My Dearest Wife,

Today is the seven year anniversary of your suicide; a moment in time which changed my entire life, forever. It was on this day seven long years ago that I returned home from work to find that you had taken your own life using a combination of pills, alcohol, and when that didn’t work, a gun… I’ve yet to get the odd smell created by the combination of Cognac, gunpowder and blood that hung in the air out of my nostrils, but as with most things I’ve become kind of used to it.

The Suicide Note:

You wrote me a rather long note on that day, seven pages, front and back, by hand in your rather gorgeous script, it dawned on me recently that I had never responded to your letter and that perhaps it was time to do so. I hope you will not think my lack of response to be a sign of uncaring or consider it to be rude, I’ve been kind of busy trying to put my life back together and really wasn’t thinking clearly for quite some time… four or five years, maybe six, my mental circuits got kind of blown that day and it’s been difficult for me to keep track of time. I lived in a rather dense fog for many years following your death.

I have a picture of you that I keep on my phone, it reminds me of what you looked like because the only image that I can clearly create in my mind is that of you sprawled back in the chair against the wall in our bedroom, dead from a gunshot wound to the head, the blood in your hair, the pale gray color of your skin, the dead look in your eyes. That image is so different from your picture, your picture is so alive, your sparkling brown eyes, seductive and beautiful, your long, silky blonde hair, your bright, white smile which apparently masked your inner pain… the contrast is so significant that I find it difficult to believe that the two images represent the same person, a person who I spent nearly 20 years of my life with and thought I would grow old with.

To Protect and Serve:

As with most of the suicide notes which I’ve read, your insane ramblings spawned on by the encouragement of sadness, despair, anger and a healthy dose of Vicodin combined with an entire bottle of Cognac, made little to no sense at all… perhaps another reason for why I have taken so long to respond. Truthfully, the officers who responded to the crime scene of your self-inflicted murder did not want me to read it, they had opened the letter as part of their investigation and one officer knowing both of us personally strongly recommended that I let it go… but I couldn’t do that, I needed to understand why you had taken your own life, what you were thinking, what I had done to deserve this, and a million other questions which have continued to trample about in my brain ever since you activated your exit strategy.

My initial review of your letter left me feeling frustrated and more than a little confused, it made no sense… so I handed it to my brother and sister to see whether they could make sense of it, they couldn’t  So I read it again, and again, and again, and again… and the only part of it which I did understand is that you felt that if you didn’t leave this earth, you might never catch up to our daughter who had died the year before. I wish you had expressed this fear to me, I could have told you that she never left our house, I feel her presence all around me, she comes to me in my dreams, sometimes we race cars in and out of the tops of trees on moonlit nights when the air is cool, she always liked to drive fast, it feels so real that I’m always surprised when I awake to discover that it is a dream; sometimes we just hang out, talk, laugh and relive old times. You didn’t have to travel so far to catch up to her, she was right beside you all along… I suppose that I could share these same experiences with you if you would only come to me in my dreams instead of the nightmares which shake me awake in the dead of night and make it difficult for me to fall back asleep.

The other thing that I was able to piece together from your letter was that you wanted all of the antique furniture that you had collected over the years to be kept together, you wanted me to have the house, take care of your parents, do my best to continue to grow the business which we had built, find somebody new to love and move forward with my life… The part which really did not make sense was where you asked me to keep the furniture all together so that it would be there for you when you returned, we’ll blame that on the drugs and alcohol, you never did make much sense when you drank even the smallest amount of alcohol and swallowing more than 50 tablets of Vicodin probably didn’t help much either.

Killing the ‘rents:

To bring you up to date, the initial shock of your killing yourself probably shortened the life span of your parents by five to ten years, your father died shortly after you left due to his heart condition. He never came to grips with your death, it was too much for him to take so soon after losing his granddaughter to that terrible disease and he more or less began to pretend that neither of you ever existed. I’m not trying to be cruel, I’m just bringing you up to date, and hopefully you met him as he passed through the passageway from this world to the next because I’m sure he’d like to see you and give you a chance to explain all of this because I was never able to make sense of it for him. We had a lot of conversations after you died, but the one I remember the most clearly was the one we had the day after your suicide, he asked me what happened, read your suicide note, looked me straight in the eyes and said “ you’ve wasted the last 20 years of your life, my advice to you is to sell everything, find a nice girl and move on.” Your father was always very practical, if only life were that easy.

The week your father passed, your “wonderful” step-brother got out of prison (again) and convinced your mother to give him power of attorney over her affairs; he used that power of attorney to file a lawsuit against me, the estate and the company for everything which you and I had built over the years. I won’t bore you with the details, but after 4.5 years of litigation I eventually “won” the lawsuit, which means that the judge spent eight hours looking over all the evidence and informed them that their “case lacked any merit” however it didn’t really matter by that point because when they froze all the assets at the beginning of the lawsuit, we lost the house, the furniture had to be sold to pay for legal expenses and the company was inoperable and eventually fell to the wayside.

Intentional Infliction of Collateral Damage:

Oh you’ll like this part, your step-brother landed back in prison after being charged with 29 federal indictments, tampering with evidence, forgery, that kind of stuff… Oh, and uh, your mom and I aren’t talking any more, I think she’s alive, somewhere, but given the fact that she tried to sue me for everything, drove our business into the ground, tried to cut me in half with a real estate sign one day outside our house, and so, so, much more… I consider myself “off the hook” in terms of looking after your parents, truly, that was your responsibility and you forfeited it when you took your own life and left me holding the bag. The last I heard, the district attorney who prosecuted your brother was looking into her finances to determine whether the house she was living in had been purchased using funds which your brother might have obtained illegally, blah, blah, blah, you had always managed to keep him away from her while you were alive, but once you were gone, there was nobody to protect her from her own son, I tried but the police informed me that I was no longer related and had no clout. Que, Sera, Sera and all that.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (sarcasm):

One thing I have learned is that when people kill themselves, the people who loved them are never able to see them the same way in which they did when they were alive… it’s not the same as when somebody is taken prematurely in an accident, or by a disease, or when they die of natural causes… I’ve lost people to all of those forms of death and I can remember them clearly in my mind’s eye, but the only way I can see you clearly is to look at the picture of you on my phone. When I try to picture you in my mind, all I see is the last impression which you burned into my soul. I wish that people could be made aware of this before they kill themselves, perhaps they might not do it.

So as I was saying, despite your desires to the contrary, the memories I have of our life together are tattered and little remains of the life which we once shared… the castle was lost shortly after your death, as were the cars, the company and the furnishings. You killed not only yourself, but everything which you loved in the process. An entire lifetime of success and achievement flushed down the drain in a temporary moment of insanity, it would have been better if you had never been born at all because the damage you inflicted upon everybody who knew you, everybody who loved you, on your way out far outweighs any of the good which you provided in your lifetime. I am sure this was not your intention, however the ripple created by the pebble which you skipped across the universe turned into a virtual tsunami which destroyed all that it came in contact with. What you imagined to be an escape from your pain ripped a black hole in the fabric of my mind and for quite some time I was lost, hopelessly lost.

Out of the Ashes a Phoenix Might Rise:

But I want you to know that I’m all right, I’m going to be all right, I think I’m going to be all right… maybe I am already all right. I’m in a good space, right now. I’ve walked through the inferno of hell created by your actions and forged the resolve within myself to use the experience to help other people who suffer the same fate of losing a loved one to suicide. After all of the pain and suffering your death has caused, some good must come of it in order for it to make any sense at all… the path to healing begins with helping other people who are suffering, by contributing to the lives of others, there is less time to focus on myself.

If I could ask for one wish to be granted to me, one wish for my entire lifetime, it would be for every person thinking of committing suicide to have the opportunity to sit down with somebody like myself, somebody who is a “Survivor of Suicide” and talk openly about what the after effects of their actions will be upon the people they love. I know that you were in pain, a pain so deep and dark that you reached the conclusion that suicide was the best option available to you at the time. But suicide did not end your pain, it merely transferred it to the people you love… the pain you hid deep inside you, the pain which you hid from me, the pain which you hid from your parents, from your family, came crashing down upon all of us the moment I discovered your body.

Fear is a Prison, but you hold the key:

The suicide note which you so carefully crafted in an effort to explain your actions, expressed all of your fears, all of your feelings of inadequacy and your hope that everybody would understand… you should know that none of your fears were real; your feelings of inadequacy made no sense and nobody understood any of it. I’m sure that killing yourself was no easy task, and yet somehow you decided that killing yourself was easier than expressing your pain to those whom you loved… killing yourself was apparently easier than risking exposing yourself to the potential pain of being vulnerable, of being rejected, of being human.

Fear is a Prison

I wish that you had found the strength within yourself to be vulnerable for a moment; you might have learned that all of your fears were unfounded; that you were loved, deeply; and that there is hope and purpose to be found, even after the loss of a child. I would have told you that it gets better; it really does get better, with time and this I say with the understanding of somebody who has lived through the loss of the same child and then my wife.

It has been seven years since your suicide, not a day passes when I do not think of you, but I realize that this is often due to a conscious choice on my part to share the experience of your suicide with people… sometimes with the hope of preventing even one of the suicides which occur every 40 seconds, sometimes with the hope of helping one of the people left behind find their way out of the fog faster than I managed to. Your suicide might have lasted only a moment for you, but it has lasted a lifetime for me.

Einstein’s Theory of Relativity & Death:

I know that you are out there somewhere, because the law of conservation of energy states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, thus when you died the energy within you did not die, it merely changed forms. As a mere mortal, I do not know what happens to us when our physical form dies, but if the difference between how you and our daughter present yourselves to me in my dreams is any indication, I imagine that the mental anguish which you died trying to escape has followed you into the afterlife. I sincerely hope this is not true, it is after all, only my interpretation of my dreams, but it stands to reason that given the fact that you both died horrible, painful deaths and one of you seems to be at peace and playful in my dreams while the other comes to me more in the form of a demon trying to cause me harm and torment, that there must be a difference in the experience you now have. I don’t know, maybe it’s nothing more than my own shame at not recognizing that you needed help that is manifesting itself in this manner within the cleansing cycle of my dreams.

Beyond the Realm of Dreamland:

Wherever you are, I want you to know that I wish you the best; I hope that you finally found peace and that my interpretation of my dreams is nothing more than my fears and shame manifesting itself in the form of some weird self defense mechanism. I hope that you have reunited with our daughter and your father and that all of your pain was washed away by the forgiving and loving spirit which is the father and mother of all things wonderful in this universe.

I want you to know that I’ve taken the experience of your suicide and developed a strategic intervention coaching practice where I am able to put the knowledge of what it is like to be a suicide survivor to good use by helping other people who have lost a friend or loved one to suicide get through the grief and loss process faster than I did… Survivor of Suicide, that’s what they call people like me who have lost someone to suicide, it’s a strange little club that I’d rather never have been a member of, but which is comprised of other people who get it and I truly don’t think anybody who hasn’t lost somebody to suicide can ever truly understand the depth of the pain, feelings of guilt and the feelings of shame which are associated with suicide without having experienced it themselves… so in some strange way, I guess your death does have meaning, it has enabled me to provide strength and understanding for other people who are going through a similar experience to my own…

Without your influence in my life, I might never have been able to prevent the suicides which I have been able to stop by being able to recognize the signs that another human being was in pain. I’m sorry that I failed to recognize the signs of suicide with you, I just lacked the experience at that time in my life, I wasn’t trained as a coach yet, my life was on a different path, I was on a different mission. I forgive you for the pain and suffering you have caused in my life, I spend a lot of time trying to convince myself that you loved me once very much, I hope someday to find you in my dreams and sit down and have wonderful conversations with you, as we did so often in the past.

Paying the Toll to for You to Cross the Acheron River:

You probably already know this, but there is an emotional and physical price that I pay each time I am called out to help somebody dealing with a suicide. However this is something that I have to do, something which I must do, to try and restore the balance of the universe, to try and help another person be spared the type of pain which I’ve experienced… to get that person to look beyond the pain of a small moment in time and see a future which is compelling and worth living for, this is part of the new purpose for my life and it is one which I might not have found if it were not for you, I only wish that I could have found it in a more positive and peaceful manner and without your losing your life.

On a more positive note, I’m thankful that helping people cope with the aftermath of suicide or talking somebody down from attempting to commit suicide, is a small part of my coaching practice.  Fortunately I spend most of my day teaching people communication dynamics and encouraging them to live more passionate lives.  You’ll also be pleased to know that after a few years, the fog gradually began to dissipate and I am once again writing and creating online content for various web sites. I even found a way to revive our brainchild Nice Ice as a diamond education resource, but I no longer sell diamonds directly.

In the half a second that it took you to pull the trigger, you changed our entire universe. Thankfully I was resilient enough to pick myself up off the floor and dust myself off, I’m one of the lucky ones… a lot of “Survivors of Suicide” end up killing themselves in an effort to end the pain created by suicide… it’s an Ironic Tragedy.

If you are reading this and either you or somebody you know is contemplating suicide, please call:

the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
in the U.S. call 1-800-273-TALK that’s 1-800-273-8255
Your life is more precious than you realize.

Contact me to schedule a free introductory session if you’re a Survivor of Suicide and would like to get back to living life again, I can guide you out of the darkness and into the light.  And be sure to  sign up for my newsletter it’s full of tips for Personal Development and Personal Growth and I promise not to bombard your inbox very often.

Category: Suicide

About the Author

Todd Gray is a Strategic Intervention Coach who studied Strategic Intervention at Robbins-Madanes Training under the Mastery of Anthony Robbins and world renown Psychologist Cloe Madanes. Todd is passionate about empowering people to reach for the stars and get the most out of life! Todd is motivated to empower people to overcome mental obstacles and live with passion so that they may enjoy incredible lives! Todd's primary focus is Personal Motivation • Passionate Relationships • Conquering Adversity • Peak Performance • Financial Abundance • Grief and Life After Suicide. Because of the challenges which Todd has faced in his life, he is especially driven to help people who are suffering from the loss of a child and people who have lost a friend or loved one to suicide, or other acts of violence.

9 Responses to The Suicide Note

  1. Nancy' says:

    This was awesome! I am so sorry to hear this story of your life but it is
    so powerful! Wow is all I can say

  2. Lynda says:

    Poignant and heartbreaking. Yet am very gratified to see you have been able to create beauty from the ashes. Thank you for sharing your story …

    • Todd Gray says:

      Thank you for taking the time to read my article and leaving a comment. This has definitely been an interesting journey of healing and self-discovery. For those going through it, I can attest that there is light at the end of the tunnel. There is definitely beauty that can be created from the ashes if you’re willing to take on and appreciate the characteristics of a Phoenix.

  3. Susan Newman says:

    I came across your article tonight while I was looking at your posts on diamonds. For you to go through this incredible amount of pain and hardship and come through the other side with forgiveness and a desire to be healing for someone else is remarkable. I wish you a Blessed future.May you experience heaven in your dreams for it is there.

    • Todd Gray says:

      Thank you Susan, I apoligize for the delay, I don’t get on here as much as I probably should… I started a new website for Hypnotherapy and tend to spend more time there.

      I hope that you found the diamond you were looking for and thank you for your kind words. They are appreciated. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger… I have to say that I emerged from the flames like a Phoenix and use the knowledge of that experience to help other people create better lives. I think that is the best thing for us to do with negative experiences, turn them into some kind of positive that helps other people.

      All the best,

      — Todd

  4. Jennifer says:

    I don’t know you, Todd, but I feel so much love for you. I am sorry to hear you have had a rough go at life. You sound like an honest and sincere person who deserved to have your child and your wife with you in this life. I agree with you that matter is neither created nor destroyed. It manifests when conditions are agreeable, and don’t manifest when conditions aren’t ripe. I too have a relationship with my deceased father in my dreams. One time he hugged me and I swear it was real and I felt it. One time he tried to talk to me (he is usually silent and smiling) and I swear I HEARD him, but I couldn’t make out what he was saying because he sounded like he was under water.

    I happened upon this through link clicking. Your testimony about how life goes on after suicide is stark, clear and powerful. It is sobering. Thank you for helping others in what is certainly a much needed area.

    I’m sending you hugs, love, light and more hugs.

    • Todd Gray says:

      Hi Jennifer,

      I just ran across this comment and want to thank you very much for checking in. As you know, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger and as much as I wouldn’t wish the experience of losing a loved one to suicide upon my worst enemy, I wouldn’t trade the experience at this point in my life either, because it brought me to where I am today and I am honored to work with so many people who are suffering from the loss of suicide and know that I’m making a difference… Strange twists and turns in this world indeed. Sadly, I can vouch for the fact that when people commit suicide, they only transfer their pain to the people they love and it seems like we carry it for them forever. Hopefully the load gets a little lighter with time. I do hope that posts and comments like this will shed light on the problem and bring suicide out of the darkness so that more people will seek help for their depression and feelings of despair.

      All the best,

      — Todd

  5. Sheila says:

    And to think I was just looking up info on diamonds and somehow ended up here reading your very moving words…it is so heart wrenching what you have been through but everything you said is so true. Cause suicide is like a cancer that spreads and destroys not only the person who took their life but dam near the lives of those they loved also. My husband’s father also took his own life when my husband was in high school. His sister and older brother were already married and starting new families but my husband and his younger brother and their mother were left to clean up the mess their father made in their lives. He had been drinking and they were in the car on their way home (he had actually been fighting for days with my husband’s mother) well my husband refused to let him hit his mother anymore and finally stood up to him which he had never done before. When they got home the father refused to get out of the car and come inside so they just left him out there and for some reason my husband woke up in the middle of the night and went out there to check on him and found him with a gunshot to the head and his blood splattered all over the car. (Alcohol and guns should never be allowed to come near one another cause those two never seem to help a situation). My husband went and woke up his little
    brother because he wanted to hurry and clean up all the blood so his mother would not have to see her husband like that. My husband had to hurry and graduate cause there was debt up to their eyeballs and his mother had never worked cause she was a stay at home mom and somebody had to step up and take care of everybody so that is what he did and has been doing it ever since. I never met his father but I sure would like to give him a piece of my mind! How selfish can somebody be to just check out like that? Not only did he destroy his family but his act has almost also destroyed mine too! I feel my husband has always blamed himself and has kinda felt like he didn’t deserve to be happy. It has effected our relationship because he has been guarded in a way and it has just felt like he was never all in. So unfortunately that has probably effected my son as well cause I always worried about the fact that he never grew up seeing his two parents affectionate toward one another very often. So I still worry and wonder is my son going to let this cancer also spread to his family if he ever decides to have one? Hopefully he will break the cycle…I have sure tried to do my best to make our home a happy place to be and shower my son and husband with all the love I had to give. Sorry to go on and on about my story! How important is what you are trying to do, I commend you for coming out the other side, and fighting the fight! What a wonderful thing you have done to make her death mean something, goodness has come about because of something that tragic. I wish you all the best and I know you will make your program a success. You never mentioned if you did one of the things she asked you to do…did you find someone to live your life with? If not remember you have to be open for it!

    Kindest Regards

    • Todd Gray says:

      Hi Sheila,

      I apologize for the delay. I didn’t see your comment until just now. I’ve been spending more time on Hypnoformance than here lately.

      The experience which you describe is tragic. I do hope that your husband realizes that his father’s suicide is not his fault. However, as human beings, we tend to blame ourselves and accept responsibility for all kinds of things which aren’t our fault nor our responsibility. There is an evening visualization available on the front page of Hypnoformance which I’m certain that everybody in your family will benefit from listening to. I designed it on behalf of a client who was suffering from multiple issues and it helped him change his life. I listen to it practically every day myself and recently decided to make it available to other people for free…

      I’ve had several relationships since Robin’s death and am currently with a wonderful lady who I met in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico where I’m currently living. Feel free to email me if I can be of further assistance. I’d like to know how your husband and son are doing, but also how you are doing with all of this…

      — Todd

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