Some of telling a story is what we do not tell. I've talked to a lot of people and some things have been changed. My friend reached out to me and said I was not always consistent, and I thought I should try to clear up why I thought I should frame things a certain way, and will most likely stay consistent there.
John's sister in law also commented on a part of the oz show posting about how I've talked about our relationship and I usually remain really murky on details for a few years before John's death. We spoke about it at length.
Part of the reason I thought I should be unclear can be found online, in the Obituary. It is a comment from Danielle, saying we love you forever.
Danielle is our daughter, and was just 8 when her dad died. I had no idea she was online and I found her comment on the obituary. I know she reads everything I write online. She has watched all the episodes. So I don't talk about the period when John and I divorced before he died. After his death my kids went to counseling. My son drew a lot of pictures of mom and dad holding hands. My daughter said she was glad that I was sad when he died because it meant I loved him.
I do not want my family business to be public but I do want physician suicide to get better. I attributed a lot of my reasons for divorce to fear and confusion about his mental health. That is not everyone's narrative. Maybe I am diminishing things by leaving out those details. I thought it would help move things forward. I want to make things better for physicians and survivors but I am not a shiny saint with perfect understanding. I am a mother with three children who still does not fully understand grief.
That does not help physicians with burnout who die by suicide. Family support is necessary and impacts health outcomes. When John started medical school someone told him- if you aren't divorced by the end of your training you will not make it. Physician suicide is wrapped in stigma and that is the stigma I want to address. Not the stigma of divorce.
I've been angry. I waited for a while to not tell the story because I thought I was too angry. I didn't want the record to show I was an angry women using my bitterness to hurt him or his family which would hurt my kids. Now I avoid some of the more painful parts and when I tell the story try to focus on the things I remember. The John I want to memorialize is a father of three children and really tried hard to be everything- the perfect medical student and father and husband. His perfectionism hurt him. We need to accept a world where we are not perfect beings but move forward. When I talk about John I might skip over the description and try to say- we had three children.
I am sorry if I misrepresented myself or John's family.
I am willing to share the story of being confused. Of questioning. Of loving someone and having them be angry and confused and talk about suicide and dying. I am willing to share what it has been like trying to sort out my grief. I almost drowned in grief. Death of an ex spouse is called "disenfranchised grief" where you've lost someone more than once. There is research suggesting- it is more difficult to know how to address ex family.
I will continue to try to work in this space and hope people take our measurement test and help get better support tools. I will continue to avoid describing John. I will say the father of our kids and talk about what he was like before. I will not talk about the divorce.. Know that it is not a perfect story and I am not a PR company- my feelings change with time and with grief. I do not want to share if it doesn't build something or allow for growth. When you see coverage or read something please excuse me skipping the divorce or failing to correct every post. Please remember that I am sharing to help my children have a better legacy and reduce the stigma of suicide.