Persevering as a suicide widow
On the evening of February 27, 2016, having spent the majority of the day drinking, Krystal and Chad Youngs got into an argument and they both left the house. Krystal spoke with Chad on the phone a few minutes before Midnight and assured him they would discuss the situation in the morning. Little did she know this would be her last conversation with him.
Krystal spent the following day with their four-year-old daughter, Charley. They played outside, did chores around the house and made dinner for her husband, Chad. But he would never come home. After pacing the floors and worrying for hours, Krystal knew something was wrong. She had a knock on her door, a knock forever changing life as she knew it. Chad was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in an empty field in Clinton County.
“I never thought in my mind he would do that (commit suicide),” said Krystal. “He never talked about suicide so it was a surprise. I knew he was depressed but he didn’t want to get help. He worked for the public, so he didn’t want the public to think he was crazy.”
Krystal added Chad started taking the medication she took to treat her depression and he had become very angry. She also said they were alcoholics and they drank a lot, so she knows it played a part in the death of her husband.
Chad was born and raised in Gallatin. He worked for the City of Gallatin for 15 years, receiving his lineman certification, and was also a volunteer firefighter. Chad had a son, Bryce, who is now 20, before he married Krystal in 2010. Two years later, Krystal gave birth to Charley.
“Chad was a people pleaser,” said Krystal. “Everyone loved him. He was one of those people who would go out of his way to help someone, even if it put him out.”
Nine months after Chad’s death, his father Daniel passed from bone cancer and Krystal’s dad, Roy Michael Decha, passed in March of this year. Krystal said after hitting rock bottom when her father passed, she is on the road to sobriety, taking one day at a time.
Now, just over two years since Chad’s passing, Krystal published “Suicide Widow: My life story of persevering through adversity, addiction and abandonment.” The book covers a variety of different themes in it’s 129 pages including: “abandonment, broken families, fear of rejection, self-soothing, people pleasing, undiagnosed and untreated depression, self-medication, substance use, suicide, the grief process, and general awfulness of people in the midst of trauma and tragedy.”
It opens with the day of Chad’s death; the days leading up to and then following from the perspective of not only Krystal but also Jason, Chad’s brother. It then goes into Krystal’s childhood, moving into adulthood and finally paints her picture of what it was like to lose a spouse to suicide. She starts asking “what if”, then moves into blame and having an identity crisis. Krystal explained she first went through denial, then anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance.
“I have come to find out this is a normal part of the grieving process,” wrote Krystal. “However, in my situation, there will never be closure and there will never be an answer. He didn’t leave a note and his phone was never found. I often think that I could have prevented his suicide that night, but I am a firm believer that it was inevitable and if it was not that night, it would have been another.”
For Krystal, she said “Suicide Widow” was closure for her in a way. She said everyone was making up their own stories and what they wanted to hear, but she wanted to explain what really happened.
“This book is for anyone who experienced grief in their life and to bring awareness to suicide in small towns,” explained Krystal. “I was 28 at the time. I wanted to talk about all the things you have to go through, calling the different companies and dealing with the ‘widow paparazzi’ and ‘widow brain’.”
She describes “widow paparazzi” as the people constantly watching every move you make with judgment and “widow brain” as doing things in a foggy mental state and not really knowing what you are doing.
Krystal graduated from Gilman City High School in 2005 after being raised by her grandparents due to her parents’ substance abuse. After Chad’s passing, Krystal and Charley moved to Cameron. She is currently employed with a local mental health agency and is working toward her Master’s degree in social work from the University of Missouri. After completing her degree, she would like to move on to become a school social worker.
“I think it is important that kids are aware of warning signs and if they are feeling suicidal, what they can do and ways to get help,” said Krystal. “It is important for us to pay attention to the people we love and make sure they are ok because a lot of times they aren’t going to come forward and say I have a problem.”
“The thought of living without (Chad) is almost more than I could handle at times,” stated Jason in “Suicide Widow”. “You have to understand it’s ok to talk about your problems, it is ok to ask for help. We have to kill the stigma, we have to stick together, we have to love one another.
“I have used my unfortunate newfound experience many times at work,” continued Jason, who works as a Crisis Intervention Officer. “I have spoken to thousands of people on the subject matter. I have decided that I have to take what I know and bestow it upon others, with the hopes that they realize someone cares. I feel I bare a great deal of responsibility to pass along what I now know. This is my way of healing and moving on. This must be talked about, this must stop.”
Krystal has joined several support groups for widows on Facebook. After writing “Suicide Widow”, several of the other members gave their opinion. “It was a very proper public beating, in a very nice way” was one of her favorites. Another review stated, “You have a home run here. I love the way you take us through all of the raw, ugly emotions from the moment you were told, to the day and months and years after Chad’s passing.”
“Suicide Widow” is now available on Amazon for $12.99 and on Kindle for $7.99.