Widow Writes After Suicide Loss, Finds Path to Healing

The path to healing after suicide loss is different for every survivor, yet all paths have the same elements in common. Survivors cope with shock, guilt, and anger. They also experience feelings of rejection, stigma, and shame. A Harvard study states that “…a loss through suicide is like no other, and grieving can be especially complex and traumatic.”

It has been over forty years since I wrote a novel in which the widow of a man who took his life writes to him every night. She waits until their two young children are in bed. Then she writes.

Her name is Jenny Weaver. She is so lonely it hurts. She impulsively moves from the Northeast to California a year after his death, and she has made only one friend. She doesn’t belong to a support group. She’s finding it difficult being a single mother. And she doesn’t want anyone to know how her husband died.

The novel was my way of coping with the death of a young man who took his life. He had so much promise. And then he was gone. I was in graduate school at the time, and my major was poetry. I wrote the first line of what I