Strength




This isn’t going to be a particularly easy blog post to write, simply because I’m not sure that I can put down in words what I want to say. But I shall try.

My reason for writing today is because this afternoon I sat in the garden, in the sunshine talking to Jon. We were talking about suicide. It was Jon doing the talking to begin with, he was telling me about how he had read an article recently about a man who had jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge to end his life but survived. Incredible that he survived such a fall, but the most moving part of the story was how as soon as he had jumped he had regretted it, he had changed his mind, he didn’t want to die. I confessed to being troubled by this thought often regarding Martin. Martin had taken measures that ensured that even if he had changed his mind it would be physically impossible to prevent his death. He had taken his beloved green canvas rucksack, filled it with bricks and rocks and then used cable ties to keep the rucksack on his back. This has always disturbed me, for many reasons. The biggest painful reason being that it was a calculated, well thought out, planned event. I have kept a few belongings of Martin’s, little things, they are kept in a box in Isla’s room, her memory box. She probably would not have wanted the band t-shirt we got at a gig together, but I did, so it is folded up in the box. I would have certainly wanted that green canvas bag. The bag that came along on so many of our adventures. I remember him buying it whilst away with work in Brighton. I remember clearly, because I wanted it. It wasn’t anything special, just a khaki green canvas rucksack, but we both loved it. I was deeply saddened that he had used that bag to assist his death. Anyway, I digress. I sat in the garden this afternoon and talked to Jon. Suicide was the topic so inevitably it became a conversation regarding Martin. Regarding death and bereavement, a normal conversation for us to have, unfortunately. And then came the topic of me. My strength. The touchy subject of my strength. I struggle to articulate why being told I was strong hurt so much, so I decided this afternoon I should try and write about it, here in a blog.

I was completely lost. My whole world as I had known it had crumbled before my eyes. Blow after blow. At times I was desperate, desperate for some normality. At times I felt that it was me who was in fact drowning. Drowning in pain, in fear, in total isolation. Confused, devastated, consumed with an unbearable amount of guilt. Lonely. So very lonely, despite being surrounded by people. I was completely lost.

I had support and I am incredibly grateful for that support. People showed that they cared, people showed me that I was loved. They showed me that I wasn’t alone despite how I felt inside. But that was the problem, I felt more alone because nobody knew how it felt inside, nobody knew how it felt to be me. I constantly heard that I was ‘incredible’, ‘inspirational’ and ‘so very strong’. And each time I heard those words it hurt deep inside, a bit like a knife stabbing and then being turned, widening the wound. I knew that they were said with nothing but kindness and I wanted so desperately to be able to take those words, keep those words close, to love them, to accept them for what they were supposed to mean. But I hated them. They made me feel more alone.

I was not strong, I have never been strong. Except for being strong willed at times, but that is because I am blessed with a terrible stubbornness. But strength in an emotional sense, it just isn’t something I possess. I’d describe myself as a bit of a wimp actually. I cry at the drop of a hat, I am too sensitive, too often.

I don’t know on what basis somebody could have said the words ‘you’re so strong’. It baffles me. I was broken, shattered in fact. A million and one pieces, none of them feeling like they belonged to myself. I was far from strong. I was barely surviving and it hurt in such an indescribable way to know that people just didn’t see it, didn’t understand it, that they thought that I was ok. Better than ok.

I spent my evenings, sitting alone. More often than not on my kitchen floor. Just sitting. Staring into space. Guiltily wanting to throw myself in the river. That’s how it was, I wanted to escape it all. I wanted to escape because I wasn’t strong enough to deal with any of the consequences after Martin’s death. I didn’t want to deal with any of the consequences. It felt constantly like an arm around my neck, tightening its grip a little more every evening that I found myself sat alone on my cold kitchen floor. And yet the words I heard were ‘you are strong’. I sometimes wondered what on earth I had to do to get somebody to see how it was that I felt. It was a bit like a nightmare where you scream and no sound comes out. That was my life after Martin’s death.


I feel guilty just writing this post, I feel like by being completely honest I will portray myself as being incredibly ungrateful to people who were simply being kind. I am not ungrateful, I never was. I would hate for people to read this blog and feel guilty themselves or hurt that I took their kind words in such a way. I didn’t choose to, I wanted to be strong and for your words to have meaning, I really did. I know that the last thing you would ever have wanted, ever have intended would be to cause me more hurt. I know that. But I need you to know that people can appear to be one thing on the outside and actually be quite the opposite on the inside. We should all know that and all try to remember that.

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