Yesterday morning on just a normal Thursday while sitting there doing my normal job I got a phone call. I couldn't answer it as I was doing my normal job, but then received an URGENT text message, I knew I needed to call before I saw something online that I didn't want to see. I put my normal job call on mute and called back immediately and as co workers babbled on in the back ground oblivious to the conversation that was going on behind my muted phone line, I heard the words that my dear friends husband had lost his life yesterday morning in a car accident.
A flood of feelings came rushing in, shock, sadness, heartbreak... it brings back feelings of the day Deanna became an angel each and every time you hear of a life lost by a car accident, but this was different, this was someone I knew. It's not the same when it was from some other cause.. I don't know why and if that is just how weird I am.. but I always empathize easier with the families of car accidents, or at least I think I do. Then I wonder later, did they feel this same thing, do they still feel the same way, do they think about these things. It is empathy gone awry.
Through out the day I caught myself just going on about my day, continuing on with my normal job, folding a tub of laundry, I would stop and catch myself and for a few moments my heart would completely ache. I would think of the days, weeks and months following the accident that I was truly angry that other peoples lives were moving forward and mine was stuck there in that deep pit of sadness. Then the dogs would need to be walked and the dishes washed and again I would be doing normal everyday things. It felt like I was betraying my friend, that I knew she was feeling the "HOW CAN THIS WORLD BE STILL MOVING when THIS.. this has happened. Stop people just stop." It still feels like a betrayal this morning as I sit here having my coffee.
I met my friends husband only a couple of times and in the short amount of time I had with him I knew he was a kind caring man, and I knew my friend loved him. There were many things I thought about yesterday in regards to the differences in the situations and caught myself thinking, I couldn't make it if that had happened. Then I thought of the many many many times I had heard. "If it were me I would not be able to survive" Or "I would be locked up if it were me, you are so strong" and I remembered how angry it makes me when I hear those words, those words become twisted in the minds of grieving, they come out sounding like.. "I loved my child so much more than you obviously loved yours because here you are and I know I couldn't do it." That my friends is the way we hear things and here I was catching myself doing it yesterday. I am very angry at myself for feeling that.
I contemplated life and death more yesterday than any other time since Deanna's accident. Isn't that strange? Almost 22 months have gone by and yesterday hearing those words brought so many feelings and thoughts to the forefront.
(If you think things are ugly up above this moment you may want to stop reading now and just say a prayer or good thoughts to my friend and her family because it is going to get down right nasty fast)
As the day wore on yesterday the thoughts of what had happened just would not leave my mind. Here is this kind man who was simply out on his way to work, and didn't make it. Here was my sweet daughter who was simply on her way home and didn't make it. Here was me still making it. I thought about the sadness the entire family felt when De had her accident, the tears of the friends, the heart break of the family. I thought about how this mans wife and children had to be told he wouldn't be coming home, the pain and sadness they must be feeling. Then I thought about how I didn't think about any of that when I was planning my own death. I didn't think about someone having to phone my mother, or the police on her door step. I didn't think about the person that would have to tell my Daddy that it was over.
Why am I still sitting here typing then you are probably wondering? And please for the love of God do not say "Because you were strong enough to make it through it." I wasn't. The one and only reason I am sitting here is because I did not want Drake to find me. That's it. The only thing. I am sitting here because in my sick twisted messed up mind I had to die at home and I knew the only person that would come looking for me was Drake. I told my Daddy once that I wouldn't do anything stupid because I didn't want him to feel like I did. I didn't care anymore.. I didn't care that he would or might feel this, I just wanted the pain to stop. I wanted to die. I could rationalize that he wouldn't feel that way because he would know that I did it so I would feel better and he would be ok because he would know I was better and that was what I wanted, yet at the same time wondering if heaven is real and if Deanna is happy where she is and not in pain or lonely, feeling like I had to get to her to make sure.
I am not sure that the point of that was driven home until I saw my friend's sister post last night (just an FYI.. the friends sister and I are close.. she is one of those people you can go weeks without talking to yet know you can call or text any time and she will be right there) she has young children and she posted about the heartbreaking feeling of having to tell her children that someone they love has died. I have done that.. it is one of the most painful experiences of my life. How in the world do you tell children that their brother is gone... that it happened again with their sister?? I don't know but some how I did, it was done. Even after going through that no where in my mind did it register that someone would have to tell my children that their mom was not coming home and that she caused it herself. I thought of this last night and still in my head it could be rationalized, they are grown now, it wouldn't have bothered them. Then my mind slid to Haley, I don't know why, it just did. She is the young daughter of friends here in the Outer Banks. She loves me, I love her. I don't spend near enough time with her but in that moment I pictured Sandy telling Haley, I could never hug her again.. and that I had made that happen on purpose. Every thought I ever had of taking my own life crumbled at the feeling that I could only imagine that little girl would feel. I am not incredibly close to any other small children right now in my life, but thinking of the confusion and pain of that one small heart right now is mind numbing.
How selfish and cruel am I? There are people out here fighting illnesses to survive, having accidents going on about their normal day that they wanted to live, babies not making it to birth, and here I was rationalizing my own selfish death. I even planned my small funeral and burial, I knew exactly what I wanted, how it would all play out, in a neat tidy little package of she wasn't here anymore, the end.
My mind drifted to my friend Rhonda, I have written about her before, her beautiful daughter took her own life just days before Deanna's accident. We met quite accidentally and I watched her struggle as she watched me. I heard her fight against suicide for medical students and doctors, I heard her speak out about it in general through Facebook posts, blogs, and finally her book.
"At least on my dying day, if I have time to think before I go, I will have known that though I have not done great feats in this world I have no doubt that I did do some of the most important things a person can do; I have loved my children, my husband and family with all my heart and did the best I could for them, though I was far from perfect. Love has always been given freely in my house. I have loved my family. And I have written this book and if one person can be saved from it, it will have served its purpose. But I hope my book spurs on more action in some way. Rhonda"
Three days later, Rhonda was gone. I thought a lot about her death when I was in my darkest of depression, I wondered if she was better now, if the pain had stopped or if she was just in a different place feeling pain for having left her daughter and husband behind. I thought of Rhonda last night, if she had made it through "winter" would she now be sitting behind her keyboard wondering where the next step of life will take her as I am? I wonder now what life would be like today if I wasn't in it? Who would be waking Drake up for school, or walking the dogs, or even washing the dishes. The normal mundane life things that made me so angry that everyone else was doing, I am doing. Life is moving on even though it was so hard to see, day by day life is happening. I don't want it to happen without me anymore, even if it is just a normal day at a normal job with normal chores, it's happening it hasn't stopped like I thought.
Yes this entire thought process came from the loss of my friends husband, every bit of it. I can only hope that if I ever fall into the darkest places of my soul again, I will remember Ken, and all he taught me on one fateful otherwise normal day in February, and that I will think about his wife, children, and nieces and nephews as they had to be told someone they loved wouldn't be coming home.
My heart continues to break for his family and friends as I know they are hurting and no amount of words or hugs or anything can make that change. The only thing I knew to do in the moments after I heard was send a message up to Deanna to welcome him with a hug. I will hold them each tight in my heart and prayers to continue to find the light in an otherwise dark time, and I hope one day that they can read this and realize that their angel brought another back to life.