Better Off Without You

by Lori Dwyer on January 30, 2012 · 77 comments

in Uncategorized

Every now and then I get an email from, or talk to, a bloke who tells me they empathise with my husband, that they’ve been in the state of mind he was in when everything went wrong. A lot of them have read the post I wrote about men and suicide.

Some of them say thank you, just reading that helped me. Others of them say that had they read my blog, the living, grieving aftermath of a suicide, they may have felt differently when they were considering it themselves. And there are those who say that reading my blog wouldn’t have made one iota of difference to how they felt or how they acted.

All valid reactions, and thank you, gentlemen, for your honesty and candor. I love feedback. I love correspondence. I love to know if and how this blog is effecting people. It helps…. death always has to has to have some kind of purpose. Meaning making- the human skill of giving death a deeper meaning than the stopping of the heart, the slow decomposition of cells- it’s what allows to move on, psychologically, from grief.

But I digress. I was getting to the part where I say that there is, I’ve noticed, a common theme amongst the men who write to me, those who have considered- or attempted- tot take their own lives before. Women say it too, but not as frequently as men… never as often as men.

“I really, honestly, thought my family and the people I knew would be better off without me.”

It scares the shit out of me, how often I’ve heard this. How deep the conviction behind it. How solid, and irrefutable and logical people tell me it is. Not just a misguided belief that no would miss them much at all… but a deep core belief that the rest of the world- their loved ones in particular- would really, truly be better off without them.

And I know, first hand and in terrifying technicolor, just how very wrong that notion is. Just over twelve months after my husband took his own life, and I see the spiraling, spider-webbing consequences of it every day.

And if you don’t believe me, I can prove it. The consequences stack up day after day after day… it’s written in the life stories of myself and my children and so many people I know and love.

I can tell you about it, show you the proof.

A mother, broken, waiting to die. A sister who has lost the only man she could ever depend on, so devastated by her loss she just can’t control her pain and lashes out at others cruelly and indiscriminately. A teenage girl who’s lost her anchor, her rock, her hero.

A woman, not even thirty, who’s had everything taken from her, who’s crippled with grief and pain and anxiety. A little girl who knows Santa better than Daddy. Who will never, ever know her father, who called her his princess. A little boy who, at four years old, understands more about death than any child should, and sometimes still curls up on the floor, with his father’s pillow, listening to his dad’s favorite CD, and he talks to me about how tall Daddy was, how high he could jump. He tells me, when I cry, that it’s OK, Daddy is watching me from Heaven and I can still talk to him.

And did reading that last paragraph break your heart? Good. Because that was my intention. If you ever think anyone would be better off without you, I want you to remember that image. And there’s more. You think that’s where it stops, with the people closest to you, those immediately involved with you? You are wrong.

I can show you a man who was already grieving, who’s lost the only bloke who understood him, the only other male he could talk to. I can show you a woman who has had her faith in God badly shaken, her belief in happiness undermined. I can show you a couple, together for twenty years, now divorcing- the result of compounded events, part of which was the poison that invaded their lives when mine fell apart.

I can show you a child who should have a godfather, two grooms who were missing their best man. I can show you an ambulance officer who will never look at things the same again. I can show you a psychologist who had all her perceptions realigned. I can show you a man who had to live through his own father’s suicide all over again.

I can show you two small children who miss going to daycare with their best mate, who don’t understand why he left to move far away. I can show you a boy who became a man in the week he painted the Purple from my life. I can show a woman who is haunted by CPR. I can show you men, a few of them, who seem to have lost their balls when they lost their friend.

I could go on, I could write this list forever… but it hurts, and I don’t need to. I’m sure you understand what I’m saying. You really, truly think that anyone in your life would be better of without you, after reading the list of pain my husband’s suicide has left behind? Can you see how far it reaches, how it didn’t just effect us, or his family, or even just his friends? It left a pattern, a long, long path of destruction, and after twelve months, it still has not stopped.

No one will be better off without you. You can even think to yourself “It will hurt now, but eventually, in a few months, they’ll be better off”. And I can tell you- you are wrong. No one will be better off without you, not now, not in the future, not ever.

Suicide, taking your own life, however it’s done or however minimal you think the harm may be- you are wrong.

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{ 77 comments… read them below or add one }

Lori @ RRSAHM October 1, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Oh anon… I wish you'd left me your email address. You are worth more than any money you can leave them.

I own a house, here, I'm lucky… but it's nothing compared to my son telling me he misses his dad. I'd sleep in a cardboard box, and I'm sure my kids would too, if it meant we got to have him back again.

They need you. YOU. Broken, in pain… any way you come. THEY NEED YOU.

Please email me. This doesn't have to be the end- life's a continium.


Anonymous October 1, 2012 at 10:16 am

I lost my job over a year ago.
I'm losing my home right now.
I lost my health insurance last week.
I just got a notice that my unemployment is running out.

Through all of this over the last two years, I've been able to somehow keep making the child support payments to my remarried ex.

But now, with the unemployment running out, I will have reached a new low and be unable to financially support my own children.

I have turned my face to the sky on many ocasions, to ask the Universe what my path should be.

The signs are unmistakable. Every time I start to think that maybe, just maybe i should stick around, another one comes up and slaps me across the face and lets me know that I haven't been paying attention..and gets me to focus on where the Universe wants me to be.

So, yes – I DO beleive they'll be better off, even with the pain that you speak of. Because the pain of me staying and them watching me continue to fall into defeat and failure would be worse for all of us.

I love them all very much, even my ex. I love them too much to keep being THIS. They'll get the insurance and there'll be an end to this constant failure and defeat.


Anonymous February 22, 2012 at 2:16 pm

I just wanted to add that the grief extends much further than their immediate loved ones. Last week I had the misfortune of hearing that the son of a former neighbour of my grandfathers committed suicide last month. My grandparents and his were very close and they shared a wire fence which had a gate between the two properties. We were the same age and played together often until his parents moved away when he was about ten. He left behind an estranged wife and two small children. I have been weepy and grieving all week, as though I could have done something to prevent it if I had only known he was going through a hard time. It's like an important formative part of my life has been wrenched away. I remember his cheeky smile, the way we used to listen to truckie's conversations on his Christmas gift of walkie talkies and especially interrupt the romantic ones. How bright he was. And he can never come back. I'm angry at him for doing it to his lovely parents and terribly upset at the same time.


Anonymous February 6, 2012 at 11:56 pm

Sorry, but this 'view' isnt helping anyone in the mindset being discussed.. Its a view of those looking upon others in the mindset being discussed… Even reading ALL previous comments, its showing that its an outside opinion by people who dont understand what impact such thoughts have on a person. Im not saying I dont afree with ur message, but its almost like a anti drug talk by someone whos never touched drugs and have no idea of what goes on inside the effected persons body and mind. Is it selfish to take ur own life..yes…but in your mind, its far from it, and ur not wrong.. If u feel this way, I strongly suggest seeking out a psychologist, it works, they help u get into ur own mind and take control, counsellors are for kids and sorry if u are one, but its so different so if you have only been to a counsellor, get urself to a psychologist before taking any action on what you may be thinking. I get it. Ive been there. I wish I could help more people to get themselves out of the dark places the world offers, and when u get diagnosed wirh mental illness, get two opinions, and with medication get head space help and work yourself out of it. It doesn't have to be a lifetime illness no mater what they say, u do have the power to take control of mind, grab it by the balls and fight for life. You Are NOT ALONE..


Lisa Wood February 3, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Lori – there are no words. Thanking you for being strong enough to share your pain and your journey. May this save someone. xxx


Anonymous February 3, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Sorry for your loss. I understand how people feel when they try to take their own lives.I have suffered depression for years. I hope you are able to get into a happier place soon.


ruddygood February 2, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Lori, you save lives every time you write, I'm sure of it. x

Please, people – heed her words. Listen to all these people sharing their own experiences with depression, suicide and loss.

Your family, your children, your friends; they don't feel *relief* when you're gone. Don't use them as an excuse. Seek help.


NozomiBlackbird January 31, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Lori, thank you for your words. I remember very clearly and still hold dear an old photo from my sophomore homecoming dance; I was on my way to a bottle of pills when I passed the same photo I passed everyday, and seeing the faces of my dearest friends saved my life. As much pain as I was in and as much as I truly believed their lives would be better for not carrying my burdens I realized could never put them through the pain of having to mourn me, however much I believed I didn't deserve their grief. 10 years later I am in a much better place in every way thanks to those wonderful girls whom I still talk to on at least a weekly basis, and that old photo still has a place of honor where I can see it every day and remember how they saved me, time and again.


Anonymous January 31, 2012 at 10:32 am

I've had these very thoughts. This is all very rational to those who are sound of mind. Sadly there is nothing rational about someone crippled with depression.


Megs January 31, 2012 at 9:53 am

Lori, I have only just started following your blog and I had NO IDEA about your past. To say that my heart is broken for you is an understatement; you're such a strong woman for being able to talk about it so openly.



In Real Life January 31, 2012 at 5:34 am

That is such a powerful post, Lori. Thank you for writing it.


Nicky Singh January 31, 2012 at 12:58 am

Hi Lori, Your right, no one would be better off without you! Great post, very well written.

Nicky Singh


Kellie January 30, 2012 at 11:07 pm

Oh Lori. So well written. The tears are falling right now. I hope it's heard loud and clear. xx


BUSH BABE January 30, 2012 at 11:01 pm

You think you know. I thought I knew. I have no idea, but I sure as hell am sharing this post in every way I know how.

Many hugs to you – not sure it will help you (can't hurt, right?) but sure makes me feel a bit better.
(Jeanie's sister, above).


jessica January 30, 2012 at 10:53 pm

I too am sorry to hear of your heartache and your loss. Thank you for sharing something so personal and close to your heart. You're truly amazing and I pray you see better days with your precious children, friends and family. xJess


jeanie January 30, 2012 at 10:39 pm

I am so sorry for your loss – I too lost my daughter's father to suicide, although he probably thought that he was saving the world with his actions(he was schizophrenic), so at least (?) I had the ability to answer his mother and sister and daughter and brothers and mates with information about his illness they didn't want to acknowledge while he lived.

Depression is a horrible illness, it truly sucks at your soul and tells you lies.

My wish is for people to realise that Mental Illness isn't about "putting on a happy face" or just putting your mind to it, but chemical imbalances that can be assisted in rebalancing and that there IS help out there (not just good mates, but great therapists) to get techniques to recognise triggers and claw your way back to what "normal" people would consider base camp.

Best luck to you and your family in your journey forward.


Maxabella January 30, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Oh Lori. So much pain. x


Anna @ green tea n toast January 30, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Hi Lori,
I only came across your blog recently and after reading a few past posts I just want to say that I'm sorry for what happened, that I'm glad you seem to be in a happy place at the moment and that your blog seems to be striking a chord with a lot of people.
Years ago back in the UK I worked for a fantastic child bereavement charity called Winston's Wish (check it out – they do amazing work), who among other things run specific grief camps for children of parents who committed suicide. They were powerful, emotionally charged weekends but the outcomes were amazing. As part of the training I found it really interesting to learn that men were much more likely to kill themselves than women. Scary stuff seeing as they are the ones less likely to talk about their feelings. Hopefully with people like you getting the message out there it will make some men stop and think. Thanks for sharing your world. xx


Anonymous January 30, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Lori – this month alone, three people I know have attempted suicide. Two were successful. Those two left behind grieving partners and children. The survivor is my 14 year old niece. I am devastated. Your post is inspiring. I'll be forwarding… xxx


Anonymous January 30, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Unless you have faced thoughts of suicide, I don't think you can possibly understand from that person's point of view. Of course it makes no sense to those left behind. But in addition to "people would be better off without me" people with suicidal thoughts also think "I would be better off without the pain and anguish in my life". It's when the pain is so utterly unbearable that those thoughts creep in.

I don't know what the answer is. But I imagine those you help aren't the ones who have really really considered suicide or even attempted it. I have. When the pain was just too much for me to bare any more and it felt like the only way out.

You are an amazing woman Lori and I really do feel for you. I lost a friend to suicide and know that it is hard to be left behind. But it doesn't stop me from considering taking my own life when things are really that unbearable.


Renee | About a Bugg January 30, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Thank you Lori. Your raw honesty, while no doubt extremely painful, will hopefully help others.

Even if it just helps one.



Anonymous January 30, 2012 at 8:18 pm

How do you have the strength to even get these words out and share these feelings? My brother committed suicide 3 and a half years ago and I am still hiding from the pain and too afraid to even think about him. You are such an amazing, strong woman for sharing this.


Anonymous January 30, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Lori,thank you.Like several of your commenters,I have endured childhood abuse from age 3 yrs.Bullying at work and being blamed for things going wrong in my family's lives.Depression is a regular visitor,and despite knowing logically that I am loveable and cherished,there lies in that tiny core of me the knowledge that I am vile,useless and undeserving of any emotion.I can hide it ,disguise it,deny it,but it is still there.The only things that prevent suicide is, who would look after my animals,and grandchildren,For them I still exist.


Amy January 30, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Thank you for writing this Lori.

I can only imagine how hard it would have been to get these words out.



Anonymous January 30, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Please read Deb's poignant comment above. While you may see the anguish your unhappiness is causing those who LOVE you (Why else do they stick around?), your taking your own life will end your own pain but will be the start of their pain-an unending pain as those who have lost loved ones many years ago have attested to in the above comments.


Anonymous January 30, 2012 at 6:45 pm

They may be stressed and in pain, but they continue to deal with you because they care. My sister's suicide attempts pissed me off big time because I couldn't see the sense in them and I felt powerless in helping her get well. Because I love her. She is now properly diagnosed (bipolar) and such a special person to me and my kids. Depression and bipolar close the window on hope, but it is still out there, you just need to find a way to prize open the window


Melissa January 30, 2012 at 6:45 pm

"It will hurt now, but eventually, in a few months, they'll be better off"

Is exactly what I thought. Until Tony died.


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