If you’re reading this, you probably know me, which means you probably know that my husband, Patrick, died by suicide on November 29th.
It feels weird and stupid to be writing this here. But I feel like I want to say something. So I guess this is my way of putting things out there. I’m not writing to record the details of that day, that week, or the time since then. I’m also not writing to try and eulogize or summarize Patrick. That would be impossible, especially at this time. I’m just writing about the current status of my life, mainly because writing is just… what I do.
One of Patrick’s cousins said it’s like we woke up in a different universe, and that feels true. I fucking hate this new universe, but I’m trying to live here; I don’t know the rules or what to expect or how to do anything.
The grief reminds me of birth and postpartum, but in a bad way: my body reacts in ways I’m not in conscious control of, does things I didn’t know it could or would do. The pain hits me in waves, like being in labor.
The funeral reminded me of our wedding, a dark mirror image of it. The church, the family, the flowers. His cousins in suits. Walking down the aisle out of the church, except at our wedding we did it holding hands and elated; this time I laid my hands on his casket and cried.
I miss him so much.
It’s a specific kind of loneliness. People have been surrounding me, and I’m so grateful– but none of them are my partner, the person closest to me for almost a decade. For the first few days after he died, the back of my mind kept thinking: I’m going to tell him about this later. Then I would catch myself and realize. I will not be able to lay my head on his chest at the end of the day and tell him about this horrible, horrible nightmare.
And there’s all the mixed feelings. The happy memories burst through– I smell vanilla and sandalwood and I’m with him at Lake Erie this summer and we’re listening to frogs sing all night. I smell rain and it’s 2013 and we’re kissing under an orange streetlight downtown and life feels wide open. I hear a song and it’s 2017 and he’s making the potholders put on a puppet show in the kitchen.
And then I return to that Tuesday morning, the last time I saw him, and there’s the inevitable guilt and doubt and sadness.
I know I can’t blame myself but I also can’t help but blame myself a little bit. His wife, who should have seen it, should have had a gut feeling.
We could look at each other across a room and communicate without words.
But then: I don’t want to say too much about it, but I feel we can still communicate that way.
I don’t want to end with platitudes. Know that the pain is still fresh and that it hurts more than I thought I’d ever hurt in this lifetime. But there can be more than one thing at once. I still feel joy when our daughter laughs. I still feel warmth when I talk to friends.
And beyond the doubt, I believe his spirit is free. He is at peace. I will miss him for the rest of my life. And I’ll see him again.