what it’s like: to experience a traumatic loss.

Suicide. The word splashes across our screens in a new-media blast, coming and going quickly, but rarely sticking around to share the stories of those impacted by it. It’s a word to shatters lives of those gone and those left behind, and today, my sweet friend Jessica is sharing her story on how this word changed her world.

Jess and I met on social media years back, and for the first time, got the chance to meet face to face last month. Friendship at first sight is a real thing and Jess is a living reminder to me that God sends friendships into our lives in all different ways, including Instagram connections! She exudes genuine love, warmth, and vulnerability and is truly one of the strongest people I know. Her strength comes from within and is rooted in Jesus and I am incredibly proud to call her my friend.

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Sharing this story wasn’t easy for Jessica. We exchanged messages about how writing this dug up some pretty deep emotions and instead of changing her mind, she decided to dig in deep and pull these words from a sacred, tender place in her heart in hopes that it may stop someone from making a life-altering choice, and to seek help instead. 

Let’s celebrate her vulnerability today and read what it’s like to experience a traumatic loss, like suicide. 


I always thought the worst news I would ever receive would be “I had miscarried my child” but sadly that wasn’t the case. The worst news I ever received was that my older sister had died by taking her life.

Losing my sister to suicide was honestly the worst kind of hell you can imagine; from receiving call that she had died, to hearing the details of her death, to having to break this news to our mother, to traveling the 1200 miles from Texas to Pennsylvania, to facing Marce’s spouse & her family in Pennsylvania, to seeing her in her final resting place & trying to wrap my mind around everything happening around me. It was earth shattering.

I’m a child of divorce & with that comes a bit of a untraditional family dynamic. I had two half-sisters and one stepsister. Being a big sister to my two younger siblings was a title I held with the highest regard because my older sister Marce was my hero. Growing up with a 14 year age difference, she was like a second mom & I idolized her. My baby sister and I have a 12 year age gap so I felt like I was following in Marce’s footsteps and I was more than happy to do so. Everything I learned about being a big sister I learned from her.

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As we grew up, she had her own family & built a life in Pennsylvania while I did the same in Texas. She had a beautiful baby girl from her first marriage & built this beautiful life with an incredible woman. I couldn’t have been happier for her. I graduated high school, got a “big girl” job, married the love of my life, & then entered the hardest season of my life: loss & infertility.

Shortly after getting married my husband Seth & I found out we were pregnant with our first child. We were newlyweds, 3 months into marriage & then it happened. At 12 weeks, I experienced my first miscarriage. Over the next 4 years of our married lives I had 2 more miscarriages. It was a heartbreaking season of life. I battled serve depression & anxiety. The loss of 3 babies reeked havoc on my marriage, my mental health, my relationships with my family, friends & even with the Lord.

Growing up I came to know the Lord and had a relationship with Him I was very proud of. My faith was the foundation of my life but going through such a traumatic loss multiple times made me question everything I knew.

I was so angry. Grief stricken.

Heartbroken & full of so much shame.

I had fallen into a dark hole I found so hard to escape. My grief had crippled me and made it difficult to function. I felt like I was being punished for something. Obviously I know that the Lord was never punishing me. He never wanted to see me hurting. He is good and loving even when life isn’t, but being in such a dark place in my grief I couldn’t think clearly. My heart hurt so badly all I wanted was for it to end and for the pain to stop. Honestly, I wanted to die. My poor husband. I put that man through hell & then some, but thankfully my own suicide attempts were never successful.

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Life did get better. I started trying to live & work through my grief. I started working, being more active in my relationships with those I loved and then, on my first week of a new job I got the call that changed everything. The call that rocked my world in such a way my miscarriages had seemed like child’s play compared to the loss I was about to experience. My beloved big sister Marce had died. I later learned that not only had she had decided to take her own life but as a result of that choice, my 11 year old niece Madison had died as well.

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Losing my sister and niece at the same time was unspeakable. I could hardly comprehend the magnitude of such a loss & then learning the circumstances of their deaths….I couldn’t process it. All I wanted to do was cry and grieve but my own grief had to take a backseat because I had to contact our mother and break the news that her oldest daughter and only granddaughter were gone.

Let me say this; if you have ever thought of taking your own life or imagined that this world or the people in your life would be better off without you—I can promise you that you are WRONG!

I’ll never forget how it felt to tell my mom her daughter committed suicide. I’ll never forget seeing her in so much pain. No parent should ever have to lose their child. Losing my sister in such a traumatic way I was left questioning everything just as I did when I miscarried. The questions built up and plagued my every thought again. I wanted to fall apart in the early days of their deaths but my mother’s needed me to be the strong one and by the grace of God, I was able to be the strength she needed. I never imagined in losing my sister I would find so much inner strength, and as a result of that loss, I was able to survive another miscarriage 2 years later.

It’s been 6 years since I lost Marce and Madison and not a day goes by where I don’t think of them. I’ve always believed that God has a reason for everything but somethings will never make sense. I’ll never truly understand why I had to experience 4 miscarriages, or why my niece’s life was cut short. I’ll never understand why my sister felt death was the only option. Those questions I’ll ask Him one day but I find comfort in knowing I’ll see them again. Losing my sister in such a traumatic way gave me an appreciation for this life and helped me get out of the dark hole I had been living in for years. Grief used to crippled me but now I refuse to let it have that power over me. So what is it like to experience a traumatic loss? It’s life altering.

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If you or someone you know is in crisis please reach out for help.  Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 

CALL: 1-800-273-8255 http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org


jess

Jessica is a 32 years old Texas native. Lover of all things girly with a slight addiction to Dr. Pepper & iced white chocolate mochas. Loving wife to Seth of 11yrs, furMama to a sweet dog named Charlie & two cats Haley & Bleeker. Jesus follower, full time nanny, avid reader & Astros fan. After surviving four miscarriage & TTC for over 10 years she’s still holding on to hope for the day she’ll become a mom. You can connect with her on Instagram @jesslacombewhere she shares her heart & all the things that mean the most.


PS – Don’t miss a thing with this series! Follow along on Facebook and Instagram to catch each of the upcoming stories! I absolutely LOVE connecting with each of you! 

PPS – If you’re ever looking for a devotional on living life while in a waiting season, check out the devotional I co-authored called In the Wait’!

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PPPS – Check out the other contributions from this series, including What It’s Like: to experience multiple IVF cyclesraise a child with special needsuse an egg donorbe a DIY-er and home style blogger , be a NICU nurse,  Live fully in singleness while still hoping for marriagesuffer with endometriosis. experience depressionstart a company, have a micro preemie,  lose a parent, be childless not by choice, have a spouse with a chronic illnessfund raise for fertility treatments, have a traumatic birthing experience, take a natural route with infertility,  be on a reality show, go through the adoption process, have male factor infertility,be a stay at home mom, be an entertainer,  be given a Down syndrome diagnosis for your child , experience multiple miscarriages, have a surrogate, experience a late pregnancy stillbirth, be a police officers wife, be a working mom , be a breastfeeding mother, have weight loss surgerydonate and adopt an embryo,  be on a reality show, go through the fostering process, throw a themed dinner party , have PCOS, have had a cancer diagnosis,be a high school teacher,love someone who’s experiencing infertilitybe a step-parent,be the husband in a couple experiencing infertility , experience secondary infertility, and experience postpartum anxiety. Stay tuned for many other amazing topics to come every Tuesday and Friday here!

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