It Doesn’t Matter How You Get in the Pool . . . Just As Long As You Get In

First, I need to say I am not a mental health therapist, nor am I a psychologist or a psychiatrist. I can only share information through my experiences, the experiences of others, and information I’ve received in training through work. Maybe these little tidbits of information will help someone or at least get someone thinking and start a conversation.

Through our employment we often get opportunities to attend trainings. Most training revolves around interviewing, domestic violence or FASD or other topics related to our employment. As with most public services though, the topic of suicide, and working with people who are having a suicidal crisis has become much more prevalent.

Last year, I was able to attend the Third Annual First Responder Suicide Awareness Conference in Calgary, AB. It was a difficult honour to be able to attend this conference just over a year from Anthony’s passing. People from around the province attend to receive important, practical and useful information about mental health, the affects of working as a first responder( paramedics, fire fighters, police officers, correctional staff, child and protective services, etc) and how to reach out to get help and how to help others.

This year, two of our colleagues attended the fourth annual conference and gave us a debriefing about the main points of the information provided. I can’t speak to who used the analogy as I was not there myself, but our colleagues described one woman’s account of asking someone if they are suicidal and how to respond.

The main point she spoke of was “that it doesn’t matter how you get into the pool, you just need to get in”. Some people do a cannon ball into the cold water to get the uncomfortable over. They get cold, fast quick. Others, progressively and slowly walk down the ladder, waiting to adjust to the water the further in they go. Either way, each person finds their own way into the pool. All that matters is they have gotten in.

This is the same with having the conversation about and asking someone if they are thinking about suicide. Some people take a step by step approach while others take a quick leap and just ask the question ” Are you thinking of suicide?” It doesn’t matter how you do it as long as you do it. It’s going to be an uncomfortable situation and it’s not going to be easy but asking the question could save a life. You’re just going to have to get there, and it doesn’t matter how. All that matters is that you ask.

I would say I’m a ladder person. I’ve had this conversation with my clients, a friend, and of course with my husband. Each time I’ve had the conversation, I’ve used easier questions to gauge the crisis, before I’ve asked about suicidal thoughts, if they have a plan, if they have the means and if they have a time. I’ve asked easier to answer question step by step until I finally got to, “Are you thinking about suicide?”

I find this analogy refreshing, and easy to use because everyone has their own ways of doing things, whether it’s getting into a pool or getting on a bicycle or asking if someone is thinking about hurting themselves. Some take their time, some jump right into the task. Situations like these aren’t easy either way, and there is no wrong way of doing it, AS LONG AS YOU DO IT.

One other point that was discussed by my colleague that was hammered home by the presenters was its ok to pass the person off to another trusted person if you are to close to them to help. When Anthony came home from work one day with his head in his hands saying he couldn’t stop thinking of killing himself I was devastated, hurt, confused and angry that he could even think of taking his life. Then I felt nothing but guilt forever after. I didn’t know then I was to close to him to handle the situation without emotion. We managed that time, but not without some serious tears. I helped him look up the number for a Counsellor, and we got him a doctors appointment. He didn’t have a plan at that time. So referring out worked in the moment. Looking back I would have been better off to call a trusted friend, or family for support. I ended up calling in sick that afternoon and all I could do was cry. This was at the beginning of his illness.

There were several times after that required assessment to see if he was at risk of killing himself. Each time I handled it much better and each time, I got in the pool.

So just remember, it doesn’t matter how you get in the pool, just as long as you get in. You may need support, you may need to take your time, or you may need to cannon ball in; just get in!

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There’s Something About Snow and Coffee Shops

I’m missing the easy days of enjoying a coffee with my husband in winter.

It snowed here yesterday. Green grass is covered by a blanket of white and the yellowing tree leaves are glistening with slivers of frost. The air is crisp and cool enough to chill, but not cold enough to burn your throat. There are clouds of conversations floating between people as they converse.

There is a warm rush that hits me as I enter the Milk, Bread and Honey coffee shop. A smell of fresh baked bread and cookies causes my mouth to water. I don’t plan to get anything as I wait for my colleague to order a freshly baked cheese biscuit.

The place is full and busy with people in common clothes and business attire. Families with small children, friends out for coffee and couples are sitting at the square tables enjoying warm drinks and snacks.

There is a couple sitting in the back corner of the coffee chop. A male, eagerly leaning forward, smiling as he faces the female across from him. She is fidgety; nervous maybe. They laugh together as she plays with her long dark brown hair and he shifts his body in his seat. They look like a newer couple, comfortable enough; yet still excited and nervous. Just falling in love. At least that’s the story I tell myself.

There is something about the colder weather and coffee shops that bring me back to the early days when I first started dating Anthony. Seeing that couple made me both nostalgic and wishful. Nostalgic for the days of our youth together, the days of simple, intentional but innocent flirting. Cold evenings downtown sitting in Esquires drinking specialty coffees while we watch street goers hop on or off busses, window shop or just walk by. Wishful that I may again have that one day. Someone to enjoy a coffee with while we nervously exchange conversation and hide our excitement about just being in each others presence.

We leave the coffee shop and my stomach flutters with that familiar feeling of grief. I still can’t believe he’s gone.

It’s been 2 years, 4 months and 23 days since he’s been gone. Since his illness convinced him it was best he no longer existed.

I haven’t written in a while. I’m really trying to live. I’ve succeeded in some aspects and I’ve failed in others. I keep learning. All that matters truly is the kids and I are moving forward and through. We’ve survived another anniversary, a birthday and are heading steadfast into another Christmas without him here. It’s hard, it’s messy, but we are doing it.

Bipolar wasn’t present in our days of coffee shops in winter. Or at least not that I can specifically recall. He was happy; I was too. We were both blissfully falling in love with each other and blissfully unaware this disorder would tear us apart years later.

The affects of the loss of someone you love by suicide are forever lasting. I’ve come to terms with this … I think. I’ll never truly know what he was thinking or how he was feeling when he made the choice he did. What I do know is the hole he left is with me daily, I’m just learning how to rebuild my life around it. I know there are family relationships that were torn apart by the disorder, people I’ve forgiven but know I will never be able to let back into my life. I know my children are forever affected and miss their father daily. I know those days in the coffee shops with him are missed desperately. I’d give anything to have one more evening to sit with him on a snowy day wrapped in the comfort of the warmth, and the smell of baking and coffee. I’d give anything.

When we left Bread and Honey today, I looked around the corner and caught a glimpse of the Esquires we frequented. Only, it’s empty. It’s doors closed, it’s insides dark, and the dark wooden tables that were scattered on the checkered floor are no longer there. Grief. It’s closed forever. It’s no longer there and the nostalgia I feel is stronger than before.

Ironic I think to myself as we walk away from the city centre, my favourite coffee shop is gone and so is my favourite person. Yet here I am continually moving forward and away from those days and continually making small efforts in keeping my promise to him.

As much pain as I feel still, I am mostly ok with being alone. I’ve gone for a drink alone, I’ve gone to the movies alone, in spring, I even went to a concert alone and sung one of our favourite songs alone at the top of my lungs. My life is forever changed by him, by bipolar and by suicide and at the same time I’m growing, changing and building my life and confidence. It’s a glass half full, and half empty. It’s my reality.

As I head back up the stairs to where I make my livelihood, I promise myself I’ll buy a coffee at the Milk, Bread and Honey on the next snow day…. I’ll sit alone and bask in the atmosphere that is unique in a coffee shop when snow is covering the ground… maybe I’ll even sit and watch the street goers.

The Cabinet

Last year and this year these two weeks are always the hardest on me. Yesterday, with my parents, brother, and daughter, I celebrated our son’s 20th birthday. Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. And the 16th will be the second year anniversary of Anthony’s suicide.

I can’t believe it’s been two years… and yet I can. It’s hard to wrap your mind around how something g can go so slow and so fast at the same time. This seems especially true for grief.

This last week I’ve come so close to having meltdowns in front of co-workers, in Walmart(which is a common place for me to cry) and in front of family. I’ve managed to keep it together this far as I’m far too busy to cry right now. I know for sure on Wednesday I won’t be able to hide it, but that’s ok too. I’ve learned that wherever I am emotionally, is where I’m at.

Today, my dad and I were in Walmart as he wanted to by me a good set of pliers. We were in the tool section and all the tools damn near brought me to my knees. Especially the yellow tape measure.

My husband was a carpenter by trade. He loved working with his hands and was good at math. I could literally see him working on a project in our old shed, with that yellow tape measure attached to his beige cargo pants. His forehead dancing with sweat, while his eyes fixed on the project at hand.

I miss the smell of his cologne and his sweat mixed together with the smell of wood. The way his hands moved as he explained and then drew what his plans were for his next project. I miss him so damn much. He was so proud to show me his plans. I envied his ability to visualize something, and then draw it on paper, eventually creating something beautiful and amazing.

My favourite project was the multi purpose hutch he built during his third year as an apprentice. He carved 2×2 inch squares on the drawers, and the cabinet doors. He drilled holes centre of each and found square wooden knobs to fit in each one making the cabinet look entirely made of tiny drawers.

I helped him sand the ruff edges of the unit prior to his bringing it to Brahman Furniture. I worked there for two years sanding wood and my wonderful supervisor at the time allowed us to put it on the line to be spray stained.

It was a deep brown and the finish gave it the perfect amount of shine. He sanded and sprayed the knobs. It was the perfect addition to our little town home. It matched our brown and beige sued and leather couch set perfectly. I loved the work and craftsmanship he put into it. We filled its large centre with photo albums, trinkets for our lizards and the side drawers he had measured to fit dvd’s perfectly.

After his last manic episode he sold the cabinet prior to losing our home. I often wonder if it was hard for him to give up.

Either way it’s all gone now. The house, the cabinet, the tools, the smell of wood, sweat and cologne……. him.

I still grieve him prior to his passing. Many of his projects never finished or even started because bipolar disorder wouldn’t have it. It took so much from us, from him. I often wonder if bipolar hadn’t taken seed in his once focused mind, how many projects like that cabinet he could have finished.

I’m hoping in this transition I will rebuild as strong and as beautiful as that cabinet was built.

I miss you Peter. More than you’ll ever know.

What I’m Learning in My Healing

It’s been almost 21 months since my life was turned upside down again.As I write this, it is exactly been 21 months, 13 days, and four minutes since I got the call that made me drop to the floor screaming no at the top of my lungs.

I try not to look back too often. I try to keep moving forward towards my goals, helping my children achieve their own goals and bathe in the joy they bring me with each milestone.

I try to bring my focus on the now, so I can be present in my day to day and take care of what needs to be taken care of now and work toward keeping my promise to my husband.

Every once in a while though, I still find myself thinking about the past. Well more like living in it. Every morning I think of Anthony, but the moments I “relive” aren’t as often.

It can be something that reminds me of him and our life together, or sometimes my mind drifts to the chaos of post bipolar diagnosis without any trigger.

My good friend from work and I were talking about her pregnancy and upcoming wedding. I have come to a place in my healing where I can talk about Anthony openly without crying or tearing up. So, in conversations about significant others I openly refer back to our happy, imperfect and mundane experiences as husband and wife.

She was talking about her fiancé’s over zealous excitement for their upcoming wedding and his persuading her to attend a wedding show this past weekend. She talked about her feeling out of place; hair disheveled, no make-up and feeling physically uncomfortable due to her pregnancy. I want to shake her because she is one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met, inside and out, and her pregnancy only illuminates her beauty.

“It’s not that I’m not excited to be engaged, it’s just right now, the wedding is the furthest thing from my mind! All I can think of is this little person inside of me. I just wanted to run out of that place! I’m so glad he’s excited and wants to plan, I’m just not in the same place right now.”

I smile. I’m so happy for her and the new stages she is entering in her life. Genuinely happy for her. Which, makes me smile even more because I don’t have to fake it. The grief doesn’t steal those genuine moments from me very often anymore.

I tell her about Anthony’s excitement. I tell her about my asking him to narrow down venues while I plan wedding lists. I tell her about our making our own wedding favours together. We were a team and we worked together to create the most perfect day symbolic of our own personalities and relationship.

Suddenly I’m thrown into the past as we drive by the Galt Gardens he frequented in his psychotic manic state.

The mania changed everything about him; The way he dressed, the colour of his eyes, the way he smoked a cigarette and drank his coffee, even the way he walked. It was like he had morphed into some unknown being.

I see him walking in a black dress coat that was too small for him. His eyes fixed on the sidewalk in front of him and his backed hunched slightly forward. His fists are clenched and his face looks distorted. It’s 11 at night and he’s walking towards the park with an unknown purpose.

I remember that moment like it was yesterday. I remember it so clearly because it was right before he was hospitalized on the mental health warrant his sister and I went to court for. I remember praying the police would drive by and pick him up and he’d finally be stabilized. He’d be my husband again. He’d be a father again. He’d be the person all of us needed, loved and missed.

Unfortunately my hopes were in vain. He was picked up that night, but he was released 72 hours later, with a prescription for anti-psychotics he was intent on not using. The weekend after, he and his homeless friends moved into our home while the kids and I were visiting family for thanksgiving.

Breathe. Just breathe for a moment and you’ll be back in the present.

Suddenly I default to insecurity and doubt. “Do you think if I would’ve left first, or if I had said enough when he got his medical marijuana card, he’d still be here?”

My friend shot a quick look my way with empathy in her eyes and quickly put her attention back on driving.

“No. No I don’t. I don’t think anything could have been done. He was sick. That’s all there is to it.”

I have managed to analyze every moment of our life together placing blame on myself and occasionally others for the choice made that day. I have managed to accept responsibility for things I’ve had no control over. I’ve even gone as far to dismiss the wonderful good in our marriage. Which I know, is so, so wrong and so, so, soooo damaging to my healing. But I also recognize this as part of my process to moving forward.

I’ve learned a lot about myself, being a survivor of suicide. Somethings are repetitive, and I’m sure you’ve read on other sites, but here is what I want to share in what I’ve found to be most important and most prominent in the process of my healing and in keeping my promise to Anthony;

1. This is not your or my fault

This has been the hardest part for me to accept. This was not my fault. I have to say it often, and try my damnedest to believe in this. I’m at a point where most of the time I do.

I had no control over what was going on in his mind. What he believed about himself and his perception of his circumstances had nothing to do with me. If I had any ounce of influence in his decisions he’d be hospitalized, treated, and stable. He’d be home, healthy and loved.

People fight. People make mistakes. I’ve made many mistakes in my life and in my marriage. If I was not blaming myself for faults in our marriage, I was shutting down, not talking and lying about my feelings. But this isn’t what caused his death. My finally throwing my hands up with the creditors and giving them his number was not what caused this. None of my actions were done out of maliciousness; these decisions were made out of compassion for both him, me and our children. My best friend and her husband argue too; neither of them have died by suicide.

What I’ve learned here is no matter how connected we all are, no matter what was said or done before the act, we are all imperfect human beings who have no control over any other human beings actions. By taking responsibility for his choice, I would only be damaging myself, and denying Anthony’s beautiful and tragic story.

I’d be minimizing his experience and what it means to be human. I’d be denying the suffering he endured and the torment bipolar caused him throughout his life. I wouldn’t be acknowledging the incredible battle Anthony made for himself and for us.

2. Don’t Accept Blame

The biggest mistake I made was blaming myself(I still find myself, on rare occasion analyzing and blaming myself, but I don’t accept that internal dialogue as truth anymore) and accepting blame from others.

The only good it did was well…. nothing. He was still dead. He was still ill before he died. I became physically and mentally unwell by accepting blame from myself and from certain people. It affected my work, my parenting and my ability to move forward. I was hypersensitive to any comment or look. In part because I was accepting blame my internal voice was placing on me and in part because I was accepting blame others put on me.

Here’s the thing; as noted before, I had no control. I now believe the fingers of those who pointed in my direction were in fact projecting their own feelings of guilt onto me. Instead of taking a step back and seeing the bigger picture, I honed in on their words as truth and accepted them as truth. In reality they were also hurting desperately and failing to cope with their own emotions and in turn using me as a scape goat.

If you are the brunt of blame and abuse, from yourself or others, let yourself be a wall. Imagine the words being slung at you hitting your brick structure and falling to the floor. Be curious but don’t take things literally and personally. Let the words go. See the bigger picture and know you did all you could do given the situation you were in.

3. Boundaries – Set Boundaries – Ask For What You Need

As ridiculous as this sounds, boundary setting is a new concept to me and has not come easily. Hence my once healthy marriage turned codependent.

Boundaries are important for healthy relationships. They keep us safe and define us from others. EVEN IN Marriage! The saying when two become one, has been taken too literal. We are all separate individuals (with different goals, opinions, beliefs etc) who choose to share our lives with another separate individual who may share some commonalities, but who also has their own ideas and way of thinking.

When grieving, setting boundaries is especially important. People with good intentions may come across as hurtful, and malicious hurt people may try to hurt you to make themselves feel better. You need to determine what you can and cannot accept in your time of grieving and healing.

If someone is hurting you, let them know it’s not ok and ask them to correct the behaviour. If they refuse or are not capable of change let them go. That’s their issue. If they are calling too much tell them you appreciate the calls but need some space right now. If they aren’t calling enough, if you need someone to just sit with you, or you need to be alone. Tell them. Set boundaries or ask for what you need.

Grief is the most vulnerable, exposed, and painful experience I’ve ever had and in order to survive and start moving through the pain, I had to let people go completely. Occasionally this was done in anger, and occasionally it was done with love. But these relationships had to go because I had to take care of myself first so I could take care of my children. This doesn’t make me a bad person. It makes me a healthy person .

4. Don’t go it alone.

Grieving on its own is exhausting. Especially in the early stages. Grieving a death by Suicide is a special kind of hell.

You’re gonna need people. One who you can call to when you can’t sleep. One who can just listen to you cry. One who will tell you to get up when you’ve locked yourself in your house for days on end crying. I was lucky. I had a support group that was there for me in my darkest hours of grief. They still listen almost two years in.

Get grief counselling. Have a professional help you process the loss and information you can’t on your own. If you found the body. If you can’t sleep. If you can’t eat. Get professional help. I did. I believe in many ways it saved my sanity – possibly my life.

Find other resources. If you find yourself alone or immobile for any reason, join a support group online. Your friends will help lift you, but the people in these groups will understand the devastation, confusion, anger and guilt. They will help you to realize you are not alone. I joined a suicide survivor group where I live, but childcare was an issue; so I joined two support groups on Facebook. Many of these people have become more like friends. Plus, they get it when I need to be got. I know my friends and family love me, but sometimes I just need to hear “I was there” or “me too”.

5. You ARE stronger than you think

I think this speaks for itself – Trust me. I never thought the pain would let up. I never thought I’d laugh again or feel joy. I never thought I’d get off the couch. I did. You can and will. Give it time. My best friend and one of my greatest supports kept telling me “this too shall pass”. It won’t always feel this bad. I don’t know that it will ever go away, but you’ll be ok. You ARE STRONG. Even way you don’t feel it . . .

6. It’s Your Grief

Need to get a little tipsy? Do it. Need to spend a day in your bed eating chocolate chips and melted peanut butter? Do it. Need to have sex with complete strangers(with protection of course and safety)? Do it. Need to write? Do it. Need to dance your underwear? Do it!!! Please. I highly recommend it!

Own that shit. If someone doesn’t agree with how your grieving, f em. They haven’t been where you are. They are not you. Do what you need on your time.

I’m not advocating for becoming an alcoholic, or a drug addict or an exhibitionist (at least not intentionally – close the blinds while you dance in your unders – lesson learned). Simply what I am saying is that if someone is judging your staying in bed all day or feels you’re too happy to soon or grieving too long tell them it’s none of their business to judge. They can support but judgement is not needed now.

Write. Run. Cry. Dance. Stay in your pyjamas. And own your grief. You will have to get out of bed eventually, because you are alive, in the land of the living, people need you, BUT you need to grieve your way.

I realize this post is extremely long. I really want to drive home no matter how low you are right now, it can and will get better. You will get off the couch. You will laugh. You will also have moments like I did in the car with my friend. You will have forward steps…. and backward steps.

You will learn from this experience and you will still miss your loved one.

Um, Exuse me… When does this ache stop and where the hell are the milk duds?!

Walmart. 

The place of late night grocery shopping. The place of sweat pants, messy buns, stained shirts and last minute school supply shoppers. At least, last night anyway, that was me. 

It’s also the place I seem to find myself breaking down …. a lot. 

In Walmart. Again. Awesome. 

I forgot to order my daughter’s school supplies from staples at the end of the school year. Something I regret not doing and something I will never forget to do again. 

Though most of her supples had been gathered hectically the week before at Staples, the crowd was insane, and I felt overwhelmed. I left without the Ficsar scissors and the USB saver thingy(I can never remember the names of these things.. Anthony would be laughing right now) to avoid the elbow bumping, cart smashing, and losing of the child in aisles. 

So, there I was, searching for the thingy and the scissors while gathering some lunch snacks in the grocery section. All of a sudden, it’s as though I’ve been plucked from my present and thrown back in time. I’m unsure of what the trigger was; a smell, a sight, Walmart itself  or the first day of school, but I was having a flashback of my sweet husband on one of our evening shopping trips. 

 No specifics really. Just him running up behind me and smacking my behind like he used to. It infuriated me when he pulled stunts like that in public, at home though, I openly loved his playfulness and flirting.  And, maybe secretly, it really didn’t bother me when we were out and about, but I worried others would see it as inappropriate. 

It felt so real. I could see him.  I swear I felt his swift, large hand smack me and I even laughed for a second. When I realized I was standing alone in the aisle I gasped sharply, and then, my stomach turned. What the hell? Why this? Why now?  And then came the tears. 

Awesome.

I need milk duds. NOW. 

I held back the tears as best I could, anxiously running my hand through my already “crazy lady” dishevelled hair. Milk duds. Where are they? I need to calm myself down and I need the milk duds to do this. 

As inconspicuously as I could I wipe the tears from my face, and continue on filling my cart with the last few items on my list. A well meaning Walmart employee caught my eyes and began to approach me. 

I could imagine the conversation ” Excuse me mam, is there something I can help you with” 

Me: nope. 

Employee: Are you sure? 

Me: Unless you can tell me when this ache stops and where the hell the milk duds are, nope. You cannot help me. Unless you can bring back my husband or at least help me with the jobs he took care of like getting the library card every year, then nope. You cannot help me. Unless you have a bag of milk duds and a bottle of Vodka, nope. You cannot help me. I cannot help me right now. 

The conversation never happened because I ran down the aisle before she could approach. 

They’re probably in the bulk section. 

A stood in front of the orange bulk crates staring at the milk duds. They don’t look that good. I slipped my hand in the bucket and quickly threw one in my mouth… and they certainly didn’t taste that good either. Damn it! I took one last plunge into the chocolate macaroon bin, and decided they weren’t really what I wanted either but they would do the trick. 

Pay. Leave. Eat. Cry. 

About 7 minutes later I found myself in my car in the baron Walmart parking lot full on ugly crying filling my face with chocolate macaroons. 

I miss him. Peter, I miss you. She misses you. Our son misses you. 

Sometimes I feel like if I scream his name over and over again, he might just come back. I want to be back in that moment where I felt him, where he was inappropriately flirting with me in public. I want that moment back so I can feel him again. 

But I can’t go back. I can only move forward, and my daughter needs her things for school tomorrow. 

The next day I get up, we get ready for school and life moves forward. 

It’s been a year since my Firsts post. What I’ve realized and am having difficulty accepting is, this was the second  first day of school without him. Our second anniversary, his second birthday… then there will be thirds, and fourths….. they won’t stop because he is always going to be gone. 

Thank you second year of grief. 

Thank you Bipolar Disorder. 

We’ll just have to keep moving on and through. It just kinda sucks. 

He loved milk duds. 





I Know What Day it Is Tomorrow. I Just Don’t Want It To Get Here. 

I haven’t posted in a while. 

He’s been gone from this world for 15 months, 10 Days, 8 hours…

My goal this summer has been to enjoy the hot sun, gorgeous weather and all the activity that comes with summer. This meant putting a hold on posts, and focusing on the moment and planning for our next adventure. 

We’ve been hiking, swimming, travelling and visiting with friends and family. We’ve plopped ourselves on beaches and experienced the feeling of freedom on a boat. We’ve held baby kangaroos and picked cherries from an orchard. We’ve slept in, stayed up late, played board games, read books and had naps. It’s been a fantastic summer. 

The little one riding the front of the boat; Freedom
 

We’re three months into the second year without Anthony. So much healing has been done, yet so many new wounds have been discovered or have been re-opened. 

I was foolish in thinking the second year would be so much better. I thought somehow magically, after all I’ve read about grief in the first year, that the second year would bring peace, clarity and ongoing joy. 

The grief has only changed.

Nothing is better. I mean, atleast not in the way I thought it would be better. Maybe my expectations were unrealistic  (wouldn’t be a first!) or Maybe I’m just broken. Maybe I was so focused on surviving the first year, the guilt from choosing to live in the second year is weighing me down. Maybe, there really isn’t an answer and I think too much. 

I thought anniversaries would be easier to cope with too. Yet I sit here in my basement praying for time to stop so I won’t have to face tomorrow. 

I know what day it is tomorrow. I just don’t want it to get here. 

Our Wedding Day August 27, 2005

Tomorrow, 12 years ago, we committed to building our lives together. We stood in front of a JP at Gyro Park and read our own vows. My son became our son as he nervously held the rings tied to the little teddy bear that was wrapped tightly in his 7 year old arms. 

Tomorrow is our wedding anniversary. Tomorrow is gonna suck. The days this week, that paved the way for tomorrow to get here, have left me exhausted, weepy and lonely…. I couldn’t figure out why until last night when I looked at the date. 

I still wake up wishing someone would wake me up from this nightmare. 

I want to go back to the days I’d wake up to the smell of coffee while Norah Jones played from our CD player. His bright green eyes smiling at me while he ran his fingers through my hair. I want to go back and feel the way it felt to look at him and ignorantly know, THIS is the man I’m going to spend the rest of my life with. I want that ignorance back. 

Instead I get to wake up tomorrow remembering how Bipolar made him delusional, psychotic and unpredictable. I get to remember him leaving me and the kids so he could be homeless instead. I get to wake up remembering that we can’t celebrate our 12 year wedding anniversary because he hung himself in his dad’s barn leaving us to remember that image instead. 

I can’t avoid tomorrow. So I’ll try to make a point of remembering the man I married that day. I will try to celebrate the good years, and the life I did get to share with him … if only temporarily. 

What will happen….

It’s just me now. 

Just me.

What the hell was he thinking when he took his life? 

I’m going to need a moment to get angry. 

What went through his head when he decided to end his time here on earth? No more daddy, no more husband, brother, nephew and son. He just walked off the stage and left all his roles with cliffhangers that would continue to be just that. . . Cliffhangers. No goodbye, no final hugs, no bow to his beloved audience to acknowledge the show was done. No warning.

No apology to his children for walking of stage to soon. He left them with me. Just me. 

What was he thinking? 

Don’t get me wrong.  My support system is big, and strong and wonderful. The family and friends I have in my life are a blessing and have lifted me many times this past year. They are there to help me and our children through this, and they are the reason I have survived this trauma.

But at the end of the day, it’s just me.   Their mom.

The worst part? I am human. I could die. Today. Tomorrow. Three years from now. I am fragile.  

What would happen then? What would happen to the kids? How would they do without me? 

I sit on the couch after school/work someways; after I’ve picked our daughter up at the bus stop, walked home, done dishes( no dish washer in the rental) swept mopped and made dinner, and just watch them. Our daughter sitting at the kitchen table watching utube videos on how to draw before she gets ready for soccer practice and our son standing at the counter listening to the Ricky Gervais show while he gets ready for his evening out with friends. 

Do they know how fragile I am? 

It makes me panick. I used to be afraid of death. So much so I would avoid living. Now, I’m not afraid of death so much as leaving them behind when they are not ready. Or them leaving me. 

It makes my heart hurt and I have difficulty catching my breath. Am I totally fucking them up? Am I enough? Am I doing a good job at this parenting alone? What will happen to them if I’m not? 

I do what I can to take care of myself so I can be there for them. I’m eating healthier(oh how I miss chocolate chips), going to the gym a minimum of four days a week, blogging, and am in counselling. I do not drink alcohol often, and I do not use drugs. I take my anti-anxiety meds every night. 

What will happen if this is not enough? I know I don’t sleep enough and I certainly smoke way too much. I’m cutting back on caffeine to help with the sleep issue. But what if these changes aren’t enough? 

I’m scared. I feel lonely. He left me alone. And I don’t know what is going to happen. 

I have no control over any of the outcomes. I choose my attitude as best I can so the children will learn resilience but is that enough? 

I’m so angry at Bipolar right now. Fuck Bipolar. What will happen to my children if Something were to happen to me? Thanks a lot asshat Bipolar. Thanks for leaving me alone.  

I know I don’t have control over my future. I know all I can do is let go and give it to god. It’s not an easy task, especially after trauma. Especially after your husband dies. By Suicide. 

I once again have to remind myself to breathe and trust no matter what, those two of my babies will be ok. We will be ok. And just keep moving forward through the fear and know that even through our past experience and though We cant predict what will happen tomorrow we will be ok. There is no other option.