As I sit typing this, I’m remembering. It doesn’t hurt like it did. It doesn’t cause the eruption of tears it once did. Tonight, three years ago, was our last date. We went and got ice cream and sat out talking, and when he got saturated by the surroundings we went home. We didn’t go out the next day. I have no memory of what I did that Saturday, as it has been wiped out. But, I can tell you what happened Sunday: that will never be wiped out. That was the day that he “did the deed,” as I now think of it.
Pain like this doesn’t just disappear; it doesn’t do anything helpful. Pain like this is a pernicious tyrant of a thing, hanging around and teasing you. Just when you think there are no more tears, you start to tear up again. When you think you have the tears under control, they continue. Oh, they aren’t the same ugly tears of the beginning, but they are still ugly. This is an ugly cry on steroids. It is beyond description.
Three years later I can tell you that grief and pain have altered who I am on some level. There are times when I have become selfish and ungiving. “I’m not that,” I scream to myself! And yet, when the pain surfaces in waves, “I am that.” Grief on steroids alters the soul.
I’m having to be real about this. Getting through this means getting really real about what happens inside the mind as well as the soul, and how you handle it.
Some of the things I thought I was certain about have become large uncertainties. In the beginning I thought that everyone would pull together and rally with me. Not so. What I discovered in the first six months was that people were clueless about what to say. Let’s be real here about what you do say to the widow whose husband did what he felt was, at that point in time, the only option he had left. Treatment had not failed him, but the thought of continuing on wasn’t an option for him. What does one say when the guy was in so much mental pain that the ultimate act was the only option left?
I’d gone into things knowing the risks. We’d talked many times during our 22 years together about “What if the mental pain gets so bad that…?” He knew how I felt about him and the suffering he was in. Three years ago it boiled over.
I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. Knowing what I do about bipolar illness just makes it harder at times. And now, as I write this, I cry.
It doesn’t go away and it never will. Pain like this changes in quality and quantity, but it will always be present.
You might be wondering, well, if it’s changed, then are you over it? NO!!! You work through some things, and when you work through that stack of stuff, other stuff surfaces because that is how life is. I can say this about my process but not someone else’s: in meeting grief head-on, it has reared its ugly face to me. Grief has caused me to stand stronger than I ever thought possible. I’ve had to risk, to grow, to survive, and to learn how to thrive on my own. I’m still working on it. You know that line from The Abyss where she drowns herself and he carries her to the pool and they’re trying to revive her and she isn’t coming back? Yeah, the one where he slaps her silly and tells her to fight because she’s never walked away from a battle. That one. Well, that’s me. I’m just doing what I’ve always done. This time around it really sucks.
Yeah, three years ago, my life took a strange turn. Three years ago it altered me in ways I’m still discovering. Only three years and I remember it like it were yesterday.