For My 59th Birthday…I’d Be Grateful For Your Prayers

My birthday is July 4th. For my birthday, I’d be grateful to have your prayers for healing and progress and peace.

Two years have come and gone since my husband’s death. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes that I am not at liberty to discuss in a public forum, but suffice it to say, the hits just keep on coming.

I thought about doing a blog of things NOT TO SAY to someone suffering in the throes of a trauma, but then I decided against it. However, if I wrote that missive, number one would have been this:

DO NOT send me a text, an email or a Facebook message and tell me that “only I can decide if I am ready to be over this.”

That’s not helpful. In fact, it hurts. It places more guilt on the victim. And “suicide survivors” (as we’re known) have plenty of guilt.

How I wish this complicated mess could be reduced to a decision. Last week, as I had lunch with a friend, a door slammed behind me in the restaurant. It was so startling and so loud that I had to jump up and go outside to finish my meal. And then I got an upset stomach. How do you “decide” to not react to noises like that?

For several years, I did work as a volunteer chaplain at a secured facility for the criminally insane. In preparatory training courses and real-life experience, I learned a lot about not reacting to noises, words, people and crowds. I learned a great deal about guarding my mental environment and controlling my thoughts.

For 20 years, I systematically worked to memorize hundreds of designs of kit homes, and then did architectural surveys for dozens of communities.

For 30 years, I’ve worked in various capacities as a writer and that’s also an exacting mental discipline.

For my entire life, I’ve studied the Scriptures and dozens of exegeses and commentaries on the Bible, and memorized large numbers of Bible verses.

If my intellect could save me, if this could be reduced to a “decision” – I’d be healed, but this isn’t about “decisions” or “intellect.” It’s about a soul that’s been broken and a heart that’s been shattered.

As I tell my nearest and dearest friends, I am pedaling as fast as I can.

The walls of my home are slathered in affirmations and inspirational quotes. I go to sleep at night, listening to uplifting messages. I write a gratitude list each morning upon awakening. I exercise daily and eat good meals. Frankly, I am wearing myself out, clamoring to get out of this hellish pit and it’s going pretty slowly. I’m thinking that perhaps it’s time to become more like the leaf in the stream, and just go where the currents carry me.

I’ve been trying to fight this in my head – in fact – I’ve been striving to “DECIDE” to get over this, and it’s not going well.

Several days ago, I had a complete meltdown in public when I attempted a new “first.” I called my friend in tears, and he said the most comforting thing of all: “Maybe you’re just not ready for that step yet. Maybe you need a little more time to heal.”

That singular comment did so much to remove the pressure. Maybe I can forgive myself for being such a slow healer.

Love me where I am. Don’t criticize me for not doing better.

When the dark days come, I sit quietly and think about the people that are praying for me, and I visualize those prayers as being luminescent beams of light reaching into my very soul, and knitting my shattered heart back into a new shape.

I like to think of the prayers as laser-beams of love, and I am asking for your continued love and prayers.




To read about Sears Homes, click here.



  1. Kathy Wolfe

    I always pray for you and will continue to do so.

  2. Rita Wilson

    Ahhh, another June baby. I celebrated my 70th birthday on the 8th. When my beloved Bill died in my arms over 25 years ago, I read that it takes 1 year for every 7 years you were together to get through the grieving cycle.

    That doesn’t take into account those survivors of suicide victims. How long it takes is completely subjective and highly personal. Perhaps you never get over it, at least not fully.

    My BFF’s brother committed suicide at home similar to your husband. Only he asked his son to bring his gun up to the attic for him and after the son delivered it and he returned downstairs, he shot himself in the head. Of course, the son found him. Till today, 30 years later, the son still struggles with guilt and anger.

    I’ve not been in that situation so my thoughts are just that thoughts and introspections. Perhaps one needs to forgive the person who committed the ultimate act of destruction.

    Of course, you are thought of often and included in prayers for recovery. For a recovery that will allow you to live a life filled with good things again, such as joy, happiness, laughter, unconditional trust and perhaps one day, a new love to fill your heart with contentment.

    Be safe, Rosemary, be well.

  3. Rita Wilson

    Oops you are a July baby. Sorry about the mistake Rosemary.

  4. Jenny

    That is just nutty that anyone could think you can just decide to be over grief, like it’s avocado toast or whatever the latest fad is.
    Your friends are right.

    You can take more time to heal. As much time as you need. It’s ok to “fake it, ’til you make it”.

    You found and purchased a new home and car, traveled, and lectured. Your friends are proud of you, you should be proud of you, and (if I may speak on behalf of the internet) we’re proud of you, too.

    You are in my prayers.

  5. Gemma

    You’re coming along, dear Rosie. Keep making plans for doing what you used to do, but be open to the fact that you may not be ready to do those things just yet.

    In the meantime, engage in charitable activities. I read somewhere along the Griefway that charitable work facilitates healing. I have come to believe it.

    If you’re going to encounter more homeless people, then perhaps a Hep shot would be in order for the sake of personal protection.

    Don’t you think that’s ironic — the Sears Homes Lady talking to a homeless person?

    July 4th is my MIL’s wedding anniversary. She’s been widowed for 28 years. I’ll have one more prayer intention this year, though — your birthday.

    BTW, your angel is there when you need it. Others are there at your beck and call, as well.

    Perhaps you could consider receiving the Catholic Anointing of the Sick. We give it to those who ask. I obtained it for my mom before she died.

    She said she was ready to go after receiving it.

  6. Jim

    I have no advice; there truly is none to give.

    When my brother and best friend committed suicide, I was angry and full of guilt.

    I take much blame for my brother’s condition; I was a very imperfect brother.

    Now at 62, I have many regrets, but I am forgiven. Grief is a process that we all must endure. Time heals and God has blessed us with time.

    I can only offer my love as a Christian brother and my prayer now that this burden be lifted from you.

    I love the work you have done with the studies of architecture and I know that God will continue to bless you.

    Christ’s sacrifice makes you worthy of salvation and healing.

  7. Shari

    Rosie – I’ve just sort of backpedalled through a few of your posts, having been led by a link from another source, and then by your own links, from your “What not to say to a suicide widow” to the pictureless blog post beginning with your frustration with your picture server not “serving” and updated with information about “The Bad Thing,” then to this one.

    I have been in tears since the first one, in sorrow still for what has happened to you, the further revelations about how you were failed by the man you were so obviously devoted to, and the events of your continued and continuing recovery.

    I am first of all, extremely sorry if I have said ANYTHING to you that even comes close to any of those 21 things you posted about what not to say.

    If I did, please accept my most humble apologies, and chalk them up to another ignorant friend attempting to be “helpful.” But I am learning, thanks to your efforts.

    It wasn’t really anything I even had much connection to, until recently, when we were obliged to bury my niece’s beautiful, but obviously (in hindsight of course) very troubled 18 year old daughter, who took her own life in her father’s barn early one morning. (Her parents have been divorced for years – she lived with her father, and her older brother.)

    The how’s, why’s, and wherefores of the situation are not for a public forum.

    But, I now have, thanks very much to you for finding the wherewithal to compile and publish your list, some inkling of an idea of the many things not to say to her mother, with whom I am very close.

    She has of late been dealing with another child’s serious health issues, which has been taking the two of them hither and yon between two states seeking medical care for him, and my husband and I have been contributing to the out of pocket costs for such trips which have been considerable, but like your friends who have provided you assistance in a direct manner, such as the offer of dinners every other night, I offered it in terms of “what’s the best way for me to get this to you” as opposed to couching it in terms of “let me know if there’s anything I can do.”

    Knowing her as I do, she would never ask for a thing even if she’s in desperate need.

    I also wanted to let you know that even though we haven’t been speaking lately, that you have been on my mind and the subject of daily prayers for your continued recovery.

    I know things have turned your world upside down, inside out, backwards, and then blown them up, and I cannot possibly know what that’s like, but I have faith in you.

    You didn’t become the woman you were by being weak and frail, and I have faith that you will emerge from this time as an even better version of you in many ways. “Rosemary2.0” is in the R&D phase, as it were.

    My prayers and love go out to you and for you daily.

  8. patti cawthon

    Thank you for your honesty. May you grow at your own pace and feel our support and prayers. your work on kit homes is a legacy no one can mess with. i pray for your peace.

  9. Tamela Heim

    I lost both my parents back to back at 12. Those events changed the chemical makeup of my brain; I went from PTSD to bipolar.

    I wish I’d found out a lot earlier in my life and asked for help, because it is irreversible..Hugs