Ugly.

by Lori Dwyer on January 28, 2011 · 294 comments

in Uncategorized

Heya,

A few things, before we start.

Firstly, thank you. Any other words escapes me. I can’t eloquently express the gratitude I’m feeling toward my fellow blogger and Interwebbers at the moment. Every message, every email, every comment… they warm my heart. You guys are just… awesome.

Second, a few people have emailed me regarding advertising on my blog. I’ll get back to you soon as possible, promise.

And thirdly, this post is called ‘Ugly’ for a reason. This is real. This is serious. This is suicide. If you, like me, have that wretched thing called clinical trauma, this might be triggering.

But, if you ever considered hanging yourself, read this. Please.

To understand this story, from my perspective, there are some things you should know. About Tony. About our life.

He was a good bloke. That, I think, is the most important thing. Those of you who have been reading since the Before know that. A big, tattooed, Aussie bloke with a cheeky sense of humour, an amazing devotion to his family, direct and extended; and very much a man’s man.

He was awesome. I adored him. So please know, as you read this, that the man I’m talking about here,in the lead up to his death, was not the man I married.

Not himself, not at all.

I guess you also should know that there is, of course, a History here. And it’s not my history, it’s Tony’s, so I won’t tell you a lot of it. Suffice to say, I think, that Tony had demons that haunted him from a very young age. More recently, there were car troubles, money troubles, work stresses. Things he shared with no one. Some things that I’m only just finding out about now.

And Tony always kept everything to himself. He was the oldest, and only, male in his family, and he felt it was his job was to take care of everyone.

Tony didn’t believe in psychological help, or medication, especially for himself. But he never had a problem with me taking my meds. And he would never burden anyone with his problems, his stresses (“I’ve got it all covered, darl”). Especially not his wife, who suffers depression and anxiety as it is.

Did I ever think he was suicidal? Never. I had heard him say, as had his mum, sister and mates, that suicide is a cowards option, a dog’s way to go. And if you were to do it, make it look like an accident, where someone you know won’t find you.

Huh.

The week between New Years and the 6th of January, the day Tony hung himself, was awful. I don’t think there is too much detail needed. We argued, as couples do. But horribly. Round in circles. Without end. Continuously. My rock, the alkaline to my acid….. our roles had reversed. Where normally it was me, screaming at him to STAY AND TALK TO ME as he walked away, this time, it was me, pleading with him to leave. And him, coming at me, again, again, again. Bitter, spiteful words, intended to hurt me and make me snap and scream.

For some God unknown reason, I did not. And one of those days there, he hit me. My Man, who would never hurt a fly, had me in a headlock, one hand pushing my nose back into my skull, threatening to snap my neck. And I was terrified.

This was not the man I married.

The three days before this happened, things were worse. My stomach sunk as he walked though our back gate, diaphragm knotted in anxiety.

Twice, during those the three days Before, Tony threatened to hang himself. Once, he even told me where he would do it. And it was exactly where he did do it.

And I kick myself for that now. Three quarters of a degree in social work, I should know that when people have specific plans for suicide, things are bad.

Why did I ignore that?

My psychiatrist, an angel in a lanyard, tells me that she would have said, had I turned to her, that Tony was making idle threats. And maybe,in a way, he was.

We had plans. Australia Day, a wedding next month, a holiday in March. Suicidal people don’t make plans like that.

Do they?

The day before This Happened was Tony’s birthday. He turned 34. It was nice, quiet. Presents and ice cream cake with our kids. And I took photos, even though I was cranky at him.

I’m so glad I did.

The next day, The Last Day, was just a normal day for me. I was online, I think, on Twitter, only an hour before this happened.

Tony came home from work. Half past two, usual time, given that he started so early in the morning.

And he came to me. Hugged me. Kissed me. Told me he loved me.

If I’d known that would be that last time I hear it, would I have been more receptive? Of course. That doesn’t even require a question mark.

But I wasn’t receptive. I didn’t yell. but I was still angry, and I told him so.

And from there, all hell broke loose.

I remember, vaguely, in that next half hour, fragments of near-rational conversation. Where he told me he didn’t love me, then that he did, that he’d almost lost his job for me, given up everything for me.

But mostly I remember the fury of it. The look on his face. Things being thrown at me. Being spat at. Him, a finger over one nostril spitting snot onto me.

Like I was nothing. Less than nothing. Like he couldn’t think of anyone he hated more.

Threatening, to kill me, to take my kids, take the house, leave me on the street.

And then.

“I’m going to do something that shows everyone what a terrible person you are”.

And me, confused, scared, afraid. But it never even touched my mind that he was talking about this.

Into our back shed. Back again, with an ugly, bright piece of nylon orange rope.

A noose, already knotted in the end of it. When did he do that, how long has that been there for?

Me, standing in my back doorway, him in our backyard. Me, still thinking he’s bluffing, him, getting angrier and angrier at my lack of anger, lack of passion, why aren’t I screaming at him like I usually do?

“I’m going to fucking do it. I’m going to hang myself.”

“No, Tony, don’t be a dick, you can’t be fucking serious, your daughter is standing right here…”

A litany of words as I watch, so quickly, as he strings up over the beam of our outdoor shelter, and pulls over a chair

“TONY! WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?”

He kicks himself of the chair, lands feet on the ground. Slipped, or something. Not even force. Not violent enough.

All this, is the space of milliseconds.

He looks at me again, those beautiful brown eyes, the color of melted chocolate, so full of rage and hate for me.

Up onto the chair again, and jumps, with all his force.

Fuck. I grab my daughter, my baby. Stop fucking around, Tony, you’ve scared the shit out of me, I’m a fuckwit, I get it.

Shake him, with the hand not holding my little one. Slap him, hard as I can. His sunglasses fall off, smash on the ground. And, stupidly, that’s when I realise- he’s not mucking around. His eyes are bulged, rolled back in his head. He’s unconscious already, and he’s not fucking around. His feet are touching the fucking ground, but he’s unconscious and this is real.

And my life shattered.

I ran, screaming, hysterical, into my back lane, “Help me, help me, he’s hung himself.” My neighbors run, it seems like they’re there before I call them. One of them runs into my backyard, runs out again, shaking his head, saying “Call an ambulance” over my shoulder.

“Cut him down! Cut him down!”

Why didn’t I tell them, that he’d only just done it, then, in front of me, that I’d not found him like that? Would it have made any difference? Possibly. Possibly not. Cutting down a 110 kg man who is effectively already dead takes time.

And that’s the crut
ch of this post. There is more, obviously- 100 hours in the hell that is an Intensive Care Department, and the immediate aftermath of a street full of sirens and two small children oblivious to the fact that their world has just collapsed beneath them- but that’s another post. For another time.

Here’s the thing- have you ever wondered why hanging is considered such a violent method of suicide? I always did. Even though I studied mental health.

Because it’s just so fucking quick.

It’s nothing like on the movies. Most things aren’t, I suppose, but this especially. If you asphyxiate slowly through hanging, it will be painful and long and you’ll be conscious for a lot of it. And you won’t be able to lift your own body weight to relive the tension in the rope.

That isn’t what happened with Tony.

What happened with Tony is common in hanging. He managed to compress a nerve-the Vagal nerve,I believe, but I could be wrong. This nerve runs down both sides of your neck.

Compression of this nerve instantly renders you unconscious. The rope around your neck cuts off any remaining oxygen to your brain. Brain damage sets in after 30 second, with this type of injury. After 4 minutes, it’s permanent and irreparable.

So, God forbid, you live, you will be a vegetable.

There are no second chances, with hanging. There is no time, no leeway for someone to save you. I really don’t think Tony knew that. To hang himself in front of his wife and child, in broad daylight, with a whole neighborhood of people home who would come to our aid….. I think he thought he would have time.

He was wrong. Hanging is fast, and it’s pretty damn permanent.

I can only imagine how much he’s kicking himself now.

Dickhead.

post signature

{ 294 comments… read them below or add one }

Insane Jane August 23, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Hi Lori,
I just found your blog and just read this post. It's amazing. And I am glad for you that you were able to express it. I hope you're travelling ok (or better at least) now that a lot of time has gone by since you're husband passed, but I know that the pain will still be there. I cannot imagine the heartbreak and pain you've gone through and I wish you and your children well. xx

Anonymous June 28, 2012 at 10:06 am

Reading your blog in tears, came here bay chance searching advice for full time mums. You are stronger than most people I know, including myself, don't know what I would have done in your situation. Fuerza y amor para ti!

Hannah Millerick January 20, 2012 at 11:33 am

Thats pretty confronting shit. Well done for sharing. xx

Anonymous January 4, 2012 at 2:37 am

I don't know how I ended up here, possibly a link from another blog? I was not searching for this. I vomited after I read this but not for the reason you may think. This blog entry just saved my life. I am a sahm of 4. I suffer from bipolar. I have been wanting to hang myself for months. I have tied the rope. I have tested areas by tying it and holding on to make sure it can hold my weight. Not today, not tomorrow, maybe not even this year but I've always known this is what I would do. My psychotic episodes come 2-3 times a year. The things you described, the out of character behaviors of Tony, that is me. I've read and I've felt your pain so intensely that I have literally thrown up. I can't. I won't. Please, please God don't let me be out of line in saying this but from my point of view, having never once thought of the aftermath, having never imagined what happens to those left behind, especially the spouse, I would have eventually ended my life in this fashion, in front of my husband. I keep wanting to type "I'm sorry" but those words mean nothing. If I have overstepped a line, delete this, please. I don't know why I'm posting this. There is no sense in the pain your have endured. I can tell you why you wrote during this time. Maybe you didn't know it at the time but I know I am not the first one here…. This, your blog, your writing about your experience, your experience itself… It saved my life. I feel so damn selfish saying that but maybe, there's a small part of me who is hoping that you knowing that will help in some way. I don't know. There may be 1 or even 50 other people who have read this and stopped their plans. This has been my plan for so long that I have not once through about growing old. It's not my plan. I see the pain left behind. I can't. I won't. Thank you…

Livi October 25, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Oh hun, I don't know what to say. I've just found your blog and am in awe of your bravery and candidness about something so painful. The world needs more people as open as you.

Anonymous September 7, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Lori,
I am speechless.
I am horrified that you had to go through this.
My mother attempted suicide when I was 5. I do not remember her at all. I must have blocked her out.
Thankyou for sharing your horrifying experience and Im so glad you have written it down – not only for yourself but for your children. Children are so inquisitive and will want and need to know details and this is an amazing way for them (altho upsetting – but I wish I knew more..)
Much love and you will be in my thoughts for a very long time xx

CauseMummySaidSo August 12, 2011 at 1:46 pm

I just came upon your Blog today and I had no idea until I read your post on PMS and you mentioned your husband in the past tense "loved him". Now I am reading about what happened, I am so sorry, I am so sorry that Tony did this in front of you and in front of your daughter and left you all behind. I have tears rolling down my face for you, and I don't know what to say. I am thinking of you though….

GirlSpeak June 30, 2011 at 6:51 am

I have poured over each and every one of your painstakenly horrific blogs to see the beauty of honesty shining through each of them. I hope strength can be felt through the Internet as I send it your way, and even more so, I gain it from you. You are such an amazing soul, and I won't even try to say I can't imagine what you are going through. But I will say that you are living each moment in the most admirable way – regardless of what emotion/thought is gripping you. Not many people could express themselves in such a genuine way and the way in which you express how you feel is so helpful to anyone whos ever experienced any level of grief (all of us) and especially those dealing with the unimaginable. Your children are the luckiest in the world to be raised by a woman who lives authentically in every moment. Your beauty will carry you through -how much of an impact you have made on what life REALLY means. I am sorry for this tragedy and wish a word could erase pain. I am also thankful people like you exist to show what living means. Thank you. May your journey continue with more and more light and more and more strength in the dark. Xxooxx

Kanna June 28, 2011 at 4:40 pm

I know this is 5 months after this post, but I just found your blog through Jenny (I just found her today too, well, yesterday.) And I just hope that you read this.

I read this and…..I broke. Then I started at the beginning and read it all. And I can't thank you enough for being strong enough to write this.

I've been struggling with depression and anxiety for years. Alone. But after reading this, I realized that I need help. I'm not ready to seek it yet. I'm not ready to own up to the fact that I'm broken. I'm not ready to try to convince my parents that anxiety issues are true mental illnesses. And it will take time.

I've tried reaching out to close friends, but after being ignored I gave up. Thank you for giving me the courage to try again. Thank you for showing me–through your post and your commenters–that I am not alone.

sanabituranima April 11, 2011 at 5:43 am

*hugs* I am so sorry. I know these words mean almost nothing, but I feel like I ought to say it.

Anonymous February 17, 2011 at 8:06 pm

My heart is breaking reading this. You are an incredible person for sharing your life with us – and you are no doubt saving lives. Thoughts and love,

City Girl Blogs February 6, 2011 at 3:55 pm

I just came across your blog via The Bloggess, and I have tears in my eyes as I read your posts. I'm so, so very sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers go to you and your family.

susie @newdaynewlesson February 6, 2011 at 5:04 am

I think that your strength and openness in your time of pain will make a difference to many other people in the future. thank you for sharing and sending lots of hugs.

Mamapumpkin February 5, 2011 at 6:21 am

Sending you a ship load of love from over the seas……and remember, a hand is here for you if you ever need it.

Steph(anie) February 4, 2011 at 10:40 am

Thank you for being so honest.

Anonymous February 3, 2011 at 9:22 pm

I suffer from depression Lori, and have had some very dark days where I've made plans. And I can be impulsive and stupid and – well, just thank you for writing this. Thank you. I won't ever forget it.

Sarah February 2, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Oh, Lori. I'm shaking, shocked and sick after reading that. I'm so glad you're still there – 'talking' to us. We're listening. We're here.

Give your babies a cuddle, breathe in their goodness. My biggest hope for you all is that your love for each other will help you heal. Their innocence + your strength. A beautiful combination.

Thinking about you every day.

Mummy’s Little Monkey February 2, 2011 at 11:27 am

It's a sad truth that we take our pain out on the people closest to us – deliberately picking fights and saying things we don't mean so we have an excuse to 'lose it' and relieve some of the anger, sadness, guilt and rage bubbling away inside. I can't even begin to imagine what you went through, but hope you know, or will one day realise, that it wasn't your fault. If your two beautiful children couldn't keep him in this world, then it seems to me that he was already irretrievably lost to the disease of depression. The man who said those things to you wasn't your husband anymore. I hope in time you'll be able to remember the 'real' Tony again – before the depression took him from you xxx

lifeofadoctorswife February 2, 2011 at 9:39 am

I am so so sorry for your loss. And I have tremendous respect and admiration for you for posting this. As so many others have said, hopefully it will prevent other tragedies from happening.

Rita February 2, 2011 at 8:00 am

Thank you for being so honest. I have no doubt you helped someone with this! You are in my thoughts.

Super Sarah February 1, 2011 at 2:15 pm

What you are doing is one of the bravest things I have ever known, talking about "the ugly" sharing your pain and admonishing anyone who is thinking about suicide to think again. Wow woman, seriously, you are changing people's lives here. Wishing you strength and thank you for your honesty.

Sophie January 31, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Lori I am so sorry.

jenna January 31, 2011 at 3:37 pm

thank you xo <3

Anonymous January 31, 2011 at 11:00 am

Thank you for writing this Lori, I'm deeply moved. Although we don't know each other, know that what you've written and been through has touched so many, and will make a difference. I wish you and your little ones all the best.

DaniV January 31, 2011 at 7:57 am

Fuck. Ugly as fuck. That is really shit Lori. I can relate slightly. When my Dad killed himself, he wrote a long letter to my brother telling him that it was my fault and that I was a bitch and for me not to mourn him when he died, because I would just be a hypocrite. Dad also said that suicide was a cowards way and that he would never do it. Ha!

Hugs to you Lori, you know that was not your Tony x

allison tait January 30, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Ah Lori, again there's nothing I can say here. I'm reading, I want you to know that. But I cannot think of the words.

Janine January 30, 2011 at 9:03 pm

dickhead…exactly…so so so so sorry for your pain x

Rachel January 30, 2011 at 5:46 pm

oh god…i feel sick to my stomach reading this. my close friend committed suicide in the apartment we shared together years ago now. he also hung himself and i was the one who found him….i remember vividly the red cord and the blue-ish face. it is something i will never forget and probably never totally recover from.
i feel so much empathy for you and your family right now.
xx

Rufalina January 30, 2011 at 5:16 pm

i thought I was heartbroken for you when I first heard of Tony being hospitalised… But now it breaks again and again for you and your kids… Hon. I am weeping for you, for what you are going through. You remain in my thoughts and prayers. xo Rufalina

Brenna January 30, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Dear Lori,

I just found you through The Blogess. Your story is so touching. I'm so sorry about what happened. I'll be thinking about you.

Anonymous January 30, 2011 at 4:20 pm

I wish I could properly convey how deeply I can empathize with you on a number of levels (and how sorry I am to admit that). I wish I could just give you hug, make you a pot of tea. Your strength is so evident in this post. Be incredibly kind to yourself right now. The numbness may never subside, but there will be light again.

Really, there will.

Lisa B January 30, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Lori

Huge hugs coming your way, thank your for sharing your story.

Bec January 30, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Love love love to you and your kids. This is just a nightmare of a post that will haunt me always. I am so sorry you have to live in it.
Courage to you, and never think it was your fault. He seemed sick, out of his mind and unfortunately awfully intent.

Mel January 30, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Lori,
Nothing much I can say but it's gotta be a good thing that you've shared it. For you and for anyone else it may help.
x

Reb January 30, 2011 at 2:41 pm

I am so sorry. So, so sorry.

I am sorry you lost your precious husband, twice. You lost the man he once was, and then you lost him altogether.

I'll be thinking of you and your tiny babies an awful lot in the hours, days and months to come. Reb

Anonymous January 30, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Oh, sweetheart. ::hugs:: My heart breaks for you, but you are doing something wonderful by sharing- you're getting out what you need to say to get through, and I would lay money that you're saving lives in the process. I'm so, so sorry for what you had to see. That Tony wasn't your Tony. Your Tony lost a battle you didn't know he was fighting- he may not have even known he was fighting it, depression and psychosis are harsh monsters that can take you down before you even know what happened. I hope you can feel the warmth and love from each and every comment, and that maybe as a collective whole, we can be a tiny spot of light in what must feel pretty dark and bleak right now. You are so very loved- I hope you can feel that when you need it.

distortiongirl January 30, 2011 at 11:59 am

I only heard of you 5 minutes ago and I am sobbing for you and your kids. What horrible trauma you have endured.

My husband died in October from cancer, and I have 3 young kids. So, I can relate all too well to bits of your story and your future. But, I can't imagine going through all of this with the added burden that your husband's choice placed on you. It's too awful.

Keep writing. Love and prayers coming your way.

MrsH January 30, 2011 at 10:59 am

Oh my God, how absolutely awful! I am amazed that you had the strength to write about it. My heart goes out to you and your children. Just so very very awful is all I can think. Much love to you guys!

Anonymous January 30, 2011 at 9:41 am

I don't know what to say, except THANK YOU for posting this. From the eyes of someone who witnessed a suicide. You've made me realise that sure committing suicide is the easy way out, you get to leave the world, BUT, you always forget to think about the people who might find you. The scars you might cause them, for finding you. You've made me re-think about the people who do mean a lot to me – my children. I can't imagine what it would be like if they did find me dead, as in taken my own life. Because if I did ever do it, it would be at home and that would just be so horrendous for them. Thank you Lori. I now understand the hideousness of suicide and you made me re-think my situation. Thank you for saving my life.

Plus, I don't think your man meant to cause you grief. He really did love you and I think he was just troubled by so many things. xx

Kats Eye On Life January 30, 2011 at 6:09 am

Dear Lori –
I am reading here for the first time after being referred from The Bloggess. I didn't read all of the 254 comments before this, though I read enough and know that I'm not unique enough to write something no one else has said. But like so many others, I am unable to read a post like this and say nothing. And I'm so profoundly grateful to live alongside other people who feel that way. You are unbelievably brave. Like you, I studied social work so I "know" this and that. But having academic knowledge and living through what you've endured are two completely different things. This post will save lives and likely already has. I am so very sorry for your loss and the pain you feel and I wish you peace.

JallieDaddy January 30, 2011 at 4:14 am

Wow. How incredibly awful. Those Before rows are very familiar. And I've often felt depressed & angry as s result. Thanks for the warning.

THE Bird January 29, 2011 at 11:37 pm

Fuck!
…I know she is a baby, but please, look to your daughter, she will not remembr specifics, but the horror & the trauma will always be a nagging constant in the back of her mind… She will need reasurrance & security.. This will be something she will not quite remember, but never able to forget…

LOVE to you all!

fifi_labelle1 January 29, 2011 at 11:00 pm

I hope that you will gain some strength out of this to help others, thank you for always being so honest.

I'm angry at him though for putting you through this, and making you doubt yourself – I hope that you know that you are a good person, and the amount of support you have is a reflection of this….xxxxx

thepixiechick January 29, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Hi – me again.
I was talking about this post with my hubby and he said "I read it and do you know what the overwhelming emotion was? I was proud. I was so proud of her" He was going to post a comment but never found the words. But I wanted to say this to you – because that is how I feel too, although I chose different words at the time. So proud of your courage, your strength, your pure, gutwrenching honesty. You amaze me.
Love always xoxo

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