Depression, Loss & A Grieving Husband’s Plea: “Too Short a Fairy Tale,” by Brandon Gerdes

Too Short a Fairy Tale-A grieving husband's plea www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #depression #loss #suicide #prevention #marriage

I am deeply honored today to share a very important guest post. I recently published an article here, titled, “Mental Illness, Stigma, & Suicide: Finding hope in the darkest times,” in which I shared several of my encounters with depression, loss, and suicide. In particular, I shared the life and loss of my dear friend, Naomi.

Today, I am grateful to be able to share this post by Naomi’s husband, Brandon. It’s only been a few weeks since he lost the love of his life, yet Brandon is already determined to speak up, to continue the work Naomi was so valiantly doing, to make sure others do not have to suffer as he has had to.

Please read Brandon’s story. Then, share. Help him spread his, and Naomi’s, message–in honor of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month; in honor of Naomi, and all others we have lost; in honor of all who are fighting today, whom we still have time to help heal and to keep safe…

 

**For those who may find this beautiful article triggering, please do not read this at this time. Focus on getting well. That’s what really matters–that we take our mental health seriously–that we reach out, and talk, and let help in.** 

 

 

 

“Too Short a Fairy Tale”

By Brandon Gerdes

“Naomi Knoles and I were married on November 15, 2014. We only knew each other for 3 or 4 Too Short a Fairy Tale-A Grieving Husband's Plea www.DrChristinaHibbert.com#depression #suicide #loss #mentalillnessmonths before we were engaged and I DO NOT…DO NOT regret any part of that! I did not realize it was possible to love someone so much.

 

Naomi’s history is a long one. A very long and unimaginable one. It is better for her to explain it, and she does so beautifully on her website at www.naomiknoles.com with a post called “We All Have a Story to Tell”.

 

Omi told me several times that she could not believe that someone could love her after all she’d been through, but I told her to believe it. She was loved and needed by many. We had our rough times early on in married life, but all that I can remember now are the good times.’

 

 

The Good Times

‘Like the time we got caught by security behind the store as if we were high school kids, or the simple things, like going to the movies or to sporting events. In just our 9 months, 6 days, and about 20 hours, we experienced a lot.

 

Too Short a Fairy Tale-A Grieving Husband's Plea www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #depression #suicide

From Naomi’s Facebook page…

Omi’s first time leaving the state of Arizona was when she and I took a little vacation to San Francisco. We had upgraded to first class, because this was an important experience for both of us, and as we sat next to each other, we shared glances several times before we left Phoenix. The thing I remember most is when the airplane left the ground. When we finally sped down the runway, our excitement was the same, but also different. I knew that Omi was nervous about takeoff and landing, so I looked at her, to my left. She had her head back in the seat and was looking straight ahead. She was nervous. The aircraft broke the anchor of the ground and tears were rolling down her face. My first reaction was to make sure she was physically okay, and soon after, she told me that she was happy. This was the first time in 12 plus years that she had left the state of Arizona! Her tears were tears of joy! I do not have a physical picture of that moment in time, but I will never forget that view of my teary babe.

 

My own history is also a long one, but without nearly as much turmoil as Omi. I have been battling a diagnosis of End Stage Renal Disease/failure since 1991. I have been graced by God’s healing for some years. I have been through every form of dialysis known, and I am currently awaiting my 3rd transplant. It is more of a physical battle, whereas Naomi’s battle was mental.’

 

 

The Worst Time

‘The date was August 24, 2015, just 5 days before my 40th birthday. I was at work. It was a "Too Short a Fairy Tale," by Brandon Gerdes, "A Grieving Husband's plea..." www.DrChristinaHibbert.com“normal” day. I was busy that day, so I did not get my usual chances to call or text message Naomi as often as I did some days. I did not think it was terribly unusual for her to not respond to me earlier that day. However, when she did not respond to me by the time I got ready for dialysis (I went to dialysis right from work), I was a little concerned.

 

I called my Mom, who was just getting home from work. Mom answered my call right when she was walking in the door. I asked her if Omi’s vehicle was there. “YES.” I asked if her phone was there. “YES.” I asked if the dogs were there. “YES.” That was strange; Naomi was going through some very, very rough times with her social anxiety, and she did not go out in public without me.

 

I was on the phone with my Mom when she saw Naomi slumped in the backyard. I ran out of work and could not drive fast enough! My world was turned upside down that day. I am having to learn to live without her now, and it is far harder than any of my renal problems.’

 

 

Depression & Loss

‘Omi had her tough times that added to her depression. On December 10, 2014, we were both

Image Naomi created and shared on her Facebook page...

Image Naomi created and shared on her Facebook page…

extremely elated when we were shown in an ultrasound that we were pregnant! It was a wonderful saga in our short time together. In early January 2015, we were first told that our baby boy would be plagued with Down Syndrome. It was decided after a short discussion that we would see baby boy, Tommy, through. Later, we were told we’d had a miscarriage. This was a devastating loss, and one more painful thing among other tough issues that compounded her depression.

 

Naomi wanted to take care of everyone except herself, but I want to continue to do that—to take care of her by sharing my story, our story. Omi was right—“We all have a story to tell.”’

 

 

My Plea

‘After what we have been through, after what I am going through now, I feel compelled to speak up, just like Omi did:

 

  • The important thing I can tell those of you who are struggling and suffering, and that I Brandon & Naomi; "Too Short a Fairy Tale: A grieving husband's plea www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #depression #suicide #preventiontold Omi many times, is to have patience. Have patience with whatever you are going through.

 

  • You are not the only one that has to show the patience. Your loved ones also must know they need to have patience, and they need to show it.

 

  • Another thing you absolutely must do is to talk about it. Talk about everything. My Omi did not do that with me. She felt that she did not want to burden me with her problems. She felt that I had enough problems of my own without hearing her issues also. I wanted to hear her problems, because we were husband and wife. That is what married couples do. She had other outlets, but she did not tell them enough. Please, please talk, find someone who will listen. Don’t stop until you do.

 

‘I do not want anyone to experience anything like what I am now going through. I BEG of you, all who are suffering from depression, mental illness, pain, heartache, or grief–GET HELP from somewhere!

God bless you and your families.” ~Brandon Gerdes

 

 

 

Naomi Knoles, from "A Grieving Husband's Plea...Too Short a Fairy Tale" www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

 

Naomi Marie Knoles Gerdes

8/9/77 – 8/24/15

“I LOVE YOU and MISS YOU BABE! You will FOREVER be LOVED and MISSED by many!”

~Brandon Gerdes

 

If you’d like to leave a message for Brandon or share your thoughts/feelings, please leave a comment, below, OR email Brandon at brandongerdes34@gmail.com.

 
 
 

**If you or someone you love needs help…**

If you’re feeling like…

  • “I’m in crisis or am experiencing difficult or sucidal thoughts”: Call the National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273 TALK (8255)
  • “I’m looking for more information, referrals or support”: Please call the NAMI HelpLine 800-950-NAMI (6264)
  • If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.

– See more at: https://www.nami.org/suicideawarenessmonth/hp#sthash.pv7PHdxk.dpuf

 

 

 

 

Listen to my powerful “Motherhood” radio episode, “Shedding Light (& Hope) on the Dark Side of Motherhood” to learn more about Naomi, & what we can do about this important topic.

Listen to "Motherhood" with Dr. Christina Hibbert! Each week on WebTalkRadio.net & iTunes! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #radio

 

 

 

 

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 Too Short a Fairy Tale-A grieving husband's plea www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #depression #loss #suicide #prevention #marriage
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About Dr. Christina Hibbert

Clinical Psychologist, Mom of 6, Postpartum Couples DVD Producer, Non-Profit Founder, and expert on Parenting, Women’s Emotions, Pregnancy & Postpartum, and Grief & Loss, Dr. Christina Hibbert loves songwriting, learning, and teaching what she learns. She really hopes you’ll join the Personal Growth Group and choose to grow together!

Comments

  1. I just have to say how humbled, honored, and grateful I feel to have been able to work with Brandon on this article. He came to me a few days ago with an article he’d already written, and was passionate about getting it out as soon as he could, to whomever would listen. That he’d already channeled his grief into something as beautiful and poignant as this, after only a few weeks, was extremely inspiring to me. Brandon, I know you have a long road ahead of you. You will have many dark, grief-filled days–I know these days all too well. However, grief and mourning is our human way of expressing love for those we’ve lost–a final gift to our loved ones. Your ability to take tragedy, to learn from and to share it, will ensure this tragedy ends up a triumph–not just for you and not just for Naomi, but for so many lives you will touch. Whatever I can do to help you in your purpose, I will gladly do so! xoxo to you!!

  2. Thank you so much, Brandon, for sharing your heartfelt story, and to Christina for sharing it with us through your website.

    Brandon, my heart goes out to you. As a mom with bipolar disorder, I corresponded with your beautiful, amazing wife just a few times, but I could tell she was special.

    We shared a mutual admiration for one of my mentors Dr. Walker Karraa, and we both wrote for Walker’s cutting-edge website Stigmama. Naomi’s contributions were absolutely profound and helped readers feel less alone with their pain and inspired that they could move on in their lives after experiencing utter darkness.

    Brandon, you’re in my prayers. You’re truly incredible to write such a moving post – Naomi, your “Omi”, is watching over you this very moment. I firmly believe in every fiber of my being she’ll be with you always, deeply proud of you, and forever grateful for your love.

  3. Mariah Warren says:

    Dear Brandon,
    Thank you so much for sharing your & Naomi’s journey with us. I was a writer for Stigmama as well, and so only knew Naomi via social media, but I was inspired by her journey to advocacy and spreading awareness about maternal mental health. It saddened me to hear of her passing, and I can only imagine your heartbreak. Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers, as is Naomi. Wishing you peace and comfort.
    Hugs,
    Mariah

  4. Thank you Brandon for sharing your story with us. I cannot begin to fathom how heartbroken you are. Thinking of you. Your courage shines through this entire story.

  5. Brandon Gerdes says:

    Thank you Jenny and Mariah! I want OUR story to get out there. Omi wanted to help everyone and I want to continue that. I cannot the way she did but I want to do what I can.

  6. Dear Brandon
    My heart ached reading this. There are no words for the severe loss you have had to experience. I hope you and your Omi will find the peace you both deserve. I hope she has now learnt to forgive herself and that her mind is finally resting and not filled with the illness that plagued her. My love to you. Heal well. Rest well Omi. You were stronger than you thought and so loved by so many. Thank you Christina for bravely sharing this. From a fellow warrior mama.

  7. Brandon Gerdes says:

    Thanks for your words Dee. I am touch and go sometimes yet. She does not have those feelings anymore. It will be nice when we can meet again.

  8. Brandon,

    I just watched “When the Bough Breaks” and then read your article here. I am so very sorry for your loss and there really aren’t any words that can convey how sad I feel for you. I am a prenatal educator and although I never personally suffered from PPD, I’m very aware that it is a serious and heartbreaking illness and I openly discuss it with my patients in the classes I teach. I hope Naomi’s story and yours will save many lives. May God bless you always. Naomi is in a place filled with peace and unending love and has been reunited with her babies. You will see her again someday where there is no pain or suffering.

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