Ten years ago my husband…

Story of Hope

Ten years ago my husband killed himself. I was devastated. I couldn’t believe that this man whom I’d married eight years previously, that I planned on growing old with, could do this to his two daughters and me.

I had no idea how I was going to go on. Then I received a phone call from Susan Moore, director of the grief counseling program at the Contra Costa Crisis Center. Susie asked me to be part of a support group she was starting for survivors of suicide. I said okay without any idea what I was committing to. It was the best thing I ever did.

I learned through this group that I wasn’t alone. I learned that many others shared the same feelings, thoughts, and pains as me. I learned that I could talk about the shame, the guilt, and the hard times and receive back understanding and support.

Susie begins each new group by saying, “I’m sorry that all of you are here, but at the same time I’m glad you’re here.” Nothing could be more true.

If you’ve ever lost someone you love, you know how empty you feel. Nothing matters. Even the simplest thing, like opening a can of soup or reading a newspaper, is overwhelming.

I never imagined that I would feel helpless one day. I had a wonderful family, a nice home, and a fulfilling, professional career.

It’s amazing how quickly your life can change, though. One moment you have everything, the future looks bright. Then, in the blink of an eye, it’s gone. You don’t know how you’re going to get through the next five minutes, much less the day. A week seems like 100 years.

Being able to talk about your feelings with someone who understands makes all the difference. This is why, by listening and caring, the Crisis Center is able to convey hope to people when they need it the most.

Today I’m a volunteer grief counselor at the Crisis Center and help others cope with the death of someone they love. One thing I always hear from clients is, “You people really get it!” It’s true, because we care.

—Patty O.