NOVI, Mich. (FOX 2) - It's been more than two months since Jessica Starr ended her own life. For the family of Jessica, the grieving process is only just started.
Jessica ended her life on December 12th, two months after she went in for eye surgery to correct her vision. Her husband, Dan Rose, says it's been a long battle that he's fighting for their very young children.
"I'm trying to focus on our kids. We have a 5 and a 3 year old who, of course, miss their mom and are grieving. They're trying to figure out what happened and where she's at. She was here one day and she was gone the next," Dan said. "We've had conversations about Jessica being in heaven and no longer being with us."
Dan says it's the most difficult thing he's ever done in his life.
Through a series of videos and a 30-page suicide note, Dan is learning more about Jessica's final weeks.
"It's been exactly 3 weeks since I had my surgery. It's been emotional," Jessica said, in a video Dan found on her phone.
Dan is sharing these videos and her messages now because this is Jessica's emotions in her own words.
"It's important to share these because anything I say - it's not as important as what Jessica says. Something coming directly from Jessica is going to be more powerful than anything coming from me or any member of her family," Dan said.
Dan says Jessica was his soulmate, the love of his life. But the Jessica in the videos is not the woman he loved for 17 years.
"Prior to the procedure, Jessica was completely normal, very healthy. There was no depression, there was no antidepressants, there was no underlying issue," he said. "I want to make that absolutely clear. Jessica was incredibly normal - there wasn't a long battle with depression. Again, there was no antidepressants, there was no alcohol abuse. There was nothing."
Dan said he's thankful for the support that viewers have offered and that the Jessica Starr you saw on TV was the one he knew.
"I want to thank them for all their support. I know how people felt about Jess. Jess had an amazing spirit and amazing connection with people. She had the ability to walk into a room and connect with people. That's not something that everybody has."
"I know the viewers loved her because the person you saw on TV - that was Jessica in real life. Jessica was a normal girl. She honestly could care less that she was on TV. She used to say to me every day 'I'm not Tom Cruise, I don't make a million dollars a year. I put my pants on one leg at a time'. She had all these little jokes she would say."
Dan is talking now, ten weeks after losing Jessica to suicide, to raise awareness about side effects of eye surgery. On October 11, Jessica had ReLEx SMILE LASIK surgery. She knew something wasn't right in the days and weeks after the operation and went to multiple different doctors for their opinions.
"We were in our kitchen and I could tell she was upset and she had come home from like her 3rd or 4th second opinion. I reached under forearms and grabbed her by the backs of her elbows and I pulled her close to me and we were looking right into each other's eyes and I said, 'What's wrong? What is going on? What are you looking for? All of these doctors are telling you the same thing - what are you trying to find?'"
"She looked at me and she said, 'Dan, it's like my eyes and my brain aren't communicating like they used to. I can't process like I used to. I'm not visualizing things like I used to,'" Dan said.
Now he's taking his story, and Jessica's, public.
"We want to try to help somebody. If we can save one life and at least make somebody aware, even a spouse - if a husband gets this procedure - I want the wife to just watch for signs," Dan said.
The National Institute of Health has studied the procedure and found a success rate of the operation is greater than 96% that resulted in 20/20 vision. That's what Jess was hoping for.
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In the notes and the videos she left behind, Jessica was lucid and knew the decision she had made. She made it very clear that what she was about to do was in result of the decision she made to have the operation.
If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The crisis center provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or text 741-741.