by Lori Dwyer on April 5, 2011 · 35 comments

Lets play a game. A game of grief, and guilt, and What-If-I’s.

What if I’d turned to him, instead of brushing him away, and said I loved him too, and I was sorry?

What if our son had been awake, if I’d put him down for a nap just a half hour earlier?

What if I’d just swallowed my pride, and walked, and left him to be angry without me around?

And what if, in the imediate After… what if I stopped, and tried to.. do something. Cut him down. Ease the pressure on his neck.

Why I even be capable of that, a dead wieght twice my size…?

What if I’d been there, been stronger, the first night he was in ICU? Stayed, instead of run?

And what if I’d been there more, in the ICU…? The doctor there, she told me “His blood pressure drops perceptably every time you walk into the room?”

Had I been ther e more, would he have pulled through? Given the oxygen deprivation.. would that have been a good thing, or not?

What if I’d picked something up, days, weeks before this happened? What if I’d done things differently?

What if I’d founf that fucking orage rope in the garage, weeks before this happened? Would he have just assured me it was nothing..?

And would I have believed him?

Of course I would.

What if i’d known, hanging was so quick, so violent? Known that it didn’t matter that his feet would touch the ground if he jumped, the damage would already be done?

What if I’d pushed him, hit him? Would it have been me, who ended up in the ICU instead?

Would have been better, or worse?

I know.. pointless questions. Time is impossible to turn back.

And this, it’s horrible, it’s the most awful fucking thing in the world….. but it is what it is.

And those questions will never be answered.

Things don’t happen for a reason.. that has to be bullshit.
It’s simple pyschics. A heavy object, a fast drop… and a nerve in the neck I’d never even heard of.

And it boils down….. to this.

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Suzy April 14, 2011 at 11:42 pm

Oh the what ifs. They have kept me up at night too. I think everyone who has lost someone plays that game.

But honestly, love, if you had responded to him that day – perhaps he wouldnt have done it right then, but he would have done it another day.

Mental illness is a fucking beast of a thing. You had no control over what he did.

I wish you peace as you try to put your life back together.


rin.dell April 7, 2011 at 11:22 am

I like the comments that they girls who have gone through similar situations have written. You are all amazing and it is incredible that you can still offer so much love and support when you have gone through the same thing. Another thing that has stood out is the comment "He may not hv done it that day, but it would hv come another day". Maybe if any of your what if's could hv been changed, there is still a big chance that Tony would hv done it after the next fight. If he was so tormented inside no what if could ever change the final outcome. Sending you love xxx


marketingtomilk April 6, 2011 at 3:36 pm

What ifs will tear you apart.



Draft Queen April 6, 2011 at 9:23 am

Oh honey. I play the what if game. What if I had just quit my job, like Nate asked me to (a hundred million times). Would I still be pregnant? I can come up with a billion more just like this. About this, about other things. But you are right and time can't be turned back. It sucks and it's shitty but we just can't. I'm not sure why we torture ourselves with what-ifs when we know damned well that all it does is hurt us. I can't tell you to dwell on what "what nows" and moving on instead of looking back because I can't do it either. Instead I'm popping pills to keep the PTSD at bay.

I imagine it's much like that for you as well. And that makes my heart hurt for you so much. We have different pain, because I know I have never walked in your shoes and that pain is all yours, but I know that we're both still here trying to figure our own shit out.

Until then, I'm listening. It's all I can do.



Lillian2611 April 6, 2011 at 7:12 am

Lori, I don't think things happen for a reason. They just happen.

Having said that, when things happen there are consequences or options or possibilities that come afterwards that we would certainly have missed or ignored if the original 'things' hadn't happened.

The life you're about to have is not the one you were on a path to have Before. There's nothing particularly meaningful about that, it's just how it became. In the meantime, you'll hurt and you'll grieve and you'll grow, also in ways you wouldn't have Before.


Kelloggsville April 6, 2011 at 7:07 am

The only words running through my head are "if wishes were horses beggars would ride" which also goes onto "if ifs and ands were pots and pans then there would be no need for tinkers, if fishes were wishes there would be no room in the river for water". There is rarely sense to be made of things that happen, I think maybe we just have to let what is 'be' and work out how to manage around that. xxx


Toots April 6, 2011 at 4:39 am

Lori, remember the post where you tuurned off comments & said it was all your fault &, I'm guessing, a tonne of people immediately emailed you to make it very, very clear that this was NOT your fault? Yeah, well fault & responsibility are two sides of the same coin. It was not your fault & it was not your responsibility.

Tony was a grown man, a husband, a father, a bill-payer, a driver, an employee…so he was capable of making his own decisions & being responsible for them. And even if he wasn't himself that day, he chose at some point not to talk, not to tell anyone about that orange rope. You could have changed every 'what if' you can think of, but his mind was still his mind & when someone is in whatever headspace Tony was in, it doesn't matter what you change.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.

Hugs & love & hugs again,
Sophie xxx

You're not psychic, you're not Nostradamus.


Kristy April 6, 2011 at 3:09 am

Of course you would wonder about the what ifs. I have been catching up reading your other posts and find it so disheartening that you mention people judging you for various things. THEY ARE NOT IN YOUR SHOES. I hope you have been able to not let it get to you too much. I can't imagine how draining it would be to deal with everything – all of it! And to hear your boy cry. You will need breaks and relief from that. And, your boys will need to know that there are many other adults who care for them too, so some time with others is good for them as well. Anyways. Thinking of you.


In Real Life April 6, 2011 at 2:16 am

*HUGS* Thinking of you.


Cassondra April 6, 2011 at 1:09 am

Please don't torture yourself with what-ifs. They're always there, but pondering them just hurts. You need more hugs than hurts. Hugs.


rageagainsttheblackdog April 6, 2011 at 12:55 am

Just hugs.


Michael April 6, 2011 at 12:51 am

One of the best pieces of advice I ever got on grieving was simply this- don't let anyone, including me, tell you how, or when, or what to grieve about, or when it "should be over".

Of course you're going to ask these questions. You wouldn't be human if you didn't. You're not going to find answers, but the questions are going to come.

My mother likes to say, "God won't give you anything more than you can handle. I just wish he didn't have so much faith in me."


Glen April 6, 2011 at 12:28 am

What if?


What if?

There is no answer to a question you cannot possibly stop yourself asking.

What if tony had not been shot, what if then? That caused this – not you.


ForeverRhonda April 5, 2011 at 11:47 pm

someone once told me to stop focusing on the what if's and just manage the what is. Right now your what is, it's hard enough honeypie. No need to trouble yourself with the what if's. Because those, they are relentless.


Misfits Vintage April 5, 2011 at 11:11 pm

There is no 'reason'. You are not responsible for anyone else's choices. You are not responsible for Tony's suicide. You are a good person and it is not your fault.

I agree with above commenters – get this shit out, ask the questions, process it however you can. Good for you.

You rock.

Sarah xxx


Danielle April 5, 2011 at 10:36 pm

Lori I have no words please dont play the What if ! etc.. game it will eat your insides out ((HUGS)) I am sorta playing that game right now i am alone and feel shit but with you it's different .
My poor man is in imense pain daily and he has read your post with me as he is a little suicidal
(bone cancer sucks shit !


Hope’s Mama April 5, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Nope, everything doesn't happen for a reason. There was no good reason for this. I often find the people who trot out that line have never been through a huge fucking catastrophe in their lives.
And I can't sit here and tell you not to play the what if game, when I still play it myself.


Melissa April 5, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Those questions hurt so bad, but they are impossible not to ask. Thinking of you.


E April 5, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Maybe it wouldn't have happened at that particular time, but I believe it still would have happened at some point. xoxo


Donna April 5, 2011 at 9:00 pm

I know its natural to play this painful game of what if's but the torturing wont ease any of the hurt. You hold your head up high as you were not to know this tragedy would occur. Sending you much love as always xx


cassey April 5, 2011 at 8:33 pm



Mary Quite Contrary April 5, 2011 at 8:06 pm

The "what ifs" are the worst part. I wish i could take it all away for you lovely xxxx


Lucy April 5, 2011 at 7:25 pm

On the one hand I want to tell you to not play this game, to not torture yourself with "what- ifs". But the more realistic side of me tells myself to tell you that it is like pressing in a sore tooth or picking at a scab. Natural instinct. That will, hopefully, speed you through this process that is grief.



Jane April 5, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Please don't play the horrible "what if" game. It never ever leads to anything good. Whatever will be will be. Love you, Lori xxx


Veronica April 5, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Reading the what-if game feels like falling down a rabbit hole of pain and hurt. I'm not sure I believe that things happen for a reason either. We just make do with what we're left with.



Glowless @ Where’s My Glow April 5, 2011 at 6:32 pm

I have no words… can I just add ditto to Kirrily's comment? (Comes up as Being Me). xxx


Miss Pink April 5, 2011 at 6:25 pm

I despise when people say "Everything happens for a reason" it's the most bullshit line ever and doesn't offer any comfort.
Just like what happened to you, to Tony, to your children is bullshit.


Being Me April 5, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Yes. It's simple physics. That part is not "for a reason". I hated the "for a reason"/"for the best" do-gooders too. But I reached past that, tuned those things out, and headed right for "what gifts has this landed me?"

It is GOOD to get these sneaky, insidious, guilt-ridden, insides-eating what if's out, Lori. For after that comes The Other. The Next. Fight it, hate it, accept it, go with it, reject it. It's all part of that god-awful cycle.

Wishing you much strength and love. xxx


deardarl April 5, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Ohh yes – the "what-ifs". I think every widow has some "what-ifs" to torture themselves with on dark nights, no matter the mode of death. What if I had phoned him at the crucial time, stopped him from going to work that day, what if the truck was a second later, what if…
But it is just that: torture. The outcome cannot me changed.

Ultimately, it is what it is ….
There is no rhyme or reason. No "grand plan".
It just is.
even though it sucks beyond the telling of it.



Toushka Lee April 5, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Sending love xxx


Deer Baby April 5, 2011 at 6:01 pm

Please don't torture yourself with what if's, although that's easy to say not being you. Thinking of you.


A Daft Scots Lass April 5, 2011 at 5:59 pm



Ames April 5, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Yuck. The 'what ifs' are horrible. There is no point to them at all BUT they are part of being human and surviving a tragedy. They are normal. Unfair, cruel yet normal. *hugs* I wish I could take all the pain away from you and your family, as do many other people.

Thinking of you.


Lisa (Becoming – Mum) April 5, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Thinking of you. Hugs


Tara @ Our Whirlwind Adventures April 5, 2011 at 6:32 pm

There cannot be a good reason you have lost your husband, and your kids their Dad.
The only thing that it has come to is so many women & men who follow you, and love you, are checking in & talking with the "Tony's" in their lives. Their husbands, brothers, fathers. The big strong men, who look after everyone else, but leave little time for themselves.

Because of you & Tony, someone's life will be saved.

Losing Tony is not for the best, but what your writing is doing for others, is a small light at the end of a long dark tunnel.

You are amazing Lori. Just amazing xo


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