What Should Have Been: Higher Education

I’m worn out after a full on day at work, but I’m excited, as always, to come home to you. I’m hit with the delicious smell of garlic as I open the door, and I dump my stuff in the hall, kick my shoes off and go straight to the kitchen, where I find a glass of Malbec waiting for me, and you in front of the hob.

I slide my arms around your waist and hug you from behind as you stir fry up something amazing. You turn and put an arm around me, lean down and kiss me, all whilst still stir frying. It’s been a whole day,  I’ve missed you.

We exchange pleasantries about our days, then you instruct me to have some wine and get ready for dinner. I disappear off and come back in your underwear and t shirt, ignoring your feigned disapproval, as I know you love me wearing your clothes.

Dinner is delicious as always and I remind myself again how lucky I am to have such a wonderful man to cook so well and happily listen to my offloading about the various characters at work as we eat. Once done, we retire to the lounge and you shyly hand me your essay to proof read. I cosy up on the sofa with my feet on your lap and read through. You put the TV on and get to work on my feet, rubbing out the aches of the day.

You’re not really watching the TV as you’re too nervous about me reading your work, feeling inferior because I did my degree at the usual age, rather than travelling like you did and later feeling like you had underachieved. Your essay is good; just the odd typo and I suggest swapping the order of some sections.  I leave it for you to have another look at tomorrow.

You’ll never understand how much pleasure I get seeing you grow and feel like you’re making something of yourself. I know you feel like you need to repay me for supporting us while you study for your degree, but you do every day when I see your self esteem blossom. You regularly promise to use the fruits of your studies to make us rich, but that’s not what I want. I want us to be happy, and if that means we eat beans on toast for the rest of our lives, so be it.

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PS I Love You

Oh, SM, I’m in tears. Tears of happiness, love,  sadness and overwhelming loss.

I’ve just found the note you left in my work notebook. Must have been last June, before I went on maternity leave but when we were together. A huge shock, this message beyond the grave, but a bittersweet one.

I’m so glad I didn’t find it at work! It’s now safely stored with your letter, a stone I picked up and kept as a talisman, and the bottle of water you left behind after your last night here, on Earth. I’ll treasure it forever.

Just Checking In

Hey, SM. Been talking about you at lunch. I know you hate that, but it’s tough now. Get over it ūüėČ

Anyway, it felt good to talk about us: how we’d meet at lunch, play footsie under the table in meetings or meet briefly in the car park when you needed reassurance or support. It lead to talking about your last weekend though, and whilst it was good to be able to speak about it without breaking down, now I’m on a low and can’t stop thinking about you. All the what ifs: what if I’d said something else, done something else, saved you somehow. It’s pointless, it’s not going to change anything, but I can’t help it.

I’ve learnt in CBT to allow myself these feelings, acknowledge them, feel them and not think less of myself for doing so. But I still don’t like it.

So I thought I’d just say hi, that I love you and miss you, and I hope you’re at peace.

#yours, SM x

Back To The Grind

So here I am, first day back at work. In true style, my return was forgotten and I have nothing to do. You’d laugh and shake your head at this typical sort of shit.

It’s so weird though. Yes, a different office, but it feels so empty without you. No one else seems to feel it and everyone is either unaware or tactful enough not to mention you. But when I came in last week (that visit also forgotten about) I kept making notes of stuff to discuss with you. Stuff like who made the decision to allow the Head of Client Relations and Sales Director to share an office, wonky graphics on the wall, that sort of thing.

I used to love my job. Not just the hours flirting with you, but I genuinely loved my role. Now I feel that everyone has moved on, left me behind, and don’t really care. I’m not sure if that’s my mental state feeding me crap, all the scandal that has gone down, or the actual truth. My plan was to get back into the daily grind, sort out the financial side of things at home, and then find something new. Completely move on. But I don’t know if I can do this. I don’t want this life any more, that’s what it comes down to.

I know this is ‘just’ depression talking, that I am more than capable of my job, and much more.  But life just feels ‘meh’  now, grey, dull, disinteresting. If I can’t be in Utopia yet, I’d rather be hidden in the corner of McDonald’s, reading my kindle and eating a hash brown.

It was the anniversary of losing Tali yesterday.  The start of my truly, indescribably, awful year. I’d give anything to rewind, make different choices. Save you. Save me. Save everyone who felt the pain of losing you. I’m so, so sorry.

Our Fragile Mortality

I wrote instructions for my funeral today.

I don’t plan on it being soon. But one thing your death has pointed out to me is that if you don’t leave behind instructions, ideas or preferences, your bereaved have to work out what they might be, all whilst dealing with their grief. So I put pen to paper, after thinking about doing so for weeks. I feel relieved and peaceful.

I had to put Maroon 5 down, sorry. But one of our songs is in there (Snow Patrol). You’re such a huge part of my life that I need that acknowledged, and this is nice and subtle. You’d be squirming now, and not really believing it to be true. You occupy my thoughts constantly still, SM. Get used to it.

I’ve decided on my memorial to you. Watch this space x

Hmmmm

I’ve been keeping on keeping on. And slowly, I’ve started to move closer to feeling a bit more like normal me again. When I realise that, I’m pleased. And then I feel awful. You are dead and I’ve ruined so many lives. I shouldn’t be allowed to feel OK again.

Eventually I go full circle. It’s something I’m trying to work out in counselling: the acceptance of healing. After all, as I analyse in some of my more bitter moments, you came into my life, found out I wasn’t happy, leant on me, pushed me to cross the line, and then abruptly left, abandoning me. I’m not saying it wasn’t consensual, but I do feel you’ve shirked a lot of responsibility by killing yourself and leaving me fumbling about, trying to pick up the pieces. It wasn’t *all* me. So I should be allowed to heal, right?

I guess I need to come to terms with the fact that, as well as it being OK to not be OK, it is OK to be OK.

36 Today

Do you remember what we did for my birthday?

You stayed over, for the first time ever. We shared a bottle of Malbec that you had bought for the occasion. Sheepishly, you explained it was your favourite and therefore a selfish choice, but I loved the fact you were sharing something close to you.  We fell asleep together and woke up together. It was so special.

So tonight, I have a bottle of Malbec here for you and some Haribo,  that you were always eating at work. I’ll fall asleep alone and wake up alone though.

Happy birthday, SM. Always in my heart. Miss you forever xx

Alaska: My Turning Point?

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.