Skip to content

I Suppose

Before me is a blank document. What do I put on the page? This time of year used to be gentle; it has become hard. What were once simple lazy days with blue skies have become days of reflection and wondering. I tend to review, explore and wonder where I am now compared to the last year. I suppose that surviving a suicide of a husband will do that to you. I realize that his suicide freed him from a very painful life, and it presented me with a rare gift.

I am not shocked or upset by this thought. He gave me the ability to move forward myself. I was given the time and freedom to explore our relationship in ways I couldn’t do when he was alive. I was an innocent when we got together.

Before I met Jon, I didn’t understand that you could doubt or question someone’s love. Yes, I got that there was love that is dysfunctional: manipulation masking as love, and love that I had not seen. In my life, and in my mind, love was gentle. My relationship with Jon educated me in new ways. 

Relationships teach us the good, bad, and questionable things about ourselves. Living under the same roof brings with it challenges and a need for commitment to the process of growth. If there is one thing that enabled our relationship to last, it was a commitment to growth and exploring the hard things together.

Sometimes we couldn’t resolve an issue in a day, and that was OK. Being in hard places is good for growth and exploration. I learned to become more adept at remaining open to the long-term solution. There are things that only time and deep insight can resolve, and the commitment to do the work “until” is essential to making it work.

The best counsel I got from his psychiatrist was to give him space. OK, I needed to give myself space too. Walking away enabled us to resolve issues faster. I’m thankful for this knowledge, and the gift that it is.

There were times when I wondered if he could love me. The bipolar cut into him in ways that he couldn’t even express. His upbringing cut into his soul in other ways. My heart ached for the both of us at times. After his death, the love question surfaced, and I knew I’d have to face it.

There is a time in the grief process when it all gets put on the chopping block. It all has to go on the block. It is the deep work of grief and the exploration of the shadows that we hide from. If we’re willing to do the hard work of grief, we must extract the ugly, unpleasant stuff and dive in. This is where many stop their work. It is ugly and messy, and do “I” really want to face this truth? My innocence committed me to explore this place of shadows. Sometimes innocence is a great motivator.

Some couples do this hard exploration while they are together in life, and some widows or widowers are forced to do this difficult exploration after the death, and before moving into a new relationship. I had to cross into this place after, and I’m glad I did. My willingness to do the work didn’t make it any easier. I’ve always invested in self-improvement and growth.

What bipolar takes from relationships is debatable and unique to each person. It took my innocence. In saying that, I’ve had to admit that while I love Jon, he opened my eyes to a very dark side of the world. I would not have chosen to go into the dark abyss of a hell few can explain, and fewer still can understand, and yet I went, and I find that I don’t regret the journey to this place. It is a gift I wasn’t looking for, and I’m richer for having taken the time to open this gift.

The gift of knowing you are loved comes in many forms. In the first few years after his death, my reflections led me to explore the “he didn’t love me” side of things. Sitting with the doubt, the hurt of things done, and understanding who he was deep within, moved me to the place of love. I came to a realization that through all of it he tried his best, and so did I. There was love in the tiny things he tried to do. There was love in the sneaky things he pulled off; there was love in the gifts he thoughtfully gave, and in a mixed-up way, even in the way he ended his life. In that velvet way, I didn’t even notice the change I’d made in my thinking. Wow!

When I think about what it means to show love in deep ways, he did his best to do that. I accept what he wasn’t capable of doing. I can also view my side of things with more realism. I can take responsibility for the failures and the successes of my part of the relationship, and some of it hurts.

I suppose this journey is about being able to find the deep peace that I’ve needed to put things to rest. Coming to this knowing also brings up the fact that nothing is ever at an end point. Only the final eye closure can and will bring things to an end.

I find that I’m standing taller; I’m wiser, and at the same time I question more.

As I pass into this new place where the gifts are for opening and exploring, I turn, look back, and realize that the lazy summers of exploration have gifted me some cloud-filled summer days. I suppose that’s just fine.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: