So there I stood in my beautiful master bathroom, with my face buried in a towel, screaming. Screaming as I sobbed “How is this my fucking life?” I wanted to leave, I wanted to drive away.
I had just spent an hour talking to my husband about the value of his life; he didn’t see it that way. We were by the garage door, he was heading out. I knew to locate a place to die, perhaps a multi-level garage to drive off of, or a bridge to drive into, there were a multitude of ways. I knew this, because over the 15 years that we were together he had shared them with me.
Funny when you think about it. When you’re sharing your hopes and dreams with your partner in life, you don’t really think that discussing how to die by suicide will be part of those conversations. But in my world, in my life they were.
I finally could say nothing more, I begged him not to go. Pleaded with him to stay home with me, but he was determined. And I knew no matter what I said or did he was going to do what he wanted to do. So for the first time in my life I told him, “go, just, go.” And he did. After my screaming in the bathroom, I took action. I contacted his dear friends who knew of his pain and told them what happened.
For the next 2 hours or so, I sat in my house. Well, I didn’t sit. I paced, cleaned, cried, and wondered what would come next. A call from a hospital? A knock at the door from the police? Or would Andy come home? Sadly, this was not an unfamiliar feeling. I was always so grateful to have my dog Homer in these times, someone to talk to and share my pain with.
Then the phone rang. My heart stopped. I saw the number. It was Andy’s cell phone, but I was still not 100% sure it was him, perhaps it was the police using his phone to reach me. But then his voice, with a laugh to it, “I’m okay, you can call off the hounds”. All of his friends that I had contacted, called him. They had worked with him, and got him home safely to me. The crisis had passed, again.
It never dawned on me during that time in my life that I needed someone to talk to, to share my fear, my pain, my angst. After all my feelings were not nearly as important as Andy’s. He wanted to die. Me? I was just scared and frustrated.
For 15 years I had lived with these emotional upheavals in my life. My awareness was amazing, I would notice little things – he’s not journaling, his diet is shifting, he’s finding reasons to skip his exercise, or he’s getting frustrated easily. All huge red flags for me. These things in a “normal” situation wouldn’t be a big deal, but this could be the beginning of a “big deal”.
I spent years “walking on eggshells”, (or so it seemed) deferring to what he wanted as not to get him upset. Never pushing too hard if I thought it would trigger him into a “depression”. Major changes in life were always a concern, a new job, a move, a death, I was never sure what would happen or how he would handle it.
I got used to living with the “bad” times, the unknown, the unpredictable, the impending crisis and of course the good times. There have been plenty of all, but I know that I blocked so many of my feelings, it was better for me not to feel it at all, because it was too painful, too frustrating. And scary. Really scary. Scary deep in my heart. Scary deep in my soul.
After all this happened I actually felt better, well not great, but I thought I had a major breakthrough, I reached out for help and I received it. I was cured, I no longer felt I had to fix everything, I could ask for help for the big stuff, just like I did for the small stuff…bringing the car to the mechanic for an oil change, going to the salon for a hair cut. I sought out help when I thought it was appropriate, but not for the big major stuff. Rather backwards.
Flash forward a couple of years, Andy is doing great, I mean really fantastic and we are awesome. Yet something still wasn’t right with me. I couldn’t figure it out, and finally had a coaching session with a major breakthrough. I was holding on to shame and guilt. For what? For asking for help, for not being able to “fix” Andy myself. Somewhere in my being, I thought I failed him. I did some clearing with my coach and let that go.
It was never my job to “fix” Andy, but I certainly believed it was. And that belief nearly destroyed me.
If this sounds familiar to you and your looking for a way to live your life fully, with joy, while still living with someone you love who wants to die, support is available to you.
You have so much strength and courage for your loved ones, can you allow it for yourself as well? You can reach out and ask for help and expect that someone will be there for you, too. Say to yourself “I could use some support around this.” Please know that I am here. I know what you are going through. Take my hand and together we can help one another.