Six Months

Six months.  My wonderful, brilliant, talented husband has been dead for six months.

The death certificate deemed it an “intra-oral gunshot wound”.   Simply put, he killed himself.

Someone just commented on a blog that he would never suicide because of the pain it would cause those he loves, that if it ever got that bad, he would talk it out with people.  I always thought the same; that I could never do such a thing to my family.  But clearly, I’ve never been as desperate as John was.

I wish it could have been easier for John.  There was just too much… and he was ashamed of the burden he believed he was placing on me. His health was shot, he was in near constant pain and was almost certainly dying from emphysema and probable lung cancer, and he had emotional demons that were haunting him.  He was drinking to excess. He had what he saw as a no-win scenario with only one way out.   This was no Kobayashi Maru where Jim Kirk could cheat death by changing the rules. My husband decided to cheat death by ensuring he went on his own terms.

John had worked for two decades as a subcontractor installing survival systems on 105 different Navy ships all over the world. He often wondered what would happen if a fire broke out on one of those ships; as he described it, a fire was the worst possible nightmare that could happen in those tight quarters.

Would he have the guts to give up one of the few survival suits available to one of the much younger crewmen?  He hoped he would, but the thought plagued him. I am convinced that John saw his failing health, his excessive drinking, and his inner torment as a similar nightmare situation that was only getting worse by the day and which he could see was also tearing me apart.  I am also convinced that he chose to sacrifice his life in order to save me from what he believed would destroy not only himself but me as well in the end.

He was – and always will be – a hero in my book. Not because he suicided – he did not ask my permission and even if he had, I would not have given it – and certainly not because of some pretty self-destructive behaviors, but because he tried to do the right thing, even when his demons pushed him in the wrong direction.

Footnote: Johnny always said he helped build killing machines and I helped save lives.  I know he lived longer than he would have if he hadn’t loved me so much, but I desperately wish I could have done more for him.

I will continue my work, trying to make a difference in my small corner of the world.  He was proud of me before, and I hope he continues to be.

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For more information about The Warrior Project – soon to be a drop-in and counseling center for those affected by suicide and/or suicidal thoughts, please click on the picture or link, or go to https://warrior-project.org.

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.

We are accepting blogs and articles written on topics relevant to suicide, hopelessness, grief, and similar topics.  Please contact Linda at LSnyder@regroupbiz.com or warriorprojectmaine@gmail.com.

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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.

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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.

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The Warrior Project is NOT an emergency program or service.

In the event of a crisis, please call 911

In the United States, other numbers to call include:
Maine Crisis Hotline:
1-888-568-1112
National Suicide Prevention Hotline:
800-273-8255
Veterans Suicide Hotline:
800-273-8255
Domestic Violence Hotline:
800-799-7233

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John and I owned both a small antiques shop and a used bookstore in Lewiston, Maine. After John died, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with the two shops – they take up a huge amount of time, and weren’t yet covering their own costs.  After John died in October of 2016, the shops were barely open during the critical holiday sales season; I couldn’t stand being in them because we had such dreams for the future.

But Johnny loved his little bookstore (Heritage Books, Maps & Ephemera) and the goal was that he would one day “retire” into running the two shops.  So I’ve committed to keeping them open, although Heritage Collectibles is now Heritage Collectibles, Books & Maps as I’ve combined those two businesses, and I’m opening Papa’s Thrift Shop for the inventory that doesn’t really work in the main store.  (Papa is what John’s grandchildren called him.)

All of the profits from those two businesses (after expenses, of course!) will go to support The Warrior Project.  If you are so inclined, please consider checking out our shops, knowing that your purchase will help fund this critically needed suicide prevention drop in center.

This entry was posted in Death & Dying, Grief, Loneliness, Suicide and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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