Tonight I screamed at my husband. SCREAMED at him.
I was furious. I was beyond furious. I howled my rage from the depths of my very cells, with an erupting fury that surely reached to the nearest stars. My voice was deafening. I was so very loud.
The anger that had been brewing below a host of other, more acceptable feelings blew out of my soul as I hurled a nearly overwhelming sense of betrayal and pain at him for his treachery.
“Damn you. DAMN YOU! How dare you not trust me? How dare you LIE TO ME about how bad it was?? How dare you leave me like this???”
But he didn’t hear me. He couldn’t.
My husband killed himself two and a half weeks ago.
Nowadays it is difficult to know what I will be feeling from minute to minute. The crushing and inconsistent feelings of loss, of sadness, of guilt, of confusion, of numbness, of wanting him to show up and reassure me that it was all a terrible mistake – that he isn’t really dead… These feelings come in no logical order… with no sense to them, nor any rhyme nor reason.
My mind is a mess. My emotions are raw and triggered by the slightest memory, thought, feeling, smell…. And oh good god, please do not give me a sympathetic hug because I will dissolve into an instant puddle of salty, snotty sobs right before your very eyes.
It had to happen at some point, of course. One can’t live with such crushing, primal feelings without letting them out somehow. As it happened, the timing for this explosion was far better than other moments when it could have spewed forth, although certainly more than a little dangerous… I was driving home, in the very pitch dark, down a narrow, winding road on the side of a mountain in western Maine.
Crying so hard I could barely see, and screaming so loudly my Jeep echoed, I couldn’t seem to stop the volcano that spewed out. I was glad it was dark so the drivers coming at me in the other direction couldn’t view the hideous contortions my face made, and nor could they hear the soul-wrenching screams. They surely would have thought I was a candidate for psychiatric hospitalization. I almost thought I was, as well.
Over the next half hour, the intensity of my raw, naked pain slowly subsided. In between halting sobs – punctuated at times with more screams that welled up then died off – I began trying to explain to this man I loved so deeply, what he had done to me in killing himself. If he had just tried harder to let me know how very sad he was, I would have made sure it all got fixed.
My guilt at not seeing how crushing his physical and emotional pain was has been nearly unbearable. My fury at that pain – and the sources of it, all the way back to my husband’s childhood – is in part fueled by my wretched inability to fix it, no matter how much I loved this man.
I very much doubt this one experience of raging at a universe that allowed my husband to hurt so much will be the only time when I howl with a warrior’s madness.
The loss of this brilliant, wonderful, tortured man is too huge to be quieted so easily.
In memory of my beloved husband John Kelly Snyder… 20 Sept 1956 – 21 Oct 2016.
The Warrior Project will eventually become a warm, welcoming drop-in center for those living with extreme emotional and/or physical pain coupled with hopelessness, and a resource for families and friends fearing for the life of, or grieving the loss of, the person they love so much.
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 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/
We are accepting blogs and articles written on topics relevant to suicide, hopelessness, grief, and similar topics. Please contact Linda at LSnyder@regroupbiz.com.
The Warrior Project is NOT an emergency program or service.
In the event of a crisis, please call 911
Other numbers to call include:
Maine Crisis Hotline:
National Suicide Prevention Hotline:
Veterans Suicide Hotline:
Domestic Violence Hotline: