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“It takes time, determination, and the effort to reinvent yourself. You will change; it’s inevitable.”

I lost my husband to suicide on February 11, 2016. He was my high school sweetheart. My one and only. I would like to share my story of love, grief, and determination.

On the day he died, my entire world came crashing down—a massive tidal wave with no notice, no time to catch your breath. I was in survival mode, trying not to drown. That’s all you can do. The moment the officer knocked on the door and asked me to please take a seat, I knew instantly something was horribly wrong. When he said, “your husband has taken his life,” our entire life passed before me as I stared into space.

I began to hyperventilate, screaming and going into shock. I convinced myself I couldn’t carry on without Will. It wasn’t possible. 

He was my life, my world, my happiness, my everything.

As the shock begins to wear off, the intense, complicated grieving begins. It’s unbearable to lose a spouse to suicide. The guilt, denial, and heartbreak are so painful. The emotions take every ounce of energy. You try to prepare and brace yourself for the next tidal wave.

I want you to know that I survived, that I’m a warrior.

Where am I today? Why am I telling you my story? I want you to know that I survived, that I’m a warrior.

As I began to process the loss of Will, I knew there were only two choices for me: Drop into a deep depression and give up, or focus on our memories and our deep love for one another, get into therapy, and, most importantly, make a difference by inspiring, encouraging, and helping others.

I chose the latter. I immediately got help and began to train for the sixteen-mile Overnight Walk for Suicide Prevention in New York City. I had four months to train. Getting into the best shape of my life at fifty became my passion, my goal. And guess what…I did it! As I walked through New York City for almost the entire night, I reflected on our beautiful memories and shared photos with all of my friends and family on Facebook. It was an amazing, healing experience!

I promise you, it does get better.

Today I’m not totally healed, but I have accepted Will’s death. I now know and trust that I CAN carry on. I try to enjoy life at its fullest and help others by inspiring and sharing my story. Grieving is hard work, exhausting at times. It’s the most difficult loss to experience. I choose to talk about it. I’m learning to enjoy the simple things in life; family and friends are most important. Everything else is relative. I only hope that sharing my story helps to save lives from suicide and those struggling with grief.

I promise you, it does get better. It takes time, determination, and the effort to reinvent yourself. You will change; it’s inevitable. You will transform into something beautiful and amazing. Not now, not tomorrow, and maybe not even months from now. But one day you will accept the loss. As for your memories, well, those are yours always and forever. I’m a survivor, a warrior.

By Bobbi Huffman