I have been silent for the last two months as my ability to rise above crumbled, not that I was doing much of a job of it in the first place. Unable to even have a conversation without my eyes leaking and a wobble in my voice, I have isolated myself as I have attempted to sort out the pain in my soul. Replaying the past over and over, desperate to overcome the anger, wanting to stop blaming others for my past and, now, my very humble life, knowing that blame is not the answer, still, I could not slaughter the demons in my head and heart. It’s a struggle to look at my life and not see failure. Where is that person who had no animosity, grateful for life? Where is she, who looked forward to new adventures, ready to tackle anything and everything that came her way? What in the world happened?
I invited my dad to come out from Ontario for Christmas so that he would not have to spend it alone. In the past four decades, I have been able to forget about my miserable childhood and felt nothing towards my parents besides a duty to communicate from time to time. I had spent a few days with my dad precisely four times during that period, with him visiting my family once, much of which time he spent reading. It wasn’t until my mom passed away two and a half years ago that I took it upon myself to try to make sure somebody checked up on him. Despite the fact that he refused to allow me to attend my mom’s funeral, though, to be honest, that wasn’t a real hardship as I was not at all close to her, and that he neglected to mention in her obituary that she even had children, I still didn’t really have any issues with him. He was as he had always been to me, very remote and uncaring.
I was blindsided by the eruption of resentment I suddenly felt towards him while he was here for Christmas. What kind of a person was I turning into? Certainly nobody I would want to spend any time with! Where did all of this come from? My God! Is this what I have reduced myself to, a whining, petty, snivelling human? My dad is a brilliant man; well read and well educated. And he certainly made an impression on some of my children. And, you know what? I didn’t like that. He didn’t deserve it, had done nothing to earn it, never made any attempt before to show any interest in them. And his reminiscing about how terrific things were when I was growing up pushed me over the edge. So, on top of struggling with resentment towards Greg for leaving me the way he did, I now had more fuel for that fire.
But, when things go so far south for me, which they have in times past, I war with those two factions within until I can’t fight anymore and I break down. And I have always considered that to be a very healthy event. All the turmoil leaves and I can slowly pick myself up and begin again. It is taking longer this time because I can’t actually fall apart for as long as it takes. I do have to show up at work, which I desperately need in order to pay some of the bills. And I have a time limit on my schooling even though it is all online. I can play hookey, but it’s going to cost me, though the material in my courses is not conducive to having happy thoughts. So, I struggle. But I sense that my cup of self-loathing is overflowing and I’m going to be okay.
And, did I mention that I managed to get rehired at the library? Yes, I’m doing the same thing I was doing when I left Canada to rebuild my life in a country with a cost of living I could manage, when I thought I couldn’t do this for the rest of my life, when I hadn’t spent all of the proceeds from selling my home. Now I am very grateful in being a part of the library again. Perspective is everything.
I attended a screening of “Suicide, The Ripple Effect” a few nights ago in the hope of coming away with answers that may help my family and me. I didn’t. There are no answers. There is nothing that will take away the emotions those who are left behind feel. Like everything in life, it is a battle. We all have our ways in overcoming. Mine has always been in spending time alone. But I do think that once we understand that everyone suffers, that we are not the only ones in the battle, that this battle is not with flesh and blood but is a spiritual battle over our souls, we have a better chance of recovery. There will be scars, we may not soar as high, but our souls will have been washed clean of the stain that anger and resentment leave.
And I also understand how very attractive suicide can appear to those who cannot find peace. The pain is real. The perspective is wrong. Lord knows, it has looked pretty darn good to me at times. And I reflect on how what Greg did put me (and perhaps some of my family members) in such a precarious place as to consider this as an option. Things can look very bleak now and then. The anguish and despair can be overwhelming. The guilt will always remain. But, as persuasive as these may be, all I have to do is think of my children. They may be grown, but they are and have always been my life.
Life happens to all of us, we all fall down in many ways, all the time. Events we could never imagine happen, some of them life-shattering, and we have to find ways to keep going. They cause such turmoil inside our beings, unearthing things buried deep, vile things we never knew were there, things that will take us down if we don’t overcome. Some of us do overcome, some of us mask these things with substances, and some of us lose. But if there is anyone out there considering suicide, please, please, don’t do it. You may not think anyone cares, but you are so wrong. Even if you have nobody close to you, your actions will throw somebody’s life so off-kilter that they, in turn, will have to battle the same demons you are fighting now. Check yourself into a hospital, see a therapist, talk to someone you trust, take time off work, permit yourself to be kind to yourself, forgive yourself, do whatever you have to in order to survive, no matter what that is. Just don’t give up the fight!
And I’m quite sure that I will face the ugliness of myself again. And I will have to duel with the opposing forces within, and so it will go until the day I leave this place. There will be times of joy, but more often, times of pain. And though it is never something a person willingly experiences, well, the average person anyway, it is better than feeling nothing at all.
I have been drowning, unable to breathe, but as I come to accept the things I have no power over, the things I can’t change, as I lay my burdens down I sense a stirring deep within. The tunnel is long, but I do see the light. It is time to live again.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, connect with someone through the LifeLine Canada Foundation. International resources available: (links below)