Posted by: karenevoss | November 17, 2011

I Can Only Imagine

After listening to the song, I Can Only Imagine by Mercy Me, did I start to wonder what my husband Russ was thinking on the morning he died from suicide.

I can recall back to 6:00 a.m. on the morning of December 14, 2008, a couple of hours before I would discover the body of my husband in our garage. I woke up to see Russ, fully dressed standing in the doorway of our bedroom, I thought to myself, What is he doing? Was he watching me sleep? Why? How long has he been awake? Why won’t he come back to bed, to me?

I remember getting out of bed and eventually making my way to retrieve the Sunday paper and kissing him good morning (had I known this would be the last full kiss, I would have made it last longer). We proceeded to watch T.V., look at the paper, and make a grocery list since we planned on going to Pick-N-Save after church. I noticed a part our paper was missing and I had to wait until 7:00 a.m. to call in for a redelivery. Russ informed me that he was going to the garage to restring the lawn ornament deer I had been bugging him for weeks to take care of. He had originally brought them into the basement to work on where it was warmer. This day was very warm for December. I wish I knew why 6:30 a.m. was the time to work on them. What was really going on?

I thought about going out to the garage to check on his progress, but instead I waited until 8:00 a.m. It was time for us to think about getting ready for 9:30 a.m. mass and I wanted us to shower together on this particular morning. Since Russ had been feeling low in the past couple days, I thought this would up his spirits.

I can only imagine what had been going through his mind in his waking hours. Was he thinking of me and how much I loved him and vice versa? Was he thinking of his family, my family, our friends? Was he mindful of his thoughts? Was he dreaming of Heaven? Did he pray? Did he ask for forgiveness?

It was then when I opened the small garage door I would make the cruel discovery. I wasn’t sure. As the panic set in, I prayed. I did what I could to attempt to cut him down from the rafters. I made phone calls. I cried. I went into shock and what had happened and what was happening really sunk in after I spoke to one of the firemen on the scene. I felt so alone until Russ’s dad showed up and then my mom, followed by so many other friends and family.

Months later I wondered: When did Russ do a search on hanging suicide on his computer? Why did he lie to me instead of asking for help? How much time did his negative auditory hallucinations take to convince him to end his life and that it was the right thing to do? Did he contemplate at all (the decision) in a normal state of mind? Did he know that his closest friends would be available for me to lean on when I would call? Did he ever realize how this would tear his friends, family, and especially his wife up?

I will never know what Russ was thinking that day. I can only imagine. I do know that he never set a finger on the deer that day and they don’t live here anymore. I know that no matter what, I would do this all over again, for true love never truly disappears. He lives in my heart, he’s the angel on my shoulder and this way, we will never part.



  1. I find that I have no words…I’m so sorry for your loss.

  2. Karen, I *can’t* imagine the magnitude of your loss. But I feel such pain that you had to experience that separation from your beloved Russ. God bless him. God bless you. God bless your courageous writing. It is balm for many.

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