March 19, 2012
I just woke up from a dream about you. You were the one who always remembered dreams. It was something we talked about in the mornings before we threw back the covers and put our feet on the floor. Me, not so much. I was always pretty sure I had dreamed the night before; I could just never remember them. Certainly not the way you always did. After you died, I just stopped dreaming all together. But not tonight.
You came back. I was so happy. We talked and laughed and did things together. Like listening to music and cooking and taking the dogs for walks. We had this game we started playing where we would call each other on our phones and talk even though we were sitting right next to each other. We would watch each other while we talked on the phone. It was silly. I would record the calls so I could listen to them later.
Then one day I tried to listen to them and it was only my voice. I called you, but you wouldn’t pick up the phone. I called and I called. I was frantic. Where were you? Why weren’t you answering? I needed you to pick up the phone.
You came home and I yelled at you. I insisted that we play our game. This time I wanted you to play it right and not mess up the recording. I called you again. Looking right at you, screaming at you. “Answer the phone. Answer the phone.”
You looked so sad when you said, “I can’t. I’m dead.”
I woke up.
And so here I am, crying in the middle of the night in this quiet and lonely house. Missing you. Wishing all the wishes again that you had made a different choice. Feeling like this path to healing has looped back again. Again. Just when I thought I was doing so well.
I miss you. Nothing about your suicide is good or right or fair. I miss you. And tonight I am sad.
April 6, 2011
God’s Performance Review – Not So Good
Hey God, just wanted to let you know that you didn’t do all that well on your most recent performance review. It seems you’re neglecting those who needed Hope the most.
I understand that you have a lot on your mind. The Middle East is a mess. Libya is falling apart. You threw a tsunami at Japan when you really haven’t even begun to finish what you started in Haiti. If I did this on a job, I’d be on hold with the Colorado Department of Unemployment, waiting to see if I could qualify for meager unemployment benefits. And they just don’t answer people on hold. So frustrating.
But let’ s get back to the matter at hand.
Help me understand prayer. I know that Kyle prayed to you – until he felt that you just weren’t listening. He lost his faith because YOU DIDN”T SUPPORT HIS FAITH. YOU. You let him fall into an abyss of darkness and despair. Seriously? A man who touched so many lives by playing relevant music and providing happiness?
May I just throw the name Bernie Madoff in your direction? See, I don’t get it. This guy destroyed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and he’s hanging in prison. Sucks to be Bernie. He may not be vacationing on the best beaches of the world anymore and now he’s wearing synthetic blends instead of cashmere, but I’m paying to feed, clothe and house him. Oh, and pay for his medical expenses. All this, while I can’t afford to pay for medical insurance for myself. Hello?
Don’t even get me started about Hitler. Or Imelda’s shoes. And everything we DON’T know about. Not sure I even want to go there. That would really throw any faith I have in you into the the toilet.
You’re value system seems to be a bit skewed. It’s certainly not the one I was raised to believe in. Perhaps I was sold a bill of goods. Or maybe you just decided that you have had it. You’re just done with us. And by us, I mean humanity.
Kyle played beautiful music for people. He gave them happiness and was a significant person – not only my life, but the lives of my children. He made us laugh. We loved him. He was a part of our family. He was a good man who only wanted to do the best in his world.
And you know something? He did. He did the very best for his world and for his community and for our family. We weren’t married, but he was my husband and he was a father to my children. Did you overlook that? A little too busy to see the soul of such a good man and the value he had for so many? Thanks bunches.
He prayed to you. I prayed to you. Did you hear us? Did you listen? Not as far as I can see. You let a good man jump off of a building. Where were you? Why didn’t you shine even the dimmest light on him – because that might have offered him some glimmer of hope. All he wanted was hope. Hope. Was that more than you could give?
Really? Too much to ask for? From God?
You biffed it, God. You didn’t take care of one of your children. You let him slip through the cracks and that’s not OK. You neglected your duties. You allowed a good man die too soon.
Shame on you.
You neglected your child. In my society, that is a crime.
Shame, shame, shame.
No raise for you.
And you’ve lost me. If you want me back, you’ve got a lot of work to do.
I wish on stars. And birthday candles. And wishbones. If I see a penny (heads up), I pick it up and tuck it into my pocket. I believe in wishes.
Before March 6, 2011, my wishes were for things. Like that awesome sweater I saw in some fashion magazine. Or a great vacation. Or that freelance job I bid on. Since that day, when my partner of six years, Kyle Dyas died by suicide, my wishes have taken on a whole new flavor and hue.
I wish I had said something that could have broken through his despair. I wish I had loved him enough, loved him more, loved him better. I wish I had seen the signs. I wish I had been able to deliver hope. I wish I had heard him. I wish he had loved himself more. I wish he had made a different choice.
But he didn’t.
And now I find myself caught in a maelstrom, trying to swim to the surface and break through the water for a big gulp of fresh air. After Kyle died, I went into autopilot mode and dealt with the personal logistics of losing someone so tragically and suddenly. But once those batteries lost their charge I found myself facing the concept of ‘never again’ in a whole new light. I would never again go on a hike with Kyle or celebrate milestones and help each other over the bumps in the road. I would never again kiss him good night and he would never again play a song for me on the radio.
‘Never again’ became overwhelming and sad. It was a dark place and I found myself being pulled into the undertow of situational depression. It was hard to get out of bed. If I didn’t have children and pets that needed me, I’m not sure what would have happened. I spent about two months barely functioning. It was a good day when I brushed my teeth. I’m self-employed. My work suffered and that caused financial difficulties that compounded my depression. Both of my children asked me to promise them that I would not make that very final choice of suicide.
And I did think about how much easier it would be if all my sadness would just go away – poof. The only way I thought that would happen was if I died. But this was sort of hidden in the back of my brain – I wasn’t completely aware of my suicidal ideations until a client angrily texted me – three months to the day of Kyle’s death – and told me I was blowing her off by not answering her emails and missing deadlines. I texted back “I am trying to not kill myself.” Once I articulated that, I was frightened. No, actually I was scared as hell. I realized at that moment that I was fighting suicidal ideations and I was determined to win.
So I asked for help. I asked my family. I asked friends, my doctor and started seeing a grief counselor. Today I am taking an anti-depressant. It hasn’t made my sadness go away – I still miss Kyle every day and I still cry – but it has made it more manageable.
I’m still trying to figure my way through this. It’s hard. The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. But I will find my way through. One day I will have peace.
Just not today. Not yet. But tomorrow comes again and then again. And that gives me something to hold onto.