide and traumatic loss.
Boris died by suicide on a Saturday night in April 2018. I saw him late that afternoon. His last words to me (that I can remember) were, “aren’t you going to kiss me?” and I gave him a casual, almost reluctant kiss and watched him walk out the door and to his car. The next time I saw him, he was dead.
I discovered him in his car around 11 pm on April 7th, 2018. Our friend, Lindsey, was with me. I’d been calling and texting his phone for hours. I called anyone I could think of that may know where he was. When I talked to Lindsey, she asked me to pick her up and we could look for him together. I checked his bank account to try and track him down. It worked. But, we were too late.
Lindsey used a giant rock to break his back window and I climbed inside of his car and picked him up off of the passenger seat. I remember screaming his name and attempting to give him mouth to mouth. I remember Lindsey dialing 911. I remember the police arriving with their hands on their guns. I remember helping the officer put Boris on the pavement. I remember the silent ambulance ride. I thought he was alive. I thought they could revive him.
The most nauseating, brutal part was hearing the doctor say something like, “unfortunately, he died.” I remember everything going silent. I felt like I was going to vomit. I remember the blue folder that the social worker handed me with a clip art dove on a little white label. I remember her telling us that there was information about funeral homes and grief support. I remember a detective questioning me. I remember calling his sister and being unable to speak.
There’s so much more about that night and the days that followed that were horrifying and traumatizing. I honestly do not know how I survived it.
These are the memories that haunt me, and they might always. Even with all of the therapy in the world. These are the things that sneak up on me late at night or even in the middle of the day. Sometimes it paralyzes me. Sometimes I just start crying.
I still have nightmares, though they are less frequent. I dream of seeing his dead body, but in different scenarios, for instance, I have had a couple where I see his body in a morgue.
There are so many layers to loss. Living every day without my closest friend and the person I chose to spend my life with is brutal. Grieving the future that will never happen is heartbreaking and incredibly painful. But, the part that I don’t talk about as much is the trauma of this loss. The images in my brain. The nightmares. The nausea. The darkness. But, I am still here. Pushing my way through the darkness. And you are here, too.