My Grief Letter

My Dearest Friends and Loved Ones,

Recently I have suffered a devastating and traumatic loss.  My emotions are all over the place.  Sometimes I am so pained by my loss I don’t feel like I can take a step forward.  Sometimes I am happy not having to deal with my husband’s crippling pain and mental illness.  And always, I feel guilty for being happy that I don’t have to deal with my husband’s crippling pain and mental illness.  I ask for understanding.

I learned a new term in therapy – bereavement trauma.  This is what I am suffering from.  Just what I needed, another layer of grief.  Thank you, dear husband, for adding to the pain of grieving.  I not only have grief from the loss of my husband, I have post traumatic stress from the way he left this life.  I ask for emotional support.

Most of you know my husband of 37 years committed suicide.  Don’t ask me questions such as how did he do this, and did I find him.  I relive his suicide, on my own, much more than I care to admit.  I don’t want to re-live these moments because of someone’s curiosity.  If I want you to know, I will tell you.  I can tell you now, I don’t want you to know.  I understand people are naturally curious.  I am guilty of the same.  But now, due to experience, I know better.  I ask for privacy.

I am having nightmares, so if I act sluggish during the day, there is a good chance I did not have a good night sleep.  I will be struck unexpectedly with anxiety and might have to walk out of the room in the middle of the conversation.  I ask for patience.

I poured my heart and soul into honoring my vows during my husband’s sickness.  His suicide feels like the ultimate rejection – a slap in the face for all I sacrificed.  I ask for your love.

Sometimes I overreact during a situation for which my husband usually handled.  I become a drama queen over minor situations.  I ask you to hold my hand until I calm down.

I tend to lose my train of thought during a conversation.  I ask for a moment until I gather my thoughts.

My life is in transition, and I don’t quite know which direction I am going.  Unless I am about to literally walk off a cliff, I ask for your silence while I think out loud.

I am quite needy right now.  I don’t like being needy.  I don’t like having to rely on someone.  I am used to being strong and in control.  I ask for your compassion.

Finally, I thank all of you for kind words and actions.  I am overwhelmed by your outpouring.   I am truly surrounded by amazing friends and loved ones.  I have never felt more loved in my life. I pray, one day, I can repay, and pay forward, your kindness.

Love, Gretchen


(Just a note to my U.S. readers – I am finding healing in giving back.  My side job – my Avon business – is helping me do that.  My daughter, and youth minister son-in-law, have a personal ministry of reaching out to college students in their home on Monday nights.  They break bread, play games and speak the gospel.  I am tithing my online order proceeds to their ministry.  Every little bit helps.  Would you please check out my website?  If this is your first time ordering Avon online, use code WELCOME10 for 10% off any size order.  Your products will be delivered directly to your door.  Some of the college students are foreign exchange students.  From a hand built table in southern Mississippi, the gospel is managing to be spread around the world.  Would you shop from my online store and have a part in spreading God’s word?)


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