I’ve been trying to figure out how to write about what happens next and totally avoiding it. It’s painful and it sucks. I’m also dreading facing some people after explaining what I’ve been up to. I hate being judged. I know I shouldn’t live my life worrying about how other people feel, but I do. It’s a thing.
My decision making was at an all time low. I was absolutely face down and it was easy to convince myself that bad choices made sense in this situation.
I walked to the corner bar every night. I made a rule with myself I wouldn’t drink at home unless there was someone to drink with, so instead I sat alone drinking Rainier and shots of Jameson. I’d drink until I could go one minute without thinking about Christine, then I’d make my way home and try to sleep.
One night I scared the shit out of K and B, stumbling into the house drunk at around 1am. They were up watching YouTube videos and I came into the living room and just collapsed on the floor, sobbing.
Me: I’m so alone. I’m so fucking alone. (Rinse and repeat for a half hour or so)
There’s that loneliness theme again.
They sat and watched me in silence, not knowing what to do. To their credit they never brought it up again. Neither did I.
As mentioned in a previous post, I returned to work. This was two weeks and two days after my wife passed away. I was desperately seeking something to keep my mind distracted so I went back as early as I could. I didn’t belong there and shouldn’t have returned when I did. Even trying to read a few emails took hours. I had to rely more than normal on my team to pick up the slack and I remained distant.
Upon my return I had a conversation with a leader in the organization who told me something that felt like being slapped across the face.
Her: I’m lucky that I’ve worked with someone who went through the same situation so I know how to respond to yours. The one thing they told me was they didn’t want to be treated any differently.
You’re so lucky.
I began having high visibility escalations assigned to me right away. This helped push Christine further down. A lot of work was coming home with me too, giving me the excuse I needed to disappear and avoid my kids.
Returning to my job so early, another bad choice.
Bad choice number three:
I was lying in bed one night feeling absolutely alone. I didn’t have anyone to talk to. Or rather, I didn’t have anyone I wanted to talk to. I didn’t have anyone to talk to like I could when I had Christine.
I probably scrolled through Facebook 10000 times over the previous weeks trying to distract myself. I had spent thousands of dollars on bullshit I didn’t need. I mean, I was buying a new house for no reason I could think of other than I didn’t want to be in our house anymore.
Sitting there, not wanting to feel, looking for anything to distract me from the pain (because that’s exactly what it is, pain) I opened the browser on my phone and clicked over to a dating site. It was OK to just look, right? I mean this is how people meet now so I was just checking out my future.
Then after a couple days of looking I downloaded the app. I put my info in. Just to see. Just to see if I could find someone to take the loneliness away.
I didn’t get a lot of attention, which might be normal, but it definitely played into the insecurity issues I have. I dwell on not being loved or being lovable. I don’t much like myself and don’t understand how others could like me. I was going to die alone.
This is going to come up again in a future post.
I talked to a few women via the app, struggling to communicate in a strange new (to me) world. I hadn’t dated anyone in 18 years, almost half of my life, and I had zero idea what I was doing.
Then one night after a few weeks someone from hundreds of miles away ‘liked’ me. Then she sent me a message. She was pretty. We started chatting a little bit. Then we exchanged numbers because ‘texting is easier’.
I had someone to talk to. I wasn’t alone.
To be clear, the bad choice theme has nothing to do with the choices themselves, not exactly. They’re pretty bad, but they’re a symptom, not the illness. It’s all about the root cause, all about avoiding pain. It’s about trying to stay away from the feelings associated with losing my wife to suicide after 18 years together. It’s about stuffing this down so far, walling it off, hiding it from others and myself.
It’s about refusing to face the emotional consequence of her being gone forever and me having to learn to live without her.