Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Back Again

Trip from hell in some ways. I found a job, saw some of my friends and saw some of my family in the area. That is all to the good, but lots of pain too. I also fell ill which really, really sucked and kept me from seeing two of my granddaughters.

I think I have to stop taking long car trips. I am so used to Cyndie next to me on a trip of that length. We traded driving, lit cigarettes for each other, opened snacks and sodas and listened to music and played "chain letter" on a thousand topics. Amazing the things that end up being hard to take. On that note, I have only been back to the beach once since she died and I keep putting off going there. Maybe tomorrow.

I went to the beach once near mid-April this year. I made a promise to scatter her ashes in Spring at the beach - she loved the beach. I went out early, sat for a while, then opened the package of ashes, walked into the surf and let her ashes go - into the water not the wind. I also wired our two wedding rings to a lock, for weight, and tossed that as far out as I could. The inscriptions read, "Always and forever", guess that was wrong. The water is pretty cold that time of year, but it felt good. I sat back down in the sun for a bit and then went home. The mark on my ring finger still has not faded.

In mid November 07, at her viewing, while looking at the empty husk that had been my life for twelve years, I promised her and the kids that I would scatter her ashes in April. Actually, the promise was for me. I made a promise to do something, a task, something I was honour bound to accomplish because I made a public promise. That helped keep me from killing myself for a while. I hoped that giving myself about five months would get me past the danger point. It did.

Goals were and are important for me in dealing with this. Waiting until April to do the ashes was a big one, but I also had smaller goals. I only bought food and cigarettes for one day at a time for months. Grief might make you forget food, but nicotine is a harsher mistress. So, every day, showered, dressed, and got out. Some days the trip was literally only to buy cigarettes, 20 minutes out and back. Some days longer, and then longer and longer. I judge my progress by noting that I now buy cigs a carton at time again.

We bought this house in March 07 and moved here from our first retirement location. We moved in in April 07. I left for overseas at the end of September 07. She killed herself in November 07. I have now lived in this house alone longer than I did with her. And it is still so empty.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Changes and changes

Well, off today to DC to seek a new job overseas. My other contract, which took me to Afghanistan, has been canceled so must look elsewhere.

One thing, I get to see two of my children, their spouses and two granddaughters on this trip. Looking forward to that. Also get to see a couple of old friends, some of whom may offer me a job.

So, about a nine hour trip via car from Charleston, SC to DC. This allows some time to think, but outside of the shell of this house and my current existence. I used to love car trips, now they hurt in an odd way. That empty passenger seat needs filled.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

What Not to Say?

Well, oddly enough, writing a bit more.

I have been thinking about my experiences in dealing with other people after Cyndie's suicide.

First thing, I know you all mean well (however, see below), but about the worst thing to say to me was, 'I know how you feel'. Really, the love of your life killed herself while you were in a combat zone? You lost your future in a rush and without any warning? Your heart was tossed on a bonfire? You cried for weeks and had to literally force yourself not to commit suicide for about a month?

No, you do not know how I felt or how I feel. I will not know how someone feels who undergoes almost exactly the same thing as I did. We are too different. I was much better with phrases like, "I cannot imagine what you are going through". You know what? When I heard that, I would actually listen and respond with something like, 'If you have experienced loss at all, you do understand some.", and then I would smile, and then I could talk.

No, you do not know how I feel, how I felt. However, if you are normal and of adult age, you probably have lost someone you love. Loss is loss, pain is pain, and even puppies cry over puppy love. I think what is different with suicide is the time it takes to accept the loss. There is an huge amount of anger to go along with the pain of loss that we all feel. There is a lot of guilt to get through, the "what did I do wrong?" questions that plague the late night and pre-dawn darkness.

One thing I did not want to hear is your story of loss. Sorry, it did not make it better. Now I can talk to someone about their own loss, but in the three-five months after it happened, I just did not give a damn about your loss.

I also did not want your prayers. I appreciated the idea, and most casual friends/internet friends did not know I am an atheist. However, when someone says they do not want to pray with you, take the fucking hint!

A special sub-group of the above. More times than I thought possible, I have had religious people tell me they pray for me and are sorry my wife went to hell. I have been good up to this point, but the next person who says that is going to be crippled, possibly for life. I have plenty of frequent flyer miles, so will be glad to hunt you down if you post such a comment here. I am not fucking kidding.

Rambling, rambling. Maybe this is the best way to deal with this. Certainly not a coherent blog.
You, y'all, the big other, ordinary people, everyone in the world - you do not know how I feel. I hope you never do. Ordinary loss is bad enough. Suicide sucks the soul out of the survivors. Suicide is the most selfish act I know. I do not mean medical suicide by a terminal patient, that is seldom a surprise. What I mean is going from looking forward to a life together, finally retired, working just enough to have money to have fun, finally being together except for four months a year and only two months at a time, finally getting to love you as much as I want to, finally thinking things are going to be OK. And having that all taken away in a flash. No, you do not know how that feels unless it has happened to you, and even then you do not know how I feel.

Enough for the day.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A little more

I have found it almost impossible to work on this blog. I have created and destroyed many posts, over and over and over again.

I have not learned to understand my wife's suicide. I am learning to accept.

It has been seven months now. In the past few months I have removed and thrown away Cyndie's makeup, clothes, shoes, purses, and other items. Oddly enough, the makeup was in some ways the worst as these were very personal things. Lipstick that touched her lips, and perfume that is so familiar, and the many day to day things she touched and used. Shit, I am crying now and I have learned to hate crying. Trash goes out on Tuesday night for Wednesday morning pickup, so one thing I learned was to toss things on Tuesday so they would not hang around. It took much strength to not dig in the trash for the perfume.

I saved two items of clothing, both old and rather ratty. Eventually those will be stored away some where. I still have her main purse to go through. I went through it once, and then just packed it away. In the purse, I found the first picture of me that I ever gave her. After that, I just put it away, the pain is still too fresh.

Suicide is the ultimate act of selfishness. She left me and her children and grandchildren behind. She left a note for each of us, but it is not enough. My note created more problems than it solved for a while. She said she feared our marriage was failing and did not want to wait around for it to die. Neither I nor the children understood that. Later, I did understand. She had an affair. I found this out while searching her laptop for clues to the big WHY? In fact, I found this out the night before the viewing and subsequent cremation. Not sure it made it worse at the time. Right then, it was just another bee sting in a face already full of tears.

I was in Afghanistan when I found out she killed herself. I went from war to a series of plane rides to home to her death. It was mostly a fog. A friend took me all the way from Kabul to Charleston, SC, we look after our own. I was away for a two plus month job and was due home in about 20 days. My friends took my gun away and watched me until the plane ride. I was close to walking out into a mine field, might have if not watched.

I was close to my own suicide for several days, but could not do that to my children and granddaughters. Wanting to kill myself is long past now, except for a few moments in the dark before dawn.

This is a ramble, but have decided to let the ramble stand. This is purely an expression of pain. I see no moral, no story, nothing. It is just part of acceptance. I may never write again, I may tomorrow. I just do not know.