‘My husband, the love of my life, took his life without warning.’: Widow shares healing journey on 5-year wedding anniversary

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Disclaimer: This story contains details of suicide loss which may be triggering for some. 

“On the morning of March 5, 2020, my life changed forever. My husband, the love of my life, took his life without warning. He had just turned 34 years old. There were no signs he was suicidal or that he was even struggling at all. 

My husband was the kindest, warmest, most intelligent and compassionate man. He had a tight group of friends and was someone everyone wanted to be around. He had a flourishing career in engineering, and I worked as a researcher in international development. Both of us being expats, we lived an exciting life abroad and traveled the world together. We loved doing small things as a couple—making dinner, taking long drives, lounging on the couch side-by-side with a good book on a lazy Sunday. 

husband and wife pose together in front of a castle
Courtesy of Dr. Lenore Matthew

On the outside, life was exciting, but easy. We were deeply in love and my husband was cool, calm, and collected. 

It was only after his passing that I could see how hard he fought to keep everything hidden and ‘under control,’ out of sight to the world and as much as he could, to himself.

The Days Before

When I found out my husband had taken his life, I was working on my laptop at a coffee shop. I had talked to my husband on the phone less than an hour before. Having just relocated to a new city, we were in the midst of moving into a new apartment, and he had gone into town the night before to work on renovations. 

husband and wife smile at each other
Courtesy of Dr. Lenore Matthew

‘I want to go with you,’ I told him. 

‘It’ll be easier if I go alone,’ he told me. He asked me to stay behind with our friends, with whom we were staying during the transition. 

It felt strange to me that he wanted me to stay behind, but I went along with it. Later I would understand he knew he would take his life. In fact, he had planned it for months and had even had an attempt a few weeks before, which he hid as well. He asked me not to come to the new apartment because he didn’t want me there to witness his death.

husband and wife take a selfie together
Courtesy of Dr. Lenore Matthew

Warnings From My Intuition

As I would realize after his death, my gut feeling around the apartment was one of the many times my intuition had sent me a warning that something was off—but my logical mind and blindness by love pushed it away. 

In fact, as I uncovered over the following year what exactly contributed to his suicide, I would realize that in the 13 years we were together, my intuition had heeded me to listen many times before. Sometimes I would listen and voice my concern. Yet every time I would mention something felt off, my husband would explain it away, hug me, and tell me everything was fine. 

husband gives his wife a kiss on the nose on their wedding day
Courtesy of Dr. Lenore Matthew

I trusted that over my gut instinct every time.

As my husband prepared to leave for the new apartment the day before his passing, the energy in the air felt thick—off in some way. But I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. 

‘It must be nerves about the move,’ I rationalized. 

I wanted so badly to believe everything was okay. And on the surface, there was no evidence I should feel otherwise. Life as it seemed was nothing but good. 

I had asked him again if anything was wrong. 

‘I’m fine, baby,’ he told me as he pulled me close. ‘Everything is fine. I love you.’

Again, I brushed away the unsettled feeling in my gut telling me otherwise.

wife leans into husband's shoulder while they sit together
Courtesy of Dr. Lenore Matthew

Learning About His Death

My husband called me less than an hour before he took his life. It was a short, seemingly normal conversation. We made plans to buy dishes for our new apartment the following week. He said the next evening, he planned to go to a basketball game with a friend.

We hung up and a moment later, my phone dinged. He sent me a photograph of our new bedroom, which he had finished painting earlier that morning. The paint job was pristine, crisp, perfect; meticulously executed without a mistake in sight. True to my husband’s form, through and through.

‘You’re amazing,’ I texted him.

‘You are,’ he texted back.

That was the last thing my husband said to me. He took his life in our new home soon thereafter.

Understanding It Was Suicide

By the top of the hour, his friends would come and find me at the café to tell me my husband—their best friend—had died. 

husband and wife embrace one another on their wedding day
Courtesy of Dr. Lenore Matthew

It was at the police station later that day that the detective would explain to me it was suicide. In complete and utter shock, oscillating between screams and feeling like stone, I would stare in disbelief as the detective showed me one of my husband’s suicide letters, which he left in his pocket. In that letter, my husband apologized profusely. He also requested when he was found, to please notify his friend first, providing the requisite contact information. 

My husband didn’t want his wife, now a widow, to be the first to find out he had taken his life.

The Truth Unravels

It wasn’t long after my husband’s passing that his truth came to light. He left behind numerous documents and other information, and various pieces of evidence came to the surface. Within months, it was uncovered he had endured years of chronic sexual abuse as a child and adolescent, and after coming to a head, this had contributed to him taking his own life.

husband and wife stand with a bike in front of a windmill
Courtesy of Dr. Lenore Matthew

Since a very young age, my husband had been conditioned to maintain a façade that kept the abuse and secrets deeply hidden—and the abusers protected. 

My husband never sought professional help for his abuse and the complex trauma it left him with. On the contrary, he buried it away, until he no longer could. He cultivated a pristine, perfect, successful life—his way of coping with and escaping from the memories and trauma that terrorized him deep inside. By all indications, he never fully made the connection between what was done to him, and the agony he suffered inside. Instead, he blamed himself for not being able to ‘get over it.’ 

husband takes wife's hand and gives it a kiss
Courtesy of Dr. Lenore Matthew

Looking Back Through A Fresh Lens

Knowing what I know now, I look back on the subtle nudges my intuition gave me—and I see they were spot on. Many of these nudges related specifically to the abuse. At the time, I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what it was, and my logical mind rationalized it away, but something felt off and just plain wrong. In those moments, my stomach felt queasy, my nervous system activated and on high alert.

Thinking back to those instances with a new perspective, I also see behavioral patterns that triangulate my gut response. It’s just that at the time, I didn’t understand it or take it seriously.

I saw what I wanted to see, and believed what I wanted to believe.

husband embraces wife tightly in a hug, she smiles
Courtesy of Dr. Lenore Matthew

Healing Through Intuition

My husband and his passing have taught me to trust my intuition over anything else. This has been paramount in my healing after losing my husband in such a traumatic way, and rebuilding my life in the aftermath.

When we lose someone close to us in a traumatic way, our entire world crumbles down.

husband and wife smile and laugh together on their wedding day
Courtesy of Dr. Lenore Matthew

As a widow in my thirties, I felt like I lost my entire life. And in many ways, I did.

In an instant, in one of the most traumatic ways possible, my partner, my lover, my best friend, the person I did everything with and trusted more than anyone… was gone. Our future, our present, and so much of our past—also gone. Where I lived, our home, my career, so much of my identity, even the language I spoke every day—all of this was ripped away.

When my husband died, so much of me died, too.

I had to rebuild from ground zero. 

husband holds wife while they are both smiling
Courtesy of Dr. Lenore Matthew

It took me almost a year to come out of shock, but since he passed in 2020, I’ve taken steps—some massive, some miniscule—to reconstruct the life I lead. With this has come hard decisions about what I allow (and don’t allow) into the life I’m rebuilding. 

Trusting my intuition has been the key to doing so.

After living through what I’ve lived through, I knew it was up to me and only me to recreate a life I deemed worth living. 

Today, every decision I make is guided by my intuition. Where I now live, my career, the people who are close to me (and others I’ve chosen to let go)—all of these aspects of my life have been cultivated entirely by trusting and following through on my intuitive instinct.

What is more, my intuition has also led me to create an ongoing connection with my husband. Cultivating a connection with my husband has not only allowed my intuitive abilities to develop in ways I never could have imagined, but it’s also helped me understand his suicide, find peace and resolution around it, and even find my soul purpose.

husband gives his wife a kiss on the cheek
Courtesy of Dr. Lenore Matthew

Today, I speak openly about suicide loss and soulful ways of healing from it. I use my intuitive abilities to help others connect to their own loved ones who have passed away. I also speak about how we can intuitively and openly support our loved ones (especially men) who have endured sexual abuse.

Most importantly, all of this feels genuinely, authentically, and intuitively me—perhaps more than anything I’ve ever experienced before. 

husband and wife embrace one another
Courtesy of Dr. Lenore Matthew

My Advice To Others

I write this so other people trust their intuition and lean into the energy it inspires, even if the context and reasons behind it aren’t quite clear. 

What is your body telling you about a situation? What is your gut instinct saying? How does that nudge physically feel? We can’t fake energy and the body doesn’t lie. 

This is a call to listen to what they’re telling us, even if the story isn’t totally clear, and when it feels right, to use those intuitive nudges to start a conversation. 

husband and wife sit together on their wedding day holding one another
Courtesy of Dr. Lenore Matthew

While our gut instinct doesn’t lie, what does lead us astray are our ego and our fears. To that end, it’s important we also ask ourselves in what ways our rational mind may be trying to explain away our instinct? Furthermore, how are the ego and our fears shaping our actions, and the conversations we’re willing (or not willing) to have?

Looking back on my husband’s suicide and the years preceding it, my logical mind and deeply in-love heart overruled what my intuition and soul were trying to tell me. Energies I couldn’t see or quite understand were warning me to pay attention. It’s just that I didn’t know how to then. Today, it’s a different story.

husband and wife walk down stairs holding hands on their wedding day
Courtesy of Dr. Lenore Matthew

Do I miss my husband here with me? 

Every day.

Do I also know in his own way, he still is—guiding me forward and helping me trust in my true soul self?


husband holds onto wife while they look into each other's eyes
Courtesy of Dr. Lenore Matthew

[If you’re thinking about hurting yourself, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help is out there. You are not alone.]

This story was submitted to Love What Matters  by Dr. Lenore Matthew. You can follow her journey on InstagramFacebook, and her website. Be sure to subscribeto our free email newsletter for our best stories.

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