So many labels....but there is one role that there is not a label for. The divorced woman whose ex-husband commits suicide. It is a strange category.
His death was shocking and so incredibly sad. I tried to imagine how low he would be to take his own life - to feel that there was no other option. I don't have words for how it feels when I think of him at the point. His death began a period of grief for me that was unexpected. I grieved the man I married, the man I loved, the man I brought a child into this world with.
His death was also a relief. The man he had become was a stranger. He was a threat to my mental health. He was a possible threat to our safety and I had to warn every teacher, school, day care provider about him I worried about how my son would deal with having an absent father in the future. I thought about people that my ex might hurt in the future and knew I was powerless to do anything to stop it. His death freed me from those concerns.
So I was grieving the death of my husband, but I was not a widow. I was an woman with a dead ex-husband. No label for that. No rules for how you should feel. I did not attend his funeral. I was not notified about his death until afterwards. I did not get to say goodbye. But who would I say goodbye to? The man I loved had been lost years ago and in his place was a very sick man, an addict, a pedophile. We were better off without him in many ways. But still I grieved. Such conflicting emotions.