Victim services, and police showed up at my house about 15 minutes after my best friend did. Between sobbing, and figuring out what had to be done next, I would fill with anger. Anger because I was told the love of my life, the father of my children had died, while I was alone in the kitchen making chicken. Anger because the system had once again failed, me, my husband, my children. Anger at myself at the time because I believed this was partially my doing. Anger at mental illness for being such a dick.
Pauline, my best friend, packed up my daughter to go out for dinner. I had decided due to the age difference, it would be best to tell my children separately. My oldest had just turned 18 five days prior. Fuck. Really? At that moment I though what a time to abandon your child. Not a week after his birthday, and a month before his graduation. I wasn’t sure how my boy would react. In fact, I was scared. My son had been witness to many of his dad’s behaviours while ill. He was scared of the illness at times, and had been struggling from what I thought was his own severe depression. He and his dad used to have long conversations, shared opinions about things that I knew nothing about. I didn’t want to tell my child, that the one man that took him in as his own after my sons own father abandoned him, had made a choice to leave us as well.
I waited anxiously for my son to come home from work after I called to have him sent home. The woman from victim services kept touching my hand. At the time, I kept thinking, who are you and why are you touching me. Don’t touch me. My whole body hurt, and I sat on the couch with my knees pulled up to my chin, my head resting on against my knees. This can’t be real.
“Don’t forget to take out the chicken” the officer said. Fuck the stupid chicken.
With the officer and victim services there for support, I somehow managed to tell our boy that his father was gone. I knew it would be like him to take full responsibility for his dad’s death, and as I had anticipated he did. Immediately he said ” I did this. This is my fault. Look what I did mom” and he pulled out his cell phone referring to a message he had sent his father out of anger three days earlier. The officer took his phone, read the message and told my son he’d done nothing wrong. That to any other father, that message would have given them motivation to change. To move forward and do what was right. Tears ran down my sons face, “I did this”.
I prepared my son for his sisters arrival home, and asked That he be there while I tell her. He held me, while I held my beautiful blond blue eyed daughter in my arms while I explained to her that her father died, I tried to soften the blow. I tried to let her down gently but her cry and sobs that followed spoke to her deep pain in that moment. I felt like like a failure. I fe like I failed my husband. My son. My daughter. My family and his. I felt like a complete and utter failure.
We cried together for a while me and my children and then the default coping mechanisms kicked in. My son needed to go out and skate board to process and release, my daughter asked if she could be alone and watch tv. I insisted on laying with her and cuddling but she said it was to much. So I went out for a smoke and called another girlfriend.
My parents arrived, and the hours that followed are a blur. We all continued to cry, and hug. Everyone tried to comfort me but I just wanted to die. I wanted to take my kids and run, or find a way for all of us to be together again. I sat on the couch speechless and broken when suddenly I began to vomit again.
That night my daughter slept in my bed. I tried to control the sobs. When I fell asleep it was three in the morning; the nightmares I had the during the four hours I did sleep for made me wish I hadn’t slept at all. No matter what I did, sleep no sleep – My life had begun to feel like one big nightmare.
That day, changed me forever. That day changed my family forever.