I met Michelle in East Nashville. She was trying to raise enough money to get a motel room for the night.
Michelle: I was married for twenty years to my second husband. It was an abusive relationship that I stayed in. I found him hanging in my garage two years ago. It devastated me. I had a house in Hendersonville but I lost it all because insurance didn’t pay. So, I’ve just been trying to survive. Every time I trust someone they just want something from me and I end up having nowhere to go.
BW: What led up to his suicide?
Michelle: The economy messed us up. Our house was an adjustable rate and our mortgage almost doubled and at the same time we had a small business and we were losing business. He dealt with depression for a couple of years. He wouldn’t ask for help. His pride got in the way. My husband was a carpentry contractor. He did beautiful work but it wasn’t necessary so people held their money. So we lost a lot.
He was from an abusive background and I think that when it happened, he just wasn’t equipped to deal with it.
BW: You said he was abusive? Physically?
Michelle: Yeah, I didn’t tell anyone. That was the biggest secret. I didn’t want to ruin his reputation. I was a substitute teacher and we ran a business and people knew us. I didn’t want to be the one to ruin it. I didn’t want to break the family up. But in doing that, I became such a caretaker, so when he checked out on me the way he did, it just devastated me because all that I had, I put into him for so long. It left me feeling lost.
When you’re in a home like that and their is so much verbal abuse to everyone, it affects you.I suppressed so much that I quit hurting just to survive. You keep telling yourself that everything is fine, until you believe it. When he died there was this big release but it wasn’t all good. Everything came back at me quite a bit. So I’m dealing with all that. I’m kind of alone right now.
My biggest regret *tears* is that I wasn’t strong enough to change things before my kids grew up, you know?
I’m forty-five and I’ll be forty-six next week. I’ve lost so much.