Photography by Randy Bacon
We have come a long way from losing the best man I have ever known. On September 24th, 2014 heaven gained a true angel. Blake, my husband and the father of my two daughters, took his life on that dreaded day. I will never forget the intense shot of pain that pierced my heart and changed our lives forever. I can remember it as if it was yesterday, but feel as though I have not seen my sweet husband in years.
Blake was playing in a golf tournament that day, one he had participated in for the previous three years. It was an all day event that ended with dinner and awards and he usually got home around 9:00pm. I took my daughters to dinner and then dropped them off at home so I could visit my parents. My mother had just been diagnosed with lung cancer and she had met with doctors that day so I wanted to discuss what they had learned. As we began to discuss treatment options, my phone rang. “Mom, there are polices officers here and they need to talk to you.” The officer came on the phone and told me that he needed to bring my daughters to me and talk to me in person. My heart sank, knowing it was bad news. With a racing heart and my voice cracking, I told the officer to walk away from my daughters and tell me what news he had. The officer said, “I’m sorry ma'am, but your husband took his life tonight.”
I dropped the phone, my body started shaking. I was crying and screaming, “Blake is gone, he’s gone!” I could not stop the shaking and screaming and I didn’t want anyone to touch me. I was in shock. I was so scared, so sad, so angry, and so worried about how I was going to tell my two precious daughters that their dad was gone.
Within minutes the officers arrived at my parents’ home, my daughters with them. Fearing what news they were about to hear, my daughters walked in to find me on the floor still shaking and crying uncontrollably. I had to tell my girls the worst possible news and it absolutely crushed me. That moment will forever be burned in my heart and I will never forget the look in their eyes. My husband, their father, the head of our family and our fierce protector, was gone.
Our lives would never be the same again.
Walking into our home later that night, knowing Blake would never be there again, was extremely painful. The three of us slept together in my bed that night and I remember praying that I might wake up from the nightmare and see Blake lying next to us. I woke up the next morning and it felt real. He was gone forever.
So many people came to show their love and respect in the coming days. It was incredible. I saw so many broken hearts and so much sadness for the loss of this fabulous man that was my husband. My sisters, my brothers, and my friends did not leave my side and took my daughters under their wings, supporting us every step of the way. I don’t recall a lot of what happened during that time. I was numb. I didn’t want to feel it anymore—it hurt too much. The day of the funeral was surreal. Getting dressed that morning to go celebrate the life of my husband, my daughters’ father, did not seem fair. I was not ready. Seeing the casket was the harsh sense of reality slapping me in the face. I stood next to him and greeted so many of our friends and family, those whose lives he had impacted greatly. The funeral was both beautiful and horrible. To say that my daughters and I were the only ones suffering the loss of this great man would have been a complete understatement.
We laid Blake to rest and everyone had to go back to their own lives—it was time for us to figure out our new life. I cannot begin to explain the level of pain I felt every morning when I woke up. How was I going to live my life without my husband, the love of my life?
I did not want to live without him. So many sleepless nights, restless days, waves of sadness, and the overwhelming fear of being alone. All at once we lost a husband, best friend, provider, protector, and head of our household. From that moment on, it was on me. I had to be strong and fight for my girls, and show them that we could get through this together. I was determined not to the let them live in the shadow of Blake’s death. We couldn’t let that define who we were.
My mission became protecting my girls and giving them the happiest life I could. They had a great support system of friends who connected with them daily and they started seeing a therapist to help them process. We talked about Blake daily and encouraged others to do the same to keep his memory alive. The first year of birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries was difficult, but we always did something special to acknowledge his absence. We go out and celebrate his birthday every year with family and friends. My girls look forward to that day every year because it makes them happy to be surrounded by the people Blake loved most. We recognize the date of his passing by spending the day together celebrating the memory of him. We cook his favorite meals, listen to his favorite songs, watch his favorite movies. Often you can catch us sleeping in an oversized shirt he once wore. Keeping his memory alive and close to our hearts is what gets us through each day. We lost the most important man in our lives, but were so lucky to have had him and be loved by the greatest man I have ever known.
My life is forever changed. I lost the love of my life, but I am so lucky that I got to experience true love. Some people go a lifetime without finding what I had. I am so grateful for the twenty beautiful years with a man I would choose over and over again.
We will move forward and our lives will change but there will never be a day that he doesn’t cross my mind. Blake was incredibly special and we loved him dearly as he loves his girls so very much. We will continue to honor his memory and hold him in our hearts for the rest of our lives.
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To Write Love on Her Arms is a nonprofit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and invest directly into treatment and recovery. For more information on TWLOHA, click HERE.
September is Suicide Prevention Month, with World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10th.
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