A gunshot echoed from our bedroom, followed by the sound of a bullet casing skipping along a wall.
Everything slowed down.
"When a life is destroyed, when guilt says you played a role in its destruction, how do you face the days ahead?
Twenty-six-year-old Abel Keogh chooses to ignore the promptings he receives concerning his wife's mental illness, and now he feels he is to blame for her choices. If only he had listened . . .
At some point in our lives, each of us face devastating afflictions and must eventually cope with loss. Regardless of how it happens, the outcome is still the same - we are left isolated, alone, wondering what we could have done differently, and where we can turn for peace.
This is Abel's story in his own words. His search for peace and the miracle that follows is proof that love and hope can endure, despite the struggles and tragedies that shape each of our lives."
I was a little hesitant to read this book. It seemed like the topic of suicide would be too depressing. But I found the book to be enjoyable and very well written. This book starts with the suicide of Abel's wife and the death of his premature infant daughter. As he struggles to understand what happened and why, he also has to try to understand his own role in the situation.
As anyone who finds themselves unexpectedly single through death or divorce will appreciate the observations of Abel as he learns to deal with the expectations of friends and family on how he should handle future relationships or whether he should even have them.
I had a few questions for Abel.
Why did you decide to share your story in this book?
Abel: I was unable to find a compelling memoir about losing a spouse. The books that did deal with the death of a loved one were either geared toward people in their 60s (or older) or were very preachy. Since there was nothing out there, I decided to write Room for Two but do it in a way that it would have a broad audience appeal.
Room for Two deals with the reaction of friends and loved ones to Krista's death. Abel finds many people treat him differently and many don't know how to treat him at all. Is this common in situations like this? How can people best respond to those who are dealing with the suicide of a loved one?
Abel: I think it’s common to find that people don’t know how to respond. I think it’s partially because there a stigma attached to someone taking their own life. Those who are left behind usually don’t understand why someone would do it and therefore have a hard time finding the words to express their sympathy or condolences.
The best way to respond to someone is just give them a hug and let them know how much you love them. I don’t think there are specific words that someone can say that can help ease the pain.
One of the confessions Abel makes in his book was that he had three promptings he didn’t act upon. Following any of these may have prevented his wife’s death. How did you deal with the guilt from not following these promptings and eventually find peace?
I had to learn how to forgive myself. It wasn’t easy but I had to realize what had happened was in the past and there was nothing I could do about it. I had to make changes to my life and promise myself that I would never let anything like this happen again. It wasn’t easy but I can live a happy, full life now because I’ve been able to put the incident behind me and move on.
How did this experience shape who you are today?I appreciate my wife, Julianna, and our three kids more. I have a relationship with her that I will always value because I know what I have can be taken from me in a moment’s notice. I treasure the time we have together and do everything I can to spend time with them.
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me.