13 Reasons Why My Husband and Hannah Baker Killed Themselves

By Michelle Miller

13 Reasons Why….My Husband and Hannah Baker Killed Themselves

1. They were mentally ill
2. They were mentally ill
3. They were mentally ill
4. They were mentally ill
5. They were mentally ill
6. They were mentally ill
7. They were mentally ill
8. They were mentally ill
9. They were mentally ill
10. They were mentally ill
11. They were mentally ill
12. They were mentally ill
13. They were mentally ill

I almost ended this blog here. Upon completion of Netflix’s hit drama series, “Thirteen Reasons Why,” I was so infuriated that a show was created to focus on blaming others for a suicide, instead of bringing awareness to mental illness, that I was just going to post the list above with a middle finger as the thumbnail picture.

Then I had a glass of red wine (or bottle, whatever), and realized that I have no ability to objectively review this show like I had planned. The guilt it has triggered in me, a suicide widow who was blamed for the death of her husband, is just too strong. So instead, I am going to let all of you into my head for a bit to show you what it is like to battle the catastrophic, life-altering guilt of a suicide, on a daily basis. I want you all to see the thought process that happens for me to go from physically sick with guilt, back to functioning.

Since my husband John’s suicide in 2014 I’ve repeated the mantra, “It’s not your fault” both aloud and in my head obsessively just to make it through the day. Have you ever said a phrase so much that it becomes one long word?

It’sNotYourFault
It’sNotYourFault
It’sNotYourFault
It’sNotYourFault
It’sNotYourFault

This year I almost started to believe that long word. I almost started to believe that I wasn’t the reason why my husband shot himself. Even though his suicide note, and the demons that now live inside of my head say otherwise, my manta and I almost won!

I almost exhaled. I almost went a whole week without a nightmare. I almost loved myself again. Almost. So close.

Enter, “Thirteen Reasons Why.” A show constructed around the idea that other people are the reason why a high school girl named Hannah Baker dies by suicide. If an entire book and show have been created about blaming others for a suicide then it must be true, suicide is the fault of others, right?

This must mean John’s suicide really is my fault then, right?

And now here I am, back to repeating my manta in hopes that one day I’ll get close again to believing it.

It’sNotYourFault
It’sNotYourFault
It’sNotYourFault
It’sNotYourFault
It’sNotYourFault

Only this time, the mantra has not been enough to make it through the day, because everywhere I turn, “Thirteen Reasons Why” is being flashed in front of my eyes like the obnoxious neon bar signs I’ve come to know so well over the last few years.

My mantra now has now turned into a letter. A creed. A defense of myself, from myself.

Dear Michelle,
Take a deep breath.

It’sNotYourFault

If everyone who was bullied like Hannah was, killed themselves, the human race would be in danger of extinction.

Bullying does not cause suicide.

Bullying can cause mental illnesses or exasperate an already existing mental illness that can lead to suicide.

Those who bully should be punished for causing and exasperating mental illness.

If everyone who was raped like Hannah was, killed themselves, the human race would be in danger of extinction.

Rape does not cause suicide.

Rape can cause mental illnesses or exasperate an already existing mental illness that can lead to suicide.

Those who rape should be punished for causing and exasperating mental illness.

If everyone who was abandoned by their spouse like your husband John was, killed themselves, the human race would be in danger of extinction.

Abandonment does not cause suicide.

Abandonment can cause mental illnesses or exasperate an already existing mental illness that can lead to suicide.

Those who abandon a dangerous, chronically unfaithful husband like you did, should not be punished.

You should not be punished.

Stop punishing yourself.

It’s
Not
Your
Fault
That
Your
Husband
Killed
Himself

What your husband did to you before and after he died was worse than what you did to him, yet you persevered and he did not.

Your brain was healthier than his despite being subjected to years of his bullying.

You fought the depression, the fatigue, the confusion, the rage, the disappointments, and the humiliations brought on my HIS maltreatment of you, and you won. You gained the courage to leave him and in the midst of your victory dance he stopped your music with a single shot gun bullet.

John’s suicide was not your fault.

Ignore his suicide note, it was written by a sick man. Ignore John’s friends pointing the finger at you, they too are sick. Ignore the strangers that tell you he’d still be alive if you hadn’t of left him, they are ignorant. Ignore the voices in your head at 2:47am that tell you, you could’ve said something to make him drop the gun; you said all the words there were to say. His sick brain pulled the trigger, you did not.

Go back to that victory dance now, you deserve it.

Love,
Michelle

ItsReallyAndTrulyIsNotYourFault

©Copyright 2017 Michelle Miller

About 

Michelle Miller is a grief blogger, has essays featured on TheRumpus.net and OurSideofSuicide.com, and is the author of, Boys, Booze, and Bathroom Floors: Forty-Six Tales about the Collision of Suicide Grief and Dating. Her memoir chronicles the aftermath of her husband’s infidelities and suicide in 2014 at the age of thirty-one, and how she used dating to run from, and simultaneously into her grief.
Prior to her husband’s death, Michelle worked full time with special needs students in a small town while balancing life with two young children and a volatile marriage. Her approach to grief is one of extreme empathy, humor, blunt honesty, and….okay, a few cocktails along the way.
Michelle is currently living with her best friend, and their five children in San Diego, California. She is working on her second book, Ghetto Grief which is a collection of short stories about the unconventional ways in which she grieved and continues to grieve her husband; set to be released in 2017.For links to follow her on social media, view her blog, purchase her book, or read her published essays, visit: MouthyMichellesMusings.com

5 Comments on 13 Reasons Why My Husband and Hannah Baker Killed Themselves

  1. barb
    May 6, 2017 at 3:45 pm (2 months ago)

    Okay, you are not just a tremendous writer, you are also wise and brave. Best to you~

    Reply
  2. Amy Stoddard
    April 26, 2017 at 5:10 am (2 months ago)

    This is perfect!!!!! Hugs lady!! Love reading you stuff!!

    Reply
    • Michelle Miller
      April 27, 2017 at 4:08 pm (2 months ago)

      Thank you!

      Reply
  3. Sabra Robinson
    April 25, 2017 at 11:14 pm (2 months ago)

    This was so very powerful! I saw the show with my daughter. She watched all of the episodes because she had heard on social media that everyone was talking about how it was a good show. It really hit home because I did happen to think about you. Keep posting and informing. Don’t stop.

    Reply
    • Michelle Miller
      April 27, 2017 at 4:09 pm (2 months ago)

      Thanks! I’m so glad you watch this with her. I watched with my daughter also

      Reply

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