On March 20, 2006, I became a widow of suicide.
Ten years later, I’m thankful to write that I have closure.
It wasn’t a countdown. Ten years is not the magic number for peace.
Peace and acceptance came to me gradually.
How do you find closure? According to the textbook definition, you must have an answer.
But there was no answer.
Jason did not leave a note. He did not explain why he left the world in the way he did.
At my worst moments, I screamed out loud, “Why did you do this to me?”
Jason had the answer which could set me on track to heal my heart…but death made him unreachable.
I feared that I would never have consistent happiness again.
Even in tragedy, I am fortunate to be emotionally balanced.
Immediately, I began writing in journals and diaries. Although I could not make sense of his loss, writing made me face it. Writing helped me to organize my thoughts one day, and it gave me a private outlet for confusion and pain the next day.
Friends from my childhood set off on trips with me, or they simply listened any time that I wanted to talk about Jason.
Step-by-step goals gave me a reason to be here: Get a job. Learn the history for the tours. Make the tourists smile. Go to college. Finish the paper, and the next one. Get a degree. Pay off credit card debt. Pay off the truck loan. Go to church. Read the entire Bible. Read it again.
Succeeding at these goals made a better future for me and Caleb.
My parents prayed for me. I have a strong foundation and a strong support system.
Over time, I let go of my feelings of abandonment. I no longer clamber after Jason’s memory, begging him to help me understand.
Little by little, I was distracted by life and the wonderful people around me.
In 2015, it was on my heart to walk to Jason’s gravesite. The amount of time caught in my throat—here it was nearly ten years, and there was no headstone.
I set a new goal—to have a memorial completed for Jason before the ten year anniversary of his death.
I was still struggling financially because my family was harassed with litigation in 2014, but I wasn’t alone in seeking to make this happen.
Many wonderful people stepped in to help, and we also received messages of encouragement. I met some of Jason’s old friends, and they shared memories. These memories are so important because they help Caleb to know his father.
I never imagined it would be so hard to decide on a particular stone or engraving. We settled on something very traditional, yet the words are so candid and so absolute after everything we have been through:
Loving Husband and Father
I no longer question, “Why did you do this to me?” I believe that when Jason died, he was incoherent, and his mind was in a state of imbalance. He was not fully conscious of what he was doing. I know this because I know Jason. He would never cause us pain if he could help it.
I also chose a verse:
According to some Christian denominations, suicide is an “unforgivable sin.” I struggled with this until I spoke with a counselor at church who gave me examples of the correct theology.
The words of John 10:28 always gave me peace:
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish;
no one will snatch them out of My hand.
We will see each other again because Jason asked Christ to save him, and that made him a child of God. No one and nothing could snatch Jason out of God’s hand.
No longer do I burden myself to discover an answer based on the minutiae that I can dredge up in memories. Closure is not dependent on that textbook answer.
Closure, for me, came with the peace of the verse.
Closure came with accepting and embracing the changes in my life.
I feel closure in reading Jason’s memorial because the words reflect his heart. I feel closure for Jason because the verse is a reminder that he is singing in heaven.
And I will always remember the life, the laughter, the love.