Summer of 2019, I vividly remember my husband saying goodbye to our girls one morning. Our girls, as in, our two Golden Retrievers. This wasn’t his normal ‘I’m going to the store and I will be right back’ goodbye. This was different in many ways.
Having lived with his depression for so long, we have had numerous discussions about him taking his own life. He always promised me he wouldn’t, but anyone that has been in this type of situation before, knows that clinically depressed individuals can change their mind on a daily basis about anything.
After he said goodbye to the girls, he quickly gave me a kiss and headed to the door. I didn’t get the sweet goodbye that I normally receive. “Where are you going“, I sternly asked him. “Out for a drive”, he replied. “You are not doing something stupid, are you?” “It will be fine”.
Out for a drive has always been his way of wanting to go for a ride in the West desert and not return.
Most loved ones would do anything to stop someone from leaving the house in this state of mind, but I didn’t. Once the door closed, I froze for a moment but then immediately ran to see if our guns had been touched and if he had taken our emergency beacon device.
Knowing how much my husband has been in pain and living in such a dark place for so long, I knew all I could do was to continue to support him. As heartless and cruel as that sounds, it is quite the opposite. Our agreement, well my request, is that he is not allowed to take his own life in our home and he is to send me GPS coordinates via the emergency beacon device so I can have closure.
The reasons to my requests were because, a really good friend of my husband shot his own mother who lived next door, then went home, laid in bed, and shot himself, all the while, his wife laying next to him in bed and his children in their own rooms. I could never imagine the trauma that would leave behind. And he would be in an area without cell coverage, hence the beacon.
After he left and everything was still in place at home, all I could do was wait with waterfall tears rolling down my face. Part of me wanted to call the police, our parents, or my friends, but I just sat there. He eventually sent me a text saying how worthless he is and that he couldn’t carry out his own plans because he didn’t take the beacon (or anything else) with him. He didn’t know how he wanted to go, but he did know he was just tired and wanted to end the pain.
After a couple hours, he came home and we held each other and cried. We don’t know how to fix his depression, his anger, his regrets, but we will keep trying together as that was not his day to go.
Fast forward to January 20, 2022. My husband sends me a text in the morning.
“I don’t know what to do. Well, I do but…. God and this state hate me. That’s fine. I have enough hate stored up for everything and everyone. Sorry to drag you along. I really thought it would be better (moving to where we live now). It’s been the worst mistake I have ever made. The pills aren’t helping, the schooling isn’t helping, my experience isn’t helping, my personality isn’t helping. I’m done.”
This sadly turned into the day I had my second scare of my husband saying goodbye. Technically, he didn’t say anything.
I was upstairs in my office working and I heard him grab his keys and then the front door closed. I quickly checked our security camera and sure enough, he was heading to his vehicle. An important note, we NEVER leave the house without saying goodbye.
I ran down the stairs, out the front door, and towards him. We live in a townhome complex and his vehicle was parked in the street, not in our designated parking spots. I quietly called his name so not to interrupt our neighbors. He fully knew I was there and calling for him, but he ignored me and continued on. Once I caught up to him, I asked him where he was going. Straight-faced he told me he was just going to his Jeep and for me to go back inside because it was really cold outside and I didn’t have a jacket or shoes on. I asked him the same question again and he gave me the same answer. I knew he was lying to me but I turned around and headed back for our house. Once I got to our door, I turned around and saw him drive away.
I wasn’t going to go through this a second time so I hopped into my car and drove the neighborhood to find him. How hard could it be to locate a yellow Jeep?? Hard enough because I never saw him.
Once I got back to our house, I went back into my office, sat down, and sent him a text. I heard his phone ding and it came from our bedroom. He didn’t take his phone with him. I made my rounds again and the guns were untouched and the beacon was still in place. I sent him another text saying, “I know you don’t have your phone with you but I hate that you do this to me.”. Yes, I was angry at him. Yes, I know he is the one suffering but I am allowed to have a moment of selfishness.
Once again, I sat and waited, but this time I didn’t cry. I just watched our security camera waiting to see who would show up.
Quietly, my husband walked through the door. I didn’t go running down the stairs to hug him or yell at him. I stayed in the office. Not much was spoken between us that day.
That evening he sent me a few texts.
“I wanted to lay down in the river today. Just lay down and sleep. Damn trail walkers.”
“I hate just about everything in this life. I have no reason to live outside of you four. I would gladly walk in front of a train if you and the animals were not here. But you are here. And because of that I struggle daily with the desire to carry on in the face of the fact that tomorrow will never be better.
I don’t have friends. I am not good at friending. I don’t miss not having friends, most days. The people I do know don’t provide me with the things I need in order to make it worthy to work at a friendship.
I am a difficult person. My experiences are vast. My thoughts rarely stop. I am emotionless and uncaring. What I can’t be is happy. I don’t know why.”
Suicide, depression, anhedonia, anger, whatever term used to describe it, my definition is, it all sucks. Day in. Day out. The struggles are real and they are not going away.