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John James, founder of The Grief Recovery Institute

John W. James

Founder of The Grief Recovery Institute®
Co-Author of The Grief Recovery
Handbook & When Children Grieve

Ask The Grief Experts

When someone we used to be married to dies, we often experience a re-remembering of the entire relationship, the good, the bad, and sometimes, the ugly. (Published 3/26/2013)


My ex-husband committed suicide six months ago. We have a 5 year old daughter together. We'd remained friends for her sake and ours as well. He was going through a hard time with recent losses, a job and another divorce. He'd call me and we'd talk. He had a "break down" and received treatment. Unfortunately, between the therapy and medication it wasn't enough. I deal with this guilt that if he had called me that night I could have helped him. I had a feeling a couple of days prior that he may do this because of events that had happened years ago. But after we talked days before I thought he was alright. The night it happened my heart broke from the years of friendship we had,our child we had together, and or his family and for our daughter who will miss her father.

I have sought therapy in the past, but I get frustrated that the therapist can't understand how I feel. Sometimes I still feel in shock. I think that the phone will ring and it will be him. Then reality sets in and I can visualize in my mind how sad and depressed he must have been by himself at that time. If only one person could have reached him at that time he would be here now.

How do I know that although my daughter appears happy and well adjusted this wont negatively impact her in the future? What impact will this have on her? We talk about him often and she asks to visit the grave. She doesn't appear scared in any way and will tell people about her dad and how he is in Heaven. Like any mother feels, she is the center of my world and I love her beyond words. I want to do the best for her.

Thank you for any words of advice.

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