The First Year Isn't the Hardest Year: A Story of Survival after Suicide

By Krista Berge

September 11, 2020

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The First Year Isn’t the Hardest Year

Brian’s been gone for two years today.  Ugh.  Two. Years.  (Annnnddd reality hit again with typing that)

So today, in a nutshell, was harsh. 

I don’t know what I was expecting but it wasn’t this.  I mean, we made it through year one, the hardest year, right?  But today…it was foggy one moment with “Wait, what happened?” & clear the next as the ache in my chest stole every breath from me.

first year

Today, my mind told me I deserved it all. 

Every crack in my heart, every hardship, every tear. That this was my fault.  That I didn’t try hard enough, that I didn’t pray correctly, that it was me that chose the wrong doctors.  Once again I was able to understand a little bit of Brian’s pain. A small glimpse into depression.

Funny how we can beat ourselves up BUT if my friend was sitting in my shoes and saying these ridiculous things to me, I would probably have to shake her and scream “STOP! Don’t you dare do this!”

So what can I do to fight against these lies swirling in my head tonight? 

Well….I decided to let you into the darkness a little more.  I want to try and help you understand grief during the second year.  Because let’s face it, none of us are immune to it.  We will, or we already have, at one point or another, experienced a significant (the word doesn’t even describe it) loss.

first year
1. It’s not just one day

I lost Brian to depression before I even lost Brian.  But today is the day I found him and knew nothing would ever go back to the way it was.  Today is the day he met Jesus and become whole.  Tomorrow is the day he was pronounced, the following is the day our kids knew Daddy was going to Heaven, and the day after that is the day I received the phone call that all of his organs had been donated.  For most of us in grief, there is the last day we saw them, the last day we had hope, the last time we talked to them.  It is never just one day of loss.

2.  Everyone is lying if they tell you the first year is the hardest. 

I woke up thinking it was all going to be better after the first 365 days, but it was worse.  Much, much worse. The end of the first year only confirmed I had to do this all over again.  I didn’t have to make it through the “firsts” but the “seconds” and “thirds” and so on and SO ON!  Booooo!

3.  I regret every single moment leading up to it. 

This isn’t just a “suicide thing” either.  This is anyone that has ever lost anyone.  We wish we kissed them longer, harder, more, or even at all.  We wish we didn’t take the long way home.  That we called and said “I love you” one more time.  That we followed our intuition.  Anything.  It’s hard pulling yourself out of that terrible loop.

4.  I am exhausted more now than ever. 

I swear adrenaline and denial were the only things that kept me going for the longest time.  Now, it’s only by God’s grace I can roll out of bed.  People tend to go back to their normal lives while those in grief are left wondering what “normal” even looks like anymore.

first year
5.  AND there is hope in making it through another year. 

I used to say we lost Brian BUT God is good.  I now feel we lost Brian AND God is good.  See what I did there?  I changed one word and it reminds me that God is God and I am not.  I am constantly learning to change one word.  I don’t HAVE to get up to take care of the kids…I GET to take care of these loud creatures that God entrusted me with.  I am in pain, we all are, AND God is good. 

So there you go.  Enjoy my dark and twisty thoughts.  Even though He has slain me, my future, my dreams, I will praise Him.  I will shout of His goodness!  Praise Him in my pain!  I will point you to the one who gives and takes away!  This is the hard part you guys…this is the place between the pain of this world and the promise of the next.

Praying for your heart right now ❤️

Please, if you are struggling with your mental health and/or suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HELLO to 741741

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