by Lori Dwyer on April 7, 2011 · 43 comments

Sometimes, I lie about the way Tony died.

Not when it feels consequential- not to people I know I will have to tell the truth to eventually anyway, although i suppose I will be caught out eventually, in some sticky social situation that will make me blush and feel like a liar.

But to causal people. A shopkeeper here, a nice old lady walking her dog there.

I know, I know. The irony, hey? The irony of the woman who proclaims that you should ‘speak‘ lieing to people, not mentioning them the full truth.

But sometimes it really is just… easier.

A small part of me, it doesn’t want to scare people, doesn’t to expose them to the shock of my what has become of my life. That little old lady, walking her dog… she didn’t need to know.

And other times, I just can’t be bothered. I’m brave when I have to be. When I don’t have to be.. I won’t.

Because I get sick of the look on people’s faces, as if I’ve slapped them. I get sick of the sympathy in their eyes becoming pity. I hate the thought that I know they would be thinking, because I used to think it too. In fact, most days, I still do.

What did you do?

Lori, what did you do?

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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Poison April 9, 2011 at 10:38 am

I wrote you in an email but this is my first comment on the blog. As I told you in the email, my husband committed suicide 3-1/2 years ago. Five years prior he had a stroke and that is what makes sense to tell certain people that I really don't know. If I get to know the person better then I eventually tell them the truth and so far all have understood my reasons for doing so.

My sister said to me the other day that I shouldn't be embarrassed with the truth. It's really not so much embarrassed as it is some days it's enough just having to live with it without having to speak of it yet again. Some times it's just too exhausting.

In regards to your vlog, your house is adorable and girl you look great in your natural state… awesome eyes!


P.S. Sorry if this posted twice?


Andrea April 8, 2011 at 5:12 pm

What Kristy said.


Cinda April 8, 2011 at 12:37 pm

It's your story and only you can tell it when you are ready. You shouldn't have to explain yourself to everyone, only the people you chose to at your time. You have the right to safe guard your family and to do and say what is right for you on your own time. Whatever you chose it's going to be okay for you.


Kristy April 8, 2011 at 11:15 am

It is not you or anything you did. You probably "rationally" know that but you subconsciously wonder it. Besides all that, not laying it all out there for the people you describe sounds fine to me. It's your life and it's your right to protect it or open it up depending on the trust and relationship of who is in front of you. Just keep following your heart, even if it's broken.


suburp April 8, 2011 at 10:44 am

Lori, it's your damn right to lie if it's better for YOU and everyone. this will continue throughout the rest of your life. people don't know (and some are just dumb or incredibly nosy) and your kids may stand right there. it's not easy to manoeuvre through perfectly innocent situations (for them) sometimes knowing that it could cause further damage and stress.. all the best with that.


SawHole April 8, 2011 at 8:16 am

I am always being asked when I am having another baby. I can't because my bipolar disorder puts me at risk of psychosis. I just say I can't have any more. If I am feeling stroppy I say not with this husband.
You could just say Tony had a sudden illness. If pressed, then say it was a mood disorder.


Marianna Annadanna April 8, 2011 at 8:11 am

You just do and say whatever feels comfortable for YOU.

I guess I can understand a stranger's look of shock, or sadness, or even pity. But I somehow doubt that they wonder what YOU did. I doubt they jump straight to blame.

In my recent struggle with Depression, some people have reminded me that I wouldn't be as hard on others as I am on myself – ease up on the self-judgement. Good advice, I think. For me at least.

Love, strength, and peace,
xo Marianna


Veronica April 8, 2011 at 7:36 am

I can understand this. Sometimes you just need things to be easy and really, what business of theirs is it? It's like people who ask if you used fertility treatments to acheive pregnancy: WAY too much personal detail to give to someone you don't know well.


Be kind to yourself. xx


Mena April 8, 2011 at 5:06 am

I found myself doing the same thing. I lost someone I love dearly the same way. My first thought when a person asks how he died is always: How am I going to explain that he took his own life? I just tell people he drowned. :(


Watercolor April 8, 2011 at 4:31 am

WHY are people asking you how he died??? Just say your husband passed away recently. And if they ask how, just say "it really doesn't matter, does it." You don't have to lie because you don't have to answer. Hugs!!!!


Heidi April 8, 2011 at 4:18 am

Say what you need to say to make your day easier. In the end, someone who would think, even fleetingly, that what Tony did was in any way your fault has clearly never suffered from depression – at all the points in my life where my chronic depression has reared its head, the one thing I can guarantee you is that it is in no way the behavior of my loved ones that is at fault. Some monster in my head, sure…but not the people who love me.

I've lurked, reading your posts and moved by your journey, for some time but I wanted to come out of the shadows long enough to say that it isn't your fault and it's entirely okay for you to tell someone else what you need to tell them in order to keep going.


Lillian2611 April 8, 2011 at 2:50 am

Ironic though it may be, Lori, that information is private.

Using your blog to vent and explain and think out loud is one thing and it's in your control. But we're choosing to come here because we're like you. You can't be sure of that in these ordinary day-to-day situations.

Say what you like. Be you. And if that changes tomorrow or in an hour, so be it.


In Real Life April 8, 2011 at 1:18 am

I moved to a new city, from a small town, shortly after my mom died (from breast cancer), and it was such a relief that not everyone knew that my mom had passed away, I often didn't tell people at all. I was only 19 then, and I hated that awful, sympathetic, pitying look…and the inevitable blurt out that "your so young to lose your mother." – HATED IT. I understand that you don't want to tell everyone you meet your whole story, and you don't have to. *HUGS*


Cassondra April 8, 2011 at 12:09 am

It's not you. It's not something you did. And if they can't recognize it then it's only because they don't understand or know what it's like. I know, it's shocking. It was a shocking thing for him to do, so let them be shocked. It's not your fault, and you shouldn't blame yourself, or let them blame you with the pity in their eyes.


ForeverRhonda April 8, 2011 at 12:03 am

I would probably lie to those inconsequential people. The lady at the grocery store does not need to hear your story. You don't need the looks that people tend to give in those situations. Don't feel like a liar. You are just doing what you need to do right now.


Jodie at Mummy Mayhem April 7, 2011 at 9:59 pm

I'm with Glowless…it's an omission, not a lie. Do whatchya gotta do, hon. xxx


Alienne April 8, 2011 at 7:36 am

I generally just say my husband died these days – family and friends know he committed suicide but it is no business of strangers, and more likely to upset them anyway. I don't think my younger daughter has ever told any of her friends what happened; she just said he had died and left it at that.


Melissa April 7, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Oh I don't think it's a lie, not really. Survival. We do what we have to. I remember after I had my miscarriages and before I had my chilren, when people would ask, "Do you have any children?" I would respond, "No." even though I felt I was betraying my babies in heaven. Spare yourself when you need to – whatever you need to do – it's okay.


cassey April 7, 2011 at 8:39 pm

You don't owe anyone your story. Omitt away, I say.


River April 7, 2011 at 8:17 pm

I understand about the lying which isn't really lying, but more an omission, like Glowless said. I lied too, well, omitted the truth when I told my mum why hubby and I separated. It's a normal thing to do, don't beat yourself up over it.


Sophie April 7, 2011 at 8:11 pm

I tell the truth. And then I wait for that 'slapped' look and then see what happens. Most people will shy away… they don't really want to know about death. Some will ask questions and connect with you. I have gotten to the point where i think those people are brave.


Kristina Hughes April 7, 2011 at 7:53 pm

I also totally agree with what Toni said – people's view of others tends to be clouded by their own experience and how things affect them. Not many people really "listen" without a little private conversation going on in their own head.
There's no point in telling every man, woman and dog your story unless you need or want to. None of their business. Not lying at all.
Have a lovely day in Paradise, Lori xx


Carly Findlay April 7, 2011 at 7:45 pm

It is not really the same, but I hate explaining my appearance to strangers.
If only we could just answer 'because'.


liz April 7, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Dear Lori, I have been lurking on here for some time now, following you daily. I cannot even find the words to convey what I want to say about what you are going through. So, I will just say this: I understand.

My Mum took her own life 11 years ago, in a pretty horrific way, and I still find, all these years later, that I don't tell the exact story, or I greatly bend the truth, just so that I don't have to tell them what she did. You too don't need to share this information Lori, unless you want to. You're not lying, you're just choosing to withhold information, that's all. It's ok.


Sharnanigans April 7, 2011 at 7:37 pm

what Toni said


mel April 7, 2011 at 6:23 pm

What Toni said… Thankyou for sharing everything.


Ms Styling You April 7, 2011 at 5:31 pm

I often find it difficult to even say that my mum or mum in law died … it's opening a can of worms with people you may not want to open anything with. Just stick with those who you want to talk to and suit yourself who that is.


Leanne Scrapper April 7, 2011 at 5:29 pm

Hear hear to all of the above! It's your story to tell as and when you see fit to the people you choose to share it with.

Not really relevant but we had an 8 yr gap between our eldest two kids due to infertility issues, and when I fell the second time the comments and questions I would get regarding the age difference were astounding – what goes through people's minds that they think they need to know very personal details about someone they barely know?!

You sound so much more peaceful now, I hope you are, and you are doing an amazing job :)


Thug in a Cocktail Dress April 8, 2011 at 1:38 am

as a mental health therapist…
what u r doing is completely normal.
nearly 30 people have commented prior…no need to expound upon what u already know.


Karen April 7, 2011 at 2:31 pm

I wouldn't call it lying.

I think what you're doing is setting boundaries. You choose whom you let in and whom you keep out (politely or not!)


alliecat April 7, 2011 at 2:13 pm

It's not lying the way I see it. It's self protection. Maybe the lady walking the dog doesn't need to hear it, and maybe that day you don't need to say it out loud just as much. I don't think as a rule people would be thinking 'what did you do?', and if they are then they are very ignorant about depression. You have to do what is right for you on the day.

I lie all the time about our dead baby til it feels safe to tell the truth. People don't like to hear about suicide and they also don't like to hear you ended a pregnancy halfway through because of terrible problems with the baby. It's definitely self protection why I don't tell the truth of "how" we lost our first baby. It's easier to say we 'lost her' and sometimes it's easier not to say anything at all. Either way, it hurts like hell. You can only do what is right for you. xx


Donna April 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm

This is so deeply personal that you get to call the shots. Its very much ok to divulge only on a "need to know" basis xx


SheLikesToTravel April 7, 2011 at 1:59 pm

I've thought of you so often over the last few months, but I rarely write any comments.

Please don't feel that you have to fully explain every detail just because someone asks. If you choose to make your answer a bit more vague, that doesn't make you a liar.

And you didn't do a thing to cause this. You are not responsible for actions of another.

I think you are an incredibly strong person.


Through the looking glass April 7, 2011 at 1:42 pm

It's your business hun and you should be able to do what you want. x


bloodsigns April 7, 2011 at 12:51 pm

I get it now — my mother used to tell me "don't tell people of the way your father died" — and at the time I didn't understand — I somehow internalized the shame — that it was somehow about me… and what I could or couldn't tell — but she was trying to protect me "because people won't understand" — I understand now — how difficult it can be to be in the world –and how difficult to live in a world of 'normal' when something has happened to make you feel otherwise — I don't always tell people either — "a car accident" I'll say — or just "an accident." It amazes me how nosy people can be —

It's okay. I've lied too — and we do whatever we can to get through Lori — you'll get through –and your little ones will too.

I love the way you talk about Paradise — I love the little cinema and the idea of kangaroos the way we have deer here…the simplicity and small joys of life returning. I so wish that for the three of you.




Glowless @ Where’s My Glow April 7, 2011 at 12:41 pm

It's not a lie, it's an omission :P Every man (or granny in this case) and their dog don't need to know if you don't want them to/can't be bothered having that conversation today.


Miss Pink April 7, 2011 at 12:38 pm

I think if it were me, i'd probably lie. Not from shame, but because i wouldn't want the pity, people feeling sorry for me.

I have never EVER thought for a second "What did you do Lori?" So maybe other's aren't too? I've only ever thought how unfair it is, for you, for the kids, even for Tony.


Being Me April 7, 2011 at 12:36 pm

I get it. I know those looks, have had to deal with them for 7 yrs. And still, I agonise over "having to reveal"… and if not, am I a liar. Am I dishonouring either the person I'm telling, or me, or my family, for not divulging?

Fact is, you are the one who can decide. You can decide to tell the shopkeeper but not the little old lady. Tell the school teacher but not the coffee shop guy. You can make it up as you go along. And none of it is wrong. You hear? xxx


THE Bird April 7, 2011 at 10:28 pm

…Do you know Lori, that 'little old lady' could have been in the same situation as you…. How would you know? ….One day Lori, you will be 'the little old lady' who just happens to see a girl, a girl who is grieving exactly how you once did.. Don't discount these meetings with little old strangers, (however fleeting). They will be willing you strength, suport & love. xxx


Tara @ Our Whirlwind Adventures April 7, 2011 at 4:08 pm

If you don't want to tell, don't.
I lost a family member to cancer, and sometimes didn't want to tell people, because it's more upsetting to remember why they'd died.

You didn't do anything Lori, and anyone who makes you feel guilty about what happened, isn't worth a pinch of shit x


Sandy April 7, 2011 at 3:54 pm

It's been said, but I, nor any other SANE person with even the Grinchiest heart would ever think, "What did you do".

No one can drive someone to take their own life. Having been there myself, I know it wasn't anyone else. It was me and how I chose NOT to deal with things. Me NOT handling issues or situations that involved people… but no one was responsible for my actions.

You know this… that it was something wrong inside him, no disrespect to Tony, but it wasn't you. You know that.

And as for everyone else… fuck 'em. People, we lie everyday about MUCH more mundane, idiotic things.. because it's easier.
You just do what you have to do.


Toni April 7, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Lori, honest to God, the inside of most peoples' heads looks like this
I can almost guarantee that most of them are thinking "OMG how does this affect ME?" "What should I say?" "What do I do if she starts crying?" etc etc. In other words, it's all about them.
And you absolutely, 100% have the right to protect yourself from the pity, the shock, the careless comments – it's not disloyal to Tony, and it doesn't make you a liar.


Patricia April 7, 2011 at 2:29 pm

What did you do? You watched the love of your life make a monumental f**k up and now you are surviving the aftermath. How are you doing it? That's what I wonder… how are you doing it? Keep on keeping on Lori, you are amazing.


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