I was reading an article about fictional characters that have aided people with depression, and Alaska resonated with me. This morning, whilst guiltily enjoying a McDonald’s breakfast, I downloaded Looking For Alaska by John Green to my Kindle. This afternoon, I finished it, having had difficulty putting it down to go about my day in between.
The story is so very different from ours, yet I could draw so many parallels and felt that the characters were empathising with me, rather than the other way around. What they went through, their thought processes; it all helped me start to sort through the past couple of month’s events in my head, and take a step or two towards coming to terms with your decision.
No one is ever going to know, exactly, what was going through your head. Whether you had been planning it for weeks, as I suspect, or whether at some point in your last 24 hours, you decided that it was the only thing you could possibly do. Without a drop of arrogance, I am fairly sure that I have the most accurate understanding, all down to the secrets and thoughts you entrusted me with over the last year of your life, and the conversations we had in the last 48 hours. I am honoured to be that person. But I need to remember that not knowing every detail doesn’t stop me from loving you, and caring. Its is OK to not know. I just wish I could have done more to help you understand that your thinking was entirely unnatural, incorrect and not the right thing to do. I still compose messages and conversations that I feel could have helped. It is totally pointless and it makes me feel terrible that I didn’t think of them at the time. I am now in a strong enough state that I try and stop myself when my mind hits that track, and the guilt at doing so doesn’t tear me apart as once it did.
I think that you purposely confessed to your wife in order to tip you over the edge, hit DEFCON 1 and be able to step out in front of the train. You knew what her reaction would be; knew it would redefine what rock bottom actually is for you. And so I must stop the small pangs of anger at the response she gave, as predicted, that helped you along the path. After all, as you once said, “she has done no wrong”. I am the other woman. I still blame myself, but I must start to believe that ultimately, the only person who caused you to kill yourself is you, and whilst that wasn’t an OK thing to do, it happened, and it just ‘is’. I already kind of knew that I need to believe this before, but now I KNOW it. I dare say it will take me a long time to get there, but I know I must do that.
I still have suicidal feelings. Not the urge to do it, I hasten to add. More the feeling that it is probably the way I will die, at some point in the future, whether that be in 10, 20, 50 years time. But I think I can live with these feelings for now, and channel them slightly differently. Rather than having the need or desire to kill myself, I am at peace with the inevitability that is: one day, I will die. I accept that it will happen, and it doesn’t scare me. I hope that this will be the way out of the labyrinth for me: that by accepting and coming to terms with what is every living being’s ultimate fear, I am no longer suffering. I have escaped the labyrinth not by coming to its end, but dissolving the the walls that make up the passages around me. Removed it, rather than being released by it. I hope that taking ownership like this will help me start to take control of my depression, take back my life, and live again.
If only I could turn back the clock to help you take control of your labyrinth. But maybe the train was the only way you could have done it. I’ll add this to the list of questions I have to ask you when I see you in utopia once again. By the way, I hope you’re looking after the place, ready for when we are reunited.