I will try to be brief, feel free to skip to the end if you want.

2006 - age 19 met my hubby Dave. Everything moved fast and we moved in together within six months. I put him through hell for the first 2-3 years, I have OCD, so would obsess and interrogate him over stupid stuff. He'd get angry and be violent to me.

2009 - violence stopped, OCD died down, first child born. He was a doting dad. From then until 2014 we had a relatively normal marriage, ups and downs but happy, he was occasionally violent to the house but not to me anymore.

2015 - second child born. Although we planned her, Dave didn't want a second child, he'd agreed to make me happy. However he fell in love with her and was a good dad. A couple of months after his birth he met his best friend Adam. (Prior to this, neither of us had any friends as we'd relocated, Dave never had that many friends anyway). All of a sudden Dave went from rarely ever drinking to drinking to excess, going out getting drunk, coming home at 3am. It caused arguments, I felt he was putting Adam first. Towards the end of the year Dave discovered some debt I'd been hiding, he went mental and smashed the house to pieces, which resulted in the neighbours calling the police (we lied and said we were renovating, so no arrest made). We worked it out and had a nice xmas.

2016 - Difficult year. At times I was emotionally abusive, at times he was. Some months we were separated (but living together) other months together. A difficult year but we ended with a nice xmas. I admit at every argument I threatened to have him arrested or sent to prison for violence, meaning his old violence. In his head, I would say it was ongoing. He was convinced I wanted him dead/arrested and would make up whatever lies I had to to make it happen. I also admit at every argument I told him he'd only see the kids supervised. I never actually followed through on any of these threats. Our 7 year old began playing up at bedtimes, screaming incessantly, refusing to let me leave the room, making me stay awake all night, screaming awful things if I sent Dave.

2017 - January - we sold the house to get away from the neighbours whom Dave hated for calling the police. I then discovered an order for a gas mask and when I confronted him he admitted it was to commit suicide with. It made sense as for a day or so he'd been shut down, catatonic, ignoring the kids - he said this was to make suicide easier for him as he was distancing from them.  He told me he thought the kids would get over it, be better off without him, that I'd move on. He said he was doing it because I was mental. I offered to leave but he said no. He felt he would never get to see the kids. After a long long talk he cancelled the order and agreed not to do anything. A few weeks later I saw an email to a company selling masks enquiring about buying one. He was angry when I confronted him.

2017 - February - massive argument, he reported me to the police for fraud over the debt, I left him for a week. During that week he asked to see the kids and I refused, telling him it had to be supervised. Eventually I backed down and brought the kids to see him. He was crying, begging for me back, something he's NEVER done. I came home. He later told me he'd ignored me asking if he was suicidal because he "hadn't decided yet".

2017 - March/April - Relatively normal months though at some point he told me he "used to think I was poisoning his food" which I thought was a joke. End of April he stormed out of our toddler's party saying "I have to go as Donna's arranged for me to be beaten up in front of the kids" - this was based on him hearing me ask if my friend and her partner were coming!! 

2017 - May/June - May was lovely, lovely wedding anniversary. June was up and down.

2017 - july, MONTH OF DEATH - First week of july we went on holiday. He drank a lot, to the point of vomiting one day (then tried to tell me it was food poisoning). We had no time together at all as the kids kept me busy, he did NOTHING to help, and the eldest played up all night. Very hard work and stressful, no time with him at all. The 7yo was STILL playing up, even on holiday. We came back 13th July, and Dave smacked her so hard it left a handprint. I screamed for him to get off her, and he got angry, called me a vindictive bitch, said I only yelled so the neighbours would call the police. 14th July I stayed in a hotel, emailed him telling him how fed up I was of him and his drinking and behaviour, how miserable he made me, telling him to leave, blaming him for everything. He didn't leave. Instead he spent all weekend in bed, didnt even get up for food.. He set his phone up recording himself as proof for when the police came that he was innocent. I threatened to have him removed by the police. Part of me worried he was "distancing" again but him recording himself made me think he wasn't. Mon 17th July I packed him a bag while he was at work and text him to tell him. He collected it that night. Emails went back and forth, the usual arguments and accusations to be honest. Tues 18th he says "I really hope they get to our girls soon" knowing I would assume he'd reported me to social services (child protection) and retaliate nastily, which I did. Weds 19 July at 1.30am he emails me for the final time, saying he was ending his life as he'd suffered 11 years of my abuse and control and this was the only way for him to be free. He goes on to accuse me of abusing the kids, implying they'll be taken from me, loads of nasty stuff, then ends with "I did everything you ever said, built my whole life for our family but it wasn't enough for you, nothing ever is". 6.00am he was found dead.

Since his death...

I found out he deleted all the messages between him and Adam on ADAM's phone approx 6 weeks before his death. He started deleting stuff and backing up photos 2-3 weeks before his death. Why? Because he knows me, he knows I have OCD, he knows I will go straight to Adam and ask to see the messages. (The messages are innocent, it's just about him not wanting me to get them). I found out he'd had reminders on his phone for his suicide (he had a bad memory) like reminding him to make sure he had his driving licence, set an alarm (he had set it for 8 minutes I have no idea why) and to leave the letter on the seat. He deleted the reminders but I restored from backup. He deleted his browsing history but I restored that too, found he'd googled the correct grammar for his note, other things about his suicide.

On the 18th he went to work as normal, left early around 3pm, purchased nitrogen online and drove straight to collect it. That night he wiped his GPS and phone, deactivated facebook. He emailed me at 130am on the 19th and I believe he completed suicide just after. He chose somewhere he would definitely be found but not until it was far too late, and not by me or anyone I know.

He used the method he told me he'd researched in January and found to be guaranteed and painless. He put a bag over his head, filled with nitrogen and would have been unconscious within a maximum of 60 seconds (most likely a lot less), dead within 8 minutes. No time to change his mind or stop as during the stage where you pass out you are in a state of almost drunkenness, where you can't think or move straight. He'd locked his van, left suicide notes on the seat. He knew what he was doing.

The notes? One was a very long list of domestic abuse I'd apparently done to him. It ranges from the truth (not letting him cook/clean) to the lies (blaming me for smashing the house up when it was really him, threatening to kill him) to the absurd (saying he wasn't allowed to look at women in underwear on tv which isn't true, but sounds worse than the truth which is that I didn't let him look at porn, which he knew people might agree with so he deliberately twisted it).

The main note was brief and functional, saying he could no longer go on living in fear of being arrested or attacked by my friends, that I'd taken the kids from him and I was the abuser, that he had nothing left and I'd won. He makes reference to a large amount of cash he had on him (that he'd hidden from me) and calls it his escape fund. It begs the police to check his phone as it will tell them "all they need to know" (and he removed the passcode so they could!) it begs whoever to save his girls from "that monster" (meaning me) and tells his girls he loves them and is sorry he couldn't protect them from me.

Wow right.

So that was in July and I've been in therapy ever since because I know that it is my fault, and if he had met someone else instead of me he'd still be alive. I'm not perfect, I said awful things to the 7yo and smacked her, but he left a handprint so I was right to throw him out.

The reason it's my fault is because I did constantly threaten to have him arrested. My only defence is that I was referring to previous violence and never said otherwise, it was him who acted like I was going to say it was still happening. I did  threaten he'd only see the kids supervised, and he knows that in the UK dads have no real chance of getting custody so he'd most likely end up with visitation, maybe unsupervised maybe not. I guess it doesn't matter that I never followed through on the threats. As for him being attacked? No idea where that came from!

I don't know how to cope. The 7 year old is now 8, she knows daddy was poorly but not the truth. a couple of weeks after he died her behaviour miraculously stopped. Things between us have improved a lot. I no longer yell or smack her. The other child is 2.5 and has no idea what happened.

I just feel so alone.... he was only 31, me 30. This is wrong it shouldn't happen.

I wish he'd have gotten help back in January but he laughed when I suggested it, told me that if I stopped being mental he'd be fine! I knew I should've pushed harder, forced him to go.

I'm so angry too - why didn't he just leave me if I was that bad? Why beg for me back? A t one time he had his own place for 2 weeks why not stay there instead of coming home?!! He had enough money in his wallet to escape, why not escape?! Why not go to court and fight for his kids? I know he wouldn't want to drag them through all that but surely it's better than dragging them through his death!

I don't want sympathy I know its my fault... what do I do?

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I think you should consider seeing a therapist.  I really don't know how much of what happened was down to you, how much was down to him, or what, but from what you've posted it sounds as though both of you have some responsibility for the nature of your relationship.  

Regardless, that was a lot of difficult stuff to go through, and of course it is all still affecting you. I think a therapist could help you work through the emotional ramifications.  I honestly think getting therapy for the kids would be a good idea as well, particularly the 8 year old.  Seeing her parents be abusive to each other, and having them be abusive to her as well, does damage to a child, and early intervention by a therapist could really help her.

I am sorry that your life has been so difficult in so many ways, and I hope you are able to find peace.

Dear Donna, 

I'm so sorry that you're feeling alone, angry, and guilty.  I would say that you already know what to do - continue to try to heal through therapy and continue to care for and love your children.  If you could find a local support group for people who have lost family to suicide, that would probably help too.  Suicide is often messy and complicated and it would probably help you to not feel so alone if you met other people who struggle with anger and guilt after a suicide.  I read your whole story and it sounds like both you and Dave made mistakes due to pain and mental illness.  I see it as a tragedy and I don't see it as anyone's fault.  It sounds like Dave made the choices that he made because he wasn't thinking rationally.  Please take care of yourselve and your children.  Wishing you peace, love, and healing.

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