I Didn’t See It Happening…

With the antiques shop & used book store John and I started and that I’m now running on my own, my social work job, my volunteer activities – and my frequent grief-stricken meltdowns – I don’t do much that’s particularly fun or enjoyable.

— I love my social work job, but all of the client traumas and dynamics get me wound up and emotionally exhausted where they never did before John killed himself.

— The shop is an enormous amount of work that was supposed to be John’s retirement once it started making money and we no longer had to subsidize it with our salaries, but I enjoy it because the financial pieces  – the budgeting and spreadsheets etc – use the more logical, mathematical side of my brain that I need to stay balanced.

— And I’m committed to volunteering as I always have, although I’ve limited those activities significantly and only serve on a couple of boards, rather than half a dozen or more.

— I’m not ready to give any of these up.

If it wasn’t for our dogs (there are now just two of them, since John’s little wire-haired dachshund Buddy died a few months after John did), I probably wouldn’t leave the house except for the activities listed above.  But the poor pups are home alone far too much and they need to get out and greet the world, and see people other than me, and sniff exciting new scents (and poop) other than those same old smells they sniff every day for hours on end in the house and in our yards.

Tonight I was walking the two of them (Rudi and Millie) at a local veteran’s park and had this sudden thought that “it would have been nice if John and I could have come here once in a while”.  After all, the park is only a mile from our home.

That thought was immediately followed by, “but we never did anything”.  John was always too tired, or in too much pain, to want to go anywhere… even for a walk.  And I hadn’t realized before how much our lives had changed so drastically over the years, and how deeply he had slipped into his depression – and drinking far too much – without me realizing it.

I knew he was sick.  After all, I’d dragged him from doctor to doctor and lived through him being hospitalized near death five years before he actually died.  John had many ailments, and was also being monitored for possible lung cancer, which the doctors hadn’t definitively diagnosed, but which John believed he had.

I knew he was in severe pain at times.  I knew he had demons that plagued him that he didn’t talk about.  But I just didn’t see now devastatingly, bone-numbingly exhausting it all was for him, because he didn’t complain much, and he worked hard at putting on a facade to give the impression that it was all manageable.

And now, even though I miss him desperately and am in tears writing this, I realize what a nightmare it was for me, too.  I did everything I could to make his life easier for him.  I took on projects that should have been his, even though I was already exhausted and stretched beyond anyone’s normal limits.

But it wasn’t ever enough; it couldn’t ever be enough.  I lived with a constant anxiety and sense of foreboding. I was terrified that I would come home one evening and find him dead – and he knew how afraid I was of that possible scenario.

Then one day, that over-riding fear that had colored nearly everything I thought and felt and acted on for years, finally came to pass.  The unimaginable happened, and at times it makes me so sick to my very soul that I’m a sobbing puddle on the floor, hurting so badly I want to vomit.

And I’m left with horrible guilt, unending sadness, terrible loneliness – and an ever-so-small amount of relief.




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.


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.


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:
National Suicide Prevention Hotline:
Veterans Suicide Hotline:
Domestic Violence Hotline:


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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