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Surviving Suicide – Part 25

July 9, 2010


I’ve not blogged in a few days, had a few things come up this week that left me just not in the mindframe to post, so I didn’t. A very dear friend of mine lost her dog this past weekend. For all you animal lovers out there, you know it’s like losing a member of your family. I loved her dog too and had just spent a weekend with them not long ago so had wonderful memories, but the shock of it really caught me off guard and I knew just how distraught and devastated my friend was and how much pain she was in.

I haven’t spoken to her yet, spoke to her Mom and got minimal details, but I know she’s really hurting. It took me out for almost two days myself. It brought up all the painful memories of losing my previous animals, made me thankful for my little minpin buddy I’ve still got, but mostly I just felt so bad for my friend and wished I could take her pain away.

It made me realize too how very different we all are in how we grieve. Loss is loss, and whether a person or a pet, it always involves a great deal of pain. Some of us just shut down and don’t want any contact, others have great need to have someone around all the time to talk to. I’ve just learned to accept that everyone does things in their own way, in their own time, and I respect that and never try to force contact. I think a good friend never imposes their own needs but just waits until the person is ready to communicate.

I’ve listed the Stages of Grief for a Suicide as well as Five Stages of Grief on my Articles page on this blog. They are similiar in some ways, but very different too.

January 2001 – After Rob’s Death:

Something I wanted to mention about when I contacted our life insurance agent to tell him that Rob had died, was that I can’t tell you how many people incorrectly told me there would be no life insurance as it was a suicide and suicides are not covered. This wasn’t just from anyone, it came from highly educated, successful professionals and it just pissed me off because they were all so adamant, but all so wrong.

Just to clarify, at least where I’m from, if a life insurance policy is 2 years or older, suicide IS covered. Our policies were far older than that, and I as relayed previously, I listened to my intuition and didn’t change the policies as Rob had mentioned suicide quite early on. What really got me is why people would tell me something like this to begin with??? Was it supposed to be helpful, comforting, upsetting???

Never could figure it out, but I’ve learned people do some pretty strange things and say even stranger things all in the guise of supposedly being “helpful”. It always amazes me how adamant some are in their beliefs, which are often incorrect and totally unfounded, yet they’ve heard it somewhere, decided to store it in their databank and spew it out later. If I don’t know something, I’ll prequalify my comment or just keep my mouth shut, but never … under any circumstances would I be saying something potentially upsetting under a situation like I had.

I’m aware some don’t seem to have that switch inside them to know what’s appropriate or not, but I’ve seen it many times, not just in my case, and have to wonder if their brains developed differently from mine lol! If they’d just take a moment, a split second to ask whether any good will come of what they’re about to say, much would be different.

I couldn’t recall from memory as it’s been almost ten years now, who I had working for me at the time all of this transpired. Fortunately I keep amazing records, or I did back then ;), and I was able to locate my payroll books which helps with timelines too. Turns out my brother-in-law who was absolute trouble, was working for us the last two weeks of December 2000. Rob was so unstable and not showing up, I had a business to run and I remember my sis-in-law saying I know this may sound crazy, but what about hiring her brother just for the interim.

I thought about it, didn’t like it one little bit, but knew I was desperate (nothing good ever comes of desperation lol!) and decided for the time being to bring him in as he was a licenced mechanic. I had a vague memory of Rob and his brother who hadn’t spoken or seen each other in a very long time, being together a few times the last bit of December 2000. It was uncomfortable for Rob for sure, but he too knew he wasn’t capable and just accepted it.

I told my sis-in-law at the time that I just knew I’d be paying for this decision, but that I’d somehow deal with that too when the time came. My brother-in-law had worked for us a few times over the years, it had never worked out and never lasted more than six months before he’d been let go. This time wouldn’t be all that much different as he was gone by June 2001 again, within that 6 months.

My brother-in-law also suggested a young neighbour of where I used to live, said he was pretty handy with cars and brought him in. So I started January off with 2 employees, neither of which came even half way close to what Rob could do, but I got used to that pretty quickly. My brother-in-law came with stipulations, saying he had his own clients and that they would have to come first! I didn’t like this one little bit for a whole bunch of reasons, but accepted it until I could get a replacement.

Word had spread very quickly in the boating community and I had quite a few boat brokers contact me either by dropping in at the shop or calling. They were all interested in whether I’d be selling the boat and whether they could list it. One young boat mechanic who I’d seen often at the yacht club popped in and said he’d heard I was selling the boat. I said yes, it’ll be for sale, just haven’t figured out a price yet so haven’t given the listing to anyone. He mentioned a figure of half of what it was worth saying everyone knew Rob had died on board.

I didn’t particularly know this man, but sure didn’t appreciate him coming in telling me this. I knew he worked closely with a particular boat broker and wondered if that broker hadn’t suggested he drop in on me to feel me out. I looked at him very calmly and told him people die all the time in their homes, doesn’t make the value of their home drop by half. I also told him I’d lost my husband – not my mind! At that point he could see I was agitated and left lol!

There were many brokers calling me, of course all wanting exclusive listings, I said no I won’t be locking myself into anything exclusive because that’s not good for me. I asked each one to please give me an honest assessment of what I could expect to sell the boat for. I got as many different values as there were brokers. I took the average and listed at that price. Our boat was as I said before a really large boat for Lake Ontario so there was a small market that it would appeal to and who could afford it.

I believe at about the same time, my lease for the shop was coming up. Head Office was jumping my rent an astronomical amount and took it to the most extreme the lease allowed even though they knew my circumstances. I figured they just wanted to squeeze me out, but instead I contacted my lawyer and we began a long and arduous battle with them too. I was also way behind in payments to them for tire inventory, they were pressing me for that too. Not what you’d expect, but it was what transpired.

As January wore on, my suppliers were getting nervous I’d not paid them yet. I kept telling them the insurance cheque would arrive shortly and then they’d get paid. A few, but not many, put me on hold or COD and that made it all the more difficult to service what little business we did have. I called the life insurance company late in January asking when the cheque would be coming and they told me they were waiting for the police report to arrive before releasing payment.

I told them they’d not mentioned this before, that I’d find out where the police report was, then they also told me I’d need some sort of letter from a doctor about Rob’s death too. It dawned on me at this point that the insurance company was wanting to make sure I’d not had anything to do with Rob’s death! I outright asked whoever I was speaking to and he told me yes, they more or less had to rule me out before paying out.

I told them after what I’d been through in the past year, that there were several times I’d have had good reason to kill Rob but hadn’t and that I just couldn’t believe they were doing this. The agent had clearly told me I’d receive my money within 2-3 weeks, I decided to call him to confirm. He was out of town on vacation! I was just livid! The one time I really needed him in 20 years of doing business with him and he was on vacation!!! I asked who was standing in for him, got someone I’d never spoken to who wasn’t at all familiar with my case and finally I just told them to have my agent call me.

My agent never called me even after several more calls from me. He was an owning partner in the brokerage so I spoke to his partner who wasn’t much help either. He told me this was routine to clear me before a payout. I asked why my agent hadn’t informed me of this when he knew how badly I needed the money and he didn’t have an answer, but said he’d have my agent call me. Never ever did hear back from my agent!

I then dealt with the insurance company directly, got them whatever they needed and kept getting stalled about the cheque. Finally I just lost it, told them I can’t do business without that money, that I’d make it my full time job to show up to their offices and call every TV station I could think of to cover this story if I didn’t get my cheque! They seemed pretty alarmed.

I also called my lawyer and told him what was happening, he advised me to back off or the insurance company might suspect me even more. I didn’t like what he was telling me either so I told him to F off and hung up lol! Honestly, months later we were talking and I asked him if he’d ever had a client swear at him as much as I had and he said no lol!

I was in total battle mode at this point, had so many coming at me from everywhere and a girlfriend of mine said OMG Barb! It’s like Rob’s angry spirit has jumped into your body! I told her no, if she were in my shoes, she’d be plenty angry too and that it was my anger getting me through this and keeping me from falling apart.

I didn’t make many notes in January so I’d guess it was because I was too busy trying to keep my head above water, but I did note that I sat in Rob’s Rover which was stored at our shop toward the end of January and felt sad. Rob really loved his Rover, it just felt strange sitting in it, knowing he’d never pull up behind me on the road again honking like a mad fool and me looking in the rearview mirror thinking what idiot is that! and seeing Rob ;).

I’ve noted on January 28th that I went to the boat for the first time since Rob had died. I wondered if Rob had left any note of any kind in the safe on the boat. Wasn’t really expecting it as we’d discussed everything, but knew I had to get into the safe. Had a struggle but with the help of his friend Mike, we got in. There was no note, just Rob’s valuables, his jewellery, etc. I noted that I was surprisingly unemotional.

One last thing to mention. I don’t recall the exact day, but it was a few days after we found Rob and after everyone had left and it was just my son and I in the house. I went to bed and awoke to the sound of my bedroom doorknob being turned, clicking and I always kept it locked out of habit. When I wake up I come to very quickly.

My heart was racing like mad, I was totally freaked out and called out my son’s name asking if that was him. There was no answer. The doorknob noises had stopped, but they started again and this time I was sitting upright in my bed in terror! My body broke out in a total sweat, I was too terrified to even crawl to the end of my bed to look under the door to see if someone was standing there, I simply couldn’t move.

Another girlfriend of mine had mentioned something to me earlier in the week about spirits of deceased loved ones coming to visit you after they had passed. I didn’t really believe in this but she did and said if it should happen, that I should put my hand to my heart and say “I release you to Almighty God”. I didn’t think of this again until that night of the knob turning.

Once the knob turning happened the second time, I put my hand to my heart and just kept repeating “I release you! I release you! to Almighty God, go away you’re scaring me!” and finally the noise subsided. This wasn’t a one time knob turn, it was tried several times on both incidences. I have never been more terrified in my entire life and I know how crazy this sounds, but I know for certain that it was Rob at my door that night.

I never got out of bed, but it took me forever to calm down and for the sweat to stop. I left my night table light on for the rest of the night because I just didn’t want to be in the dark. Next morning I asked my son if he’d been out of bed and come to my room and he looked very confused and told me no. I didn’t tell him of my experience.

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