In the weeks and months following my mother’s passing, I would think of all the different ways, some more physically painful than others, that I could end my life. I found myself wishing for my demise more often than I found myself being grateful that I was alive. It’s difficult for me to share this, as the woman I am today is in stark contrast to the woman I was a couple of years ago. I look back on her now and I think, what a coward – what a selfish bitch! My shrink would tell me not to be so goddamned hard on myself – that it’s all a part of my grieving process and well, I reply that’s just easier said than done.
A few months after my mama’s death, I began experiencing excruciating, constant headaches, persistent lethargy and an overall physical weakness. I, of course, thought the worst – I had to have brain tumors. I was going to die and I wouldn’t have to off myself in order to do so. I know this sounds completely deranged and morbid but it was “all part of my grieving process.”
I sought immediate medical attention from a general practitioner to the neurologist she referred me to. After a full work up and test after test after test, it was discovered that I had been living with full-blown infectious mononucleosis caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. Ironically enough that was exactly what some moronic doctor at a hole-in-the-wall clinic in Kansas City had diagnosed my mother with exactly a year prior. So while she laid in bed for a little over a month, all of us thinking she had a virus, that it would eventually pass, she was actually lying there with lung cancer and multiple brain tumors that were pressing so hard against her skull, it was gearing up to explode. And exploded is exactly what almost happened that fateful morning that she dialed 9-1-1 to discover that it wasn’t mono after all. I can still feel the rage when I think of the idiot who missed that one! Thank God for emergency radiation – probably one of the few times you’ll ever hear me praise that shit.
I kept my incessant death wish mostly to myself – if anyone else was fully aware of it, it was David. During one of our outrageous fights, he walked into the kitchen one night, me crouched on the tiled floor, tears streaming down my face and a knife in my right hand. He immediately grabbed it out of my hand and berated me for acting so crazily. Shortly after this episode, he left me alone in the middle of the night – just walked out the door. I’m not quite sure how his absence was beneficial or if he really was as concerned with my mental health as he said he was. The most significant thing that stopped me was the thought of my mother’s disappointment – not David. She wanted me to continue on living – as void of her presence as I often felt, I always knew that she wanted me to fight.
David later invaded my privacy by going through my written journal and my personal computer files. He justified his actions by explaining that if I was planning on committing suicide, he wanted to be aware so that he could stop me and if I weren’t telling him directly then maybe he would find it in the various journals I kept. He came up empty-handed, as I never really wrote about it – until now.
I’m not angry with David for any of the above because I was able to put myself in his shoes. He was dealing with his own mental health and here’s the love of his life telling him that she no longer wanted to live, that she would rather die than spend the rest of her life with him. That would fuck me up in the head, too. Do I think he could have been more supportive and more present during the darkest time in my life? Absolutely, but I also think we do the best we can with the experiences that are presented to us in correspondence with our own maturity.
On 12/15/2011, 3 ½ months after my mama died, I wrote this:
God, I fucking wish you were here. I have no sense of purpose anymore – I have no drive. I only have half of the motivation I used to, and well, you see how that is going. Sometimes I wonder which he wants more – partying or me? Not that I wanna make him stop – I just would like to feel a lot more important at all times. I need you, mama. I’m listening to your song, our song – do you hear it? I don’t want anything to do with Christmas – especially my birthday, mama. I am sorry if this disappoints you but I hope you understand. My friend has ovarian cancer – can you fucking believe it? I hope you know more than I do and that it all makes more sense. What do I do mama? How do I not feel so lost anymore? How do all these temporary reliefs become more permanent? I need you. I need you. I need you. I’m up way TOO early – didn’t get good sleep again – am I going to have to resort to drugs? But you know if you were still here, I’d probably be calling you and waking you up so you could keep me company. God – how selfish I was! I love you so much, mama.
I never did resort to drugs. Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with anti-anxiety or depression medications for some and my doctor highly recommended it but I always had something against taking any sort of drugs due to my father’s addiction. I feared my own addictions even though, deep down, I’ve always known I was stronger than that. I wanted to fight this one on my own, though, and it was a battle that, today, I am proud to say I am a better woman, a better person, for having fought it.