A Well-Cultivated Facade

Everyone who worked with John at his job thought he was the best. Happy, hard-working, a practical joker, solid and consistent. They had no clue that he was fighting constant pain, and demons that were worse than even I knew about.

Depression and suicidality can be hidden beneath a well-cultivated facade. Don’t take anyone for granted.

***

In memory of my beloved husband John Kelly Snyder… 20 Sept 1956 – 21 Oct 2016.

My Johnny was a true warrior, fighting demons no one else could see.  I thought he was the strongest man in the world, and perhaps he was, but tragically, the demons got the better of him.

The name of this project is in no way intended to be reflective of, or piggy back off, Wounded Warriors which serves those military personnel wounded after September 11, 20o1.  Like too many others, John was a warrior long before then.

Fair winds and following seas, Husband.

**************************************

We now have a group on Facebook to help find resources, support and ideas for getting The Warrior Project off the ground.  You can find us there at https://www.facebook.com/groups/thewarriorproject/

Follow us on Twitter!  @WarriorProjME.

We’re also on MeetUp; search Lewiston Grief Support MeetUp.

Help support The Grief Warrior Project by making purchases from Heritage Collectibles, Books & Maps.  All profits (after expenses) go to helping keep our doors open.  You can find Heritage Collectibles at  https://heritagecollectiblesmaine.com, on Facebook (both a group and a page) and on Twitter (HeritageGifts).

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Memorial Day 2018

It’s been an emotional day.

Worrying about family members, especially those I don’t see as often as I should and who are growing old far too quickly; anxious for friends who are battling serious illnesses or grieving lost ones.  Concerned about another friend who is trying to come to terms with the nightmare of a loved one she tried desperately to save, but who is about to lose the battle despite those Herculean efforts of hers.

Remembering all of those who didn’t make it.   Aching for those who still struggle, but will not be able to overcome their physical or emotional frailties.

Wishing I had answers for those who are confused, and a magic bag of tricks that could heal the pain.  All of the pain.

Somehow I need to do more, but there are days when taking on even my little corner of the universe exhausts me.

My eyes are puffy with grief and pain as though I’d been crying for hours.  I haven’t.  A few tears, yes.  But not enough to feel swollen and bruised.  I somaticize my grief.  When my mind goes numb my body gets sick.  That pain always has to leak out somewhere, somehow.  It can’t be escaped.

I try to teach this to the families I work with.  You can’t ignore your wounds because even the old ones have a way of festering.  Emotional puss, like physical gangrene, will find its way to the surface.

My Johnny tried.  He’d mastered the impassive face of someone trying desperately to hide his anxiety and control his fear. But it doesn’t go away because you think you’re controlling it.  While he was always – always – kind and gentle and sweet with me, he was secretly self-destructive.  He loved me with everything he had, but I couldn’t convince him to love himself. It’s all so very unfair.

Hug your people hard and fiercely.  If not for them, if not for yourself, then for me.  Please.

Guess I’ll go to bed now because I’m very tired.   Tomorrow will be better.

Post Script.  As I am writing this, I have received a message from someone I don’t know, asking for help with her depression.  Johnny always said I was about saving lives.  From what I’ve learned, he lived far longer than he would have if he hadn’t fallen in love with me.  It just wasn’t nearly long enough.

I’ll go talk to this other person now.  I hope I can give her hope.

***

In memory of my beloved husband John Kelly Snyder… 20 Sept 1956 – 21 Oct 2016.

My Johnny was a true warrior, fighting demons no one else could see.  I thought he was the strongest man in the world, and perhaps he was, but tragically, the demons got the better of him.

The name of this project is in no way intended to be reflective of, or piggy back off, Wounded Warriors which serves those military personnel wounded after September 11, 20o1.  Like too many others, John was a warrior long before then.

Fair winds and following seas, Husband.

**************************************

We now have a group on Facebook to help find resources, support and ideas for getting The Warrior Project off the ground.  You can find us there at https://www.facebook.com/groups/thewarriorproject/

Follow us on Twitter!  @WarriorProjME.

We’re also on MeetUp; search Lewiston Grief Support MeetUp.

Help support The Grief Warrior Project by making purchases from Heritage Collectibles, Books & Maps.  All profits (after expenses) go to helping keep our doors open.  You can find Heritage Collectibles at  https://heritagecollectiblesmaine.com, on Facebook (both a group and a page) and on Twitter (HeritageGifts).

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Crisis / Suicide Hotline Numbers

1-800-273-8255 – Suicide Hotline

877-226-3111 – Addiction Hotline

844-228-2962 – Eating Disorder Hotline

877-455-0628 – Self Harm Hotline

888-640-5174 – Depression Hotline

310-855-HOPE or 800-TLC-TEEN (nationwide toll-free) from 6pm to 10pm PST, for teens.

877-565-8860 – TransHotline

Please repost this for someone who might really need these phone numbers right now.

***

In memory of my beloved husband John Kelly Snyder… 20 Sept 1956 – 21 Oct 2016.

My Johnny was a true warrior, fighting demons no one else could see.  I thought he was the strongest man in the world, and perhaps he was, but tragically, the demons got the better of him.

The name of this project is in no way intended to be reflective of, or piggy back off, Wounded Warriors which serves those military personnel wounded after September 11, 20o1.  Like too many others, John was a warrior long before then.

Fair winds and following seas, Husband.

**************************************

We now have a group on Facebook to help find resources, support and ideas for getting The Warrior Project off the ground.  You can find us there at https://www.facebook.com/groups/thewarriorproject/

Follow us on Twitter!  @WarriorProjME.

We’re also on MeetUp; search Lewiston Grief Support MeetUp.

Help support The Grief Warrior Project by making purchases from Heritage Collectibles, Books & Maps.  All profits (after expenses) go to helping keep our doors open.  You can find Heritage Collectibles at  https://heritagecollectiblesmaine.com, on Facebook (both a group and a page) and on Twitter (HeritageGifts).

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Be You, Bravely

Be you, bravely.

***

In memory of my beloved husband John Kelly Snyder… 20 Sept 1956 – 21 Oct 2016.

My Johnny was a true warrior, fighting demons no one else could see.  I thought he was the strongest man in the world, and perhaps he was, but tragically, the demons got the better of him.

The name of this project is in no way intended to be reflective of, or piggy back off, Wounded Warriors which serves those military personnel wounded after September 11, 20o1.  Like too many others, John was a warrior long before then.

Fair winds and following seas, Husband.

**************************************

We now have a group on Facebook to help find resources, support and ideas for getting The Warrior Project off the ground.  You can find us there at https://www.facebook.com/groups/thewarriorproject/

Follow us on Twitter!  @WarriorProjME.

We’re also on MeetUp; search Lewiston Grief Support MeetUp.

Help support The Grief Warrior Project by making purchases from Heritage Collectibles, Books & Maps.  All profits (after expenses) go to helping keep our doors open.  You can find Heritage Collectibles at  https://heritagecollectiblesmaine.com, on Facebook (both a group and a page) and on Twitter (HeritageGifts).

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Follow Up to “Go Out Kicking Ass”

My latest blog, “Go Out Kicking Ass” has generated a lot of comments and private messages, ranging from “You go, girl” to “I wish I knew how to get through this myself”.

Here are some additional thoughts:

I’ve been trying to honor John with my writing (on this blog) and by keeping his name on every post for the antiques shop & used book store we started before he died, by tagging him in Facebook posts, and in any number of other ways.

But through a totally unexpected set of circumstances I finally realized that I had become a shadow of the person he loved, and that becoming that shadow did not honor him or his feelings for me.  He loved the real Linda, not the silhouette.  John could not bear it when I was unhappy while he was alive; he certainly would not have wanted his death to destroy me.

There is a part of this kind of grief that is terrified of letting go of the grief, in some kind of ill-conceived reasoning that if you aren’t crying every day, if you aren’t living the pain every moment, if you aren’t giving up your life for the person who is gone from this world, that you will forget that person, and they will disappear into oblivion.

It’s so not true.

My mom died 51 years ago, and I still love and miss and remember her… John’s mom died when he was just a toddler, but he still loved and missed and remembered her.  In fact, it’s part of what we understood about each other, that love for our mothers who died far too young.  Our moms were even written into our wedding ceremony, decades after they had died.

Our hearts, our very cells do not forget, even if our minds have to create a way to contain those memories, to keep us from becoming totally lost in the pain and grief.

But it’s hard to come to a place where one can see that, and it’s taken me a very long 18 months to do so.

Because I’ve chosen to live again does not mean I’ve chosen not to grieve my husband.  I will always grieve him, just as I will always grieve my parents, and family members and friends, and the cats and dogs and other creatures who died before me.  (I am in tears as I write this, which will likely be a reality for the rest of my life.  Any family member, friend or acquaintance who wants to be in my life will have to remember that, and to realize it does not reflect on them.)

However my grieving will be different now… I will honor John by remembering – by being – the person he fell in love with.

I’m gonna go out kicking ass.  That’s what he expected.  And that’s what I’m gonna do.

***

In memory of my beloved husband John Kelly Snyder… 20 Sept 1956 – 21 Oct 2016.

He told me, “You are the first girl I ever loved, and you will be the last.”  He kept that promise.

My Johnny was a true warrior, fighting demons no one else could see.  I thought he was the strongest man in the world, and perhaps he was, but tragically, the demons got the better of him.

The name of this project is in no way intended to be reflective of, or piggy back off, Wounded Warriors which serves those military personnel wounded after September 11, 20o1.  Like too many others, John was a warrior long before then.

Fair winds and following seas, Husband.

**************************************

We now have a group on Facebook to help find resources, support and ideas for getting The Warrior Project off the ground.  You can find us there at https://www.facebook.com/groups/thewarriorproject/

Follow us on Twitter!  @WarriorProjME.

We’re also on MeetUp; search Lewiston Grief Support MeetUp.

Help support The Grief Warrior Project by making purchases from Heritage Collectibles, Books & Maps.  All profits (after expenses) go to helping keep our doors open.  You can find Heritage Collectibles at  https://heritagecollectiblesmaine.com, on Facebook (both a group and a page) and on Twitter (HeritageGifts).

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Go Out Kicking Ass

On Saturday April 21st, 2018 at about 5:30 pm, my husband will have been dead for 18 months.  Meaning he killed himself on October 21st, 2016.

The past year and a half have been nightmarish for me.  I won’t go into all of the horrific emotions I’ve felt, as I’ll just dissolve into tears.  Again.  Still.  Always.

Instead, this post is about a realization I had recently.  And about how I’m trying to reconcile that realization with my still raw grief.

Johnny loved my fierce and driven nature.  He, like my first husband, said I was a “force of nature”, someone who wasn’t willing to settle for just okay, someone who was passionately headstrong about too many topics, someone who always had new ideas and plans and who wasn’t afraid to go after what she wanted.

After John died, I lost that.  I was existing, just getting through, not really caring about much of anything.  One of my worst fears was realized.  Bad things happened, and they happened suddenly.   (Granted, I’d had many – too many – horrible things happen in my past, things that might have destroyed others and which I survived, but this… this…)

I put on a good act most of the time.  But then the anxiety would ramp up and my ability to function like the smart, logical adult I usually am would just deteriorate.  I forgot to pay bills.  My word retrieval suffered and at times I could barely get a coherent sentence out.  I isolated.  I burst into tears without warning.   I made bad decisions – small ones, but lousy decisions nonetheless.  (Unlike others I know, I didn’t piss away money stupidly; I didn’t start drinking or drugging; I didn’t get involved with other men – so at least I never gave up my dignity or self-respect.)

I was lost, though.  I had no real goals, other than to get through the next few decades until my own life ended.

Throughout all of this time, I kept talking to John (crying to him, screaming to him), every day, asking him what I was supposed to be doing with my life without him.  I had no focus.  Nothing seemed to matter.  But I didn’t hear him answer.

Until last night when I realized that John never would have wanted me to fade away.  He loved my passion for life and learning and not following the crowd.  He loved my excitement for art and music and travel and animals and food and books and science fiction and volunteering and business and social work and figuring things out; he loved my curiosity for learning new things; and he loved my anger and determination when there were injustices to be righted.

John always said that what I did was more important than his work, because I was in the business of saving lives.  (I had no idea how that often repeated statement would come back to haunt me.)

John never would have wanted me to just fade away.  He would expect me to continue to be that force of nature.  He would not want me to live in the past.  He would expect me to keep fighting for what is right and true.

He would expect me to go out kicking ass.

I can’t do both.  I can’t fade away and live in the past, and also be the woman he loved so much.  Allowing myself to feel passionately, to live life for a reason, to give a damn about things will not be a denial of our great love… it will be a validation of it.

When I see you again, Johnny, I know you’ll be proud of me.

***

In memory of my beloved husband John Kelly Snyder… 20 Sept 1956 – 21 Oct 2016.

My Johnny was a true warrior, fighting demons no one else could see.  I thought he was the strongest man in the world, and perhaps he was, but tragically, the demons got the better of him.

The name of this project is in no way intended to be reflective of, or piggy back off, Wounded Warriors which serves those military personnel wounded after September 11, 20o1.  Like too many others, John was a warrior long before then.

Fair winds and following seas, Husband.

**************************************

We now have a group on Facebook to help find resources, support and ideas for getting The Warrior Project off the ground.  You can find us there at https://www.facebook.com/groups/thewarriorproject/

Follow us on Twitter!  @WarriorProjME.

We’re also on MeetUp; search Lewiston Grief Support MeetUp.

Help support The Grief Warrior Project by making purchases from Heritage Collectibles, Books & Maps.  All profits (after expenses) go to helping keep our doors open.  You can find Heritage Collectibles at  https://heritagecollectiblesmaine.com, on Facebook (both a group and a page) and on Twitter (HeritageGifts).

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If You Wouldn’t Say It To A Friend, Don’t Say It To Yourself

If You Wouldn’t Say It To A Friend, Don’t Say It To Yourself
***

In memory of my beloved husband John Kelly Snyder… 20 Sept 1956 – 21 Oct 2016.

My Johnny was a true warrior, fighting demons no one else could see.  I thought he was the strongest man in the world, and perhaps he was, but tragically, the demons got the better of him.

The name of this project is in no way intended to be reflective of, or piggy back off, Wounded Warriors which serves those military personnel wounded after September 11, 20o1.  Like too many others, John was a warrior long before then.

Fair winds and following seas, Husband.

**************************************

We now have a group on Facebook to help find resources, support and ideas for getting The Warrior Project off the ground.  You can find us there at https://www.facebook.com/groups/thewarriorproject/

Follow us on Twitter!  @WarriorProjME.

We’re also on MeetUp; search Lewiston Grief Support MeetUp.

Help support The Grief Warrior Project by making purchases from Heritage Collectibles, Books & Maps.  All profits (after expenses) go to helping keep our doors open.  You can find Heritage Collectibles at  https://heritagecollectiblesmaine.com, on Facebook (both a group and a page) and on Twitter (HeritageGifts).

Posted in Grief, Loneliness | Tagged , , | Leave a comment