I’m a member of several support groups on Facebook for those of us grieving the loss of a spouse, child, parent, or other loved one to suicide.

Too many of the members question “Why? Why did s/he do it?”  Some have said there were no clues, zero clues, nothing that could have warned them.

I don’t believe it.  The clues are there.  We just missed them.

I’m a social worker.  The guilt I’ve felt has been huge because I should have seen all the clues and added them up.  In fact, I did see all the clues.  But as one of John’s daughters said to me yesterday, they were part of our every day life, and so didn’t seem significant in the way they would have in a therapeutic setting.

I knew that John’s drinking had spiraled out of control.  He was in constant pain, he had significant health issues and his go-to had always been alcohol.

I even told him – more than once – that he was passively suicidal, that I was terrified I’d come home one day and find him dead from alcohol poisoning.

But I never ever expected him to take his gun out in the woods and kill himself.

John was a good man…. he was a great man.  And he fought as hard as he could, but he did it quietly, without asking for help.

I could have seen those clues, too.  Because they were there as well.

Could I have prevented his death?  As much as my guilt tells me Yes, the reality is No. Maybe I could have prevented it that day, but I could not have prevented it permanently. He was not making the choice to live.

I loved him as fiercely as I could.  I let him know how furious I was with his self-destructive behaviors.  I dragged him from doctor to doctor for his health issues until he said No More.  I forced him to admit to his use of alcohol to numb the physical and emotional pain.  I supported him fully when he finally began attending AA.

I suggested all sorts of other options that he could try.  He turned them all down.

And as I said, I loved him as fiercely as I could – and he knew it.  He did know that.

Yet he chose the path he took, a path that eventually ended in his far too early and tragic death, leaving me here alone.

Yes, the clues were there.  No, I am not responsible.

Damn you John Snyder.  I love you still.



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


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:

This entry was posted in Coping Skills & Resiliency, Grief, PTSD, Suicide and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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