The Bravest Woman in the World

WARNING: Extremely graphic content dealing with suicide, violent imagery and death.

Some of you might have heard of Lori. She’s a mummy blogger in Australia whose breezy, clever writing made her stand out. Before. Before her husband suffered a psychotic break and committed suicide in front of her a few weeks ago. Lori’s incredibly courageous, stark and most of all completely honest blogging of the event and the aftermath may save lives.

Her latest blog post is quite possibly the most brutal, disturbing piece of writing I have ever read in my life. She has titled it “Ugly”. And it is. I felt as if I might vomit as I read it, and I cried uncontrollably after I finished it.

America, 1987. A family of four sits down at a battered mahogany dining room table, and the father begins to say grace. The father is a stern yet gentle man, his wife possesses the rosy cheeks and cheerful disposition of an ideal midwesterner, his pre-teen daughter is all knees and elbows and his son, a toddler, throws a carrot on the floor in a typical ploy to hold the attention of them all. The father’s “Amen” is drowned out by a scream so vivid, so tortured, so extreme that it had never been heard before and has never been heard since by any of the family during waking hours. But they hear it at night. In their dreams, for years to come.

“Oh my God!” the mother says. This is a measure of how serious the situation is: she normally says things like golly or gosh. She jumps to her feet and sprints through the front door. The rest of the family watch through the leaded glass dining room window as a young twenty-something woman, the daughter of the family who lives next door, grabs the mother by her denim jumper. “He’s dead! He’s DEAD!,” the family hears her wail, she’s screaming to the mother, she’s right in her face. “He SHOT himself!” He’s DEAD!” She collapses into the mother’s arms, as if she suddenly weighs nothing, as if she is a used kleenex. “He’s DEAD! I saw him! He shot himself in the HEAD!”.

The father and daughter realize that she is speaking of her brother, the gentle teenager who they knew well, who always smiled and said hi to the gawky tween (secretly making her day). He only wore black and a gifted pianist, he always played The Beatles on the piano next door, providing a soothing soundtrack. After today, none of the family will ever listen to The Beatles again.

I can’t even tell this story in the first person, it’s so painful. But tell it I want to, because I owe that to Lori. And I owe it to her to to republish the speech she gave at her husband’s funeral, in the hopes that if there’s anyone in my slender readership who needs to read these words (and I sincerely hope no one does), they will.

I don’t know what to say up here. I don’t know what i’m doing here. But I spoke at our wedding, and I must speak now.

I was going to tell you all what a great bloke Tony was, what a great father he was, but you all already know that, or you’ll hear it today. What I can tell you is that Tony was such a great husband. He loved me, and our kids, so much. He took care of us. And he was big, and strong, and protected us.

And we loved being married. We loved being husband and wife. A lot of people say it’s just a piece of paper, but it’s not. We were so happy to be together like that. I am so proud that he chose me to be his wife.

Tony took care of everyone. all the time. He was so busy taking care of everyone else, he didn’t speak out when something was wrong.

And this is what you can do for me, for Tony, when you leave here today. All you men, you big men. When you walk away from here, you speak. If something is wrong, if something hurts, then you talk about it. Tony was so busy taking care of everyone else, he didn’t care take of himself. So after this, you speak.

Please speak, if you need to.




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6 responses to “The Bravest Woman in the World

  1. chhandita

    I needed to read this…I have been down that dark depths of hell, I pulled myself out and promised never to put on that mask of ‘everything is great’ again. But today, your post put a mirror to my inner demons. I am slipping again. For my sake, for the sake of everybody who loves me, I need to let the tears flow. I NEED to speak>

    Thank you so much..I have tears in my eyes.

    • I’m so, so sorry to hear this…please do speak! There are many more people who love you than you even think. Please read this, it might also help.

      Please hang in there and speak! I care and so do many, many others!!!


      • chhandita

        Thanks for the link. I guess some people get admired for being strong, so they start pretending to be strong, even when all they want to do is break down. I had that break down in 2005. I survived. These last 2 years have been hard. And i was in denial. thanks again. Maybe I will write a post about it. Thanks for understanding. Funny how the universe works. It gives you what you need, when you need it. Last few weeks I have been feeling suicidal, telling myself I got to live because I don’t want Danny to grow up with a dead Momma. But No, I need to live for myself first.

        Sorry for the rant girl.

  2. Are there some loved ones and mental health care professionals who can help you to process these emotions ASAP? Also, I’d be more that happy for you to do a guess post on my blog explaining your story. You can rant anytime. Speak on…

  3. Hi jjiraffe – thanks for the comment on my blog..
    Wow this is such an incredible story.. so sad…
    best wishes to you

  4. thanks for stopping by my blog. this story is so heavy and obviously needs to be shared. thank you for sharing it. i just went over to Lori’s blog as well and read ugly. god, why do these things have to happen! brutal. i have no words. it puts the pain of infertility into a different realm.

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