Life After Suicide

I am fierce, I am bold, I am beautiful, I am smart, I am strong, I am courageous, I am bigger than the situation I was given.

This is what I tell myself every morning when I wake up. And you should too.

I am Danica Thomas, the mother of two beautiful curly haired cuties. The widow of a highly decorated Staff Sergeant in the United States Army. I am a widow of a man who died by Suicide, a title that no single human being ever thought they would have, and one that I hold back tears as it rolls off of my tongue. In 2010, my world crumbled around me. Pregnant and afraid- I received a call that my husband had been severely injured on a patrol in Afghanistan. I was told that he was clinging to life- in a coma and they didn't know if he would make it. I truly did not know how I was going to do life with a baby without him. After two days, they were able to stabilize him and send him back to the states. This is where our long road to recovery began. I took on the role of Caregiver overnight. I had many sleepless nights worried about who I was getting back when he was released from the hospital. I slept in a recliner next to his hospital bed more times than I can count. I spent days, hours, minutes, worried about him. I never once worried about me. I jumped into fight or flight mode.

We became parents in October 2010 when our first daughter was born. I was now a Mommy- and a Wife, and a Caregiver. As he transitioned from active duty to medically retired our household suffered. He was injured, so injured- mentally and physically... and I didn't know what to do about that. Have you ever loved someone so much that you would give any and everything just to watch them be whole again? I have. I wished so badly that I could make him breathe normal, think normal, live like a human being instead of an extremely pained zombie. We fought with each other, we fought with the system, and most of all we fought for our marriage. This would never break- I was certain. Til death do us part.

July 2012, I found out I was pregnant again... a month later he was medically retired from the Army. His career ended. He gave it all- blood, sweat, tears. "Though his severe war wounds were covered by clothing, his massive chest injury was less than his broken heart." After a year and a month of being 29 and retired, Allen's life ended. He took it. He lost his long battle to Suicide. "This would never break-" It broke. Us. Our marriage. Our family.

How could I ever live without him? Sink or swim. I swam. I say that there is this thing about losing someone you love- you take on their strength. I fought like hell to find peace within me so I didn't face guilt. I convinced myself that breaking was not an option... and neither was Suicide. I refused to let Suicide ruin my life. I believe that each and every one of us has the ability to find strength deep inside of us. We all have it, it is up to us to embrace the strength and move forward after a tragedy. After almost 6 years post death, I am using my strength and my voice to help others. I have found a passion in sharing my story to guide others through grief. I share the story of my late husband, not for people to feel sorry for me but for people to learn and grow. To stop suicide. One for a thousand, Allen's story will save others. And I will show other women that no matter what the battle is in front of you, you are stronger than the situation you are given. I want someone to read this and say, "because of you, I am okay."

I have channeled all of my frustration, sadness, and anger into being a hands on mother and an independent woman. I have learned many things about myself throughout the years. Though, I have been through many emotions- a rollercoaster- I have been true to myself. I swam instead of sank. I miss my husband every single day, I miss the father for my children but I am who I am because I lost him, and I am eternally thankful to him for giving me the tools to be this person. In Sickness and In Health, Til Death Do Us Part.