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This Is “Us” No More

It’s come up several times recently, so I thought it was time to sit down and write it out.  Maybe putting it on paper will finally help close some of the wound or that’s what the therapist told me.  So, here’s my two biggest issues at the moment:

  1. I’m addicted to This Is Us
  2.  I’m no longer a unit, I’m just me and I have NO IDEA who that is.

I was “taking a minute” at a beach house in early September and I somehow ended up binge watching the TV show This is Us.  That show just hooked me in the heart and had me begging for more. 

I totally connected with their pain.  ALL of their pain.  Their grief and it’s eating them up really hit me in the guts. 

Especially one episode where Miguel is asked if he was always in love with Rebecca and he says “of course not, she was never just Rebecca when Jack was alive, she was always Jack & Rebecca, part of a unit and you don’t mess with the unit because that’s all you see, I couldn’t love her then,” or something to that effect. 

SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!!! That hit me all up in the feels! 

Suddenly, I couldn’t breathe, my chest got tight and I realized exactly what my biggest struggle was:

I’m no longer an “Us”

I pinpointed the main source of my pain, anger and sadness; and the feelings of loss, not only of Jeff, but loss of myself.  That chaotic, unsure, spinning out of control with no rock to reach for, feeling that had been driving me nuts was finally so clear to me. 

I wasn’t Jeff & Sarah anymore and that had RIPPED ME UP on so many levels and in so many ways.  His suicide had stolen my entire identity.  The only identity I had known as an adult.I wasn’t a unit anymore, I wasn’t an “Us”, and that scared the SHIT out of me and made me hurt and lost and even angry, but it finally explained the unbalanced, chaotic out of control feelings.  That internal longing for something that I couldn’t put my finger on.  It was the missing of “us” that was causing my pain.

The Background

 Since the age of 19 I’ve been part of a team.  We were always “Jeff & Sarah”.  From the moment we got married there was no “you” or “me” or “him” or “she”, it was always “we”, always.  No one ever called us individually by our names, it was simply, “Jeff & Sarah”.  People knew that when they got one of us, they had us both.  They knew, even if we weren’t together, we were talking about each other or to each other or that we would be telling the other half everything very soon.  We were TOGETHER, really truly an “Us”. 

We had a deep bond, a complete identity.  We really were a unit.  We weren’t perfect but we were okay with that.  We had a family group text that was used daily and we all talked almost daily too.  We were a STRONG family.  Jeff & Sarah were a STRONG unit, a beautiful “Us”, or so I thought.

           Yet in one move, he took that all away.   

I wonder if he thought at all about the huge hole he’d leave in our lives and how that would affect literally everything.  I wonder if he realized that he was ripping our unit to shreds and that the fall out would spread so far that it would affect our children & friends too.  How did he not notice that I wasn’t my own person, that without him, I was just “Sarah” and I really had no idea who she was.  I knew we were an “Us”, why didn’t he?

It has taken me over two years of trial and error to begin to figure out who I am by myself; simply Sarah.  Let me tell you, that has been an uphill battle.  I’m more outspoken now, I guess.  I have no filter left.  I’m not all warm and fuzzy sunshine like I used to be either, I’m harder, edgier, I fight constantly with anxiety while trying to pull myself together.

For the first time, I’m in a position to figure out who I AM and it’s not a position I chose.  I don’t like being forced to do things so of course, I’m going about this the hard way, I’m fighting it.  I don’t want to feel so hurt and so scared and alone.  I really hate how angry it makes me though.  That’s what I hate most.

Sometimes, this overwhelming anger boils up at Jeff for doing this.  For ripping not just Jeff & Sarah apart but our family too.  His suicide ripped our kids to shreds and now even my super close relationship with my children has been destroyed and I HATE it.  As soon as the anger passes though, I know he didn’t think any of this would happen. 

I feel very strongly that he didn’t think for one second that he was doing such profound damage to the ones he loved the most.  Maybe he thought the boys & I were strong enough.  We weren’t.   He never would have done it if he knew we weren’t and that it would turn out like this.  The fact is though, he did it, and I AM angry, hurt, sad, frustrated, and so many other things and through all of that emotion I have to figure out who I truly am and how to be happy with her.

It’s a daunting task going from Jeff & Sarah to just Sarah.  Thanks to This Is Us though, I think I’m finally ready to move forward with my healing and seek the life I want.  I just want to LIVE and be happy.   I just hope the world is ready for just “Sarah”.

About Sarah Johnston

Hi! I’m Sarah. I’m a suicide loss survivor who also happens to be dealing with severe anxiety, PTSD and depression. What a ball of fun right? Maybe someone else out there can learn from my triumphs and disasters as I trip and panic my way through grief, loss and mental illness.

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  • Douglas Finer

    You validate what I also feel Sarah. Thank you.

  • Courtney

    Keep writing, love! ❤️

  • Lisa jackson

    Sarah, I can’t begin to imagine what you went through and continue to go through on a daily basis. Just remember You are beautiful, strong and courageous. Know that I’m just a phone call away. I Love just Sarah!

  • Cris Rincones

    People who haven’t been through this kind of loss… will NEVER know what this feels like.

  • Walter Heywood

    You know my story, I know yours! There is nothing that compares to the painful loss due to suicide. NOTHING!! I am proud of you for continuing to move forward. As you do, life will get better, and worse, more conflicted, somewhat confusing. All in all, if you allow it, it will be a different kind of better. I think you are on the right path! Everyday, another step forward. Trust God! There is a plan. I promise!

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