This song came up on one of my playlists the other day. It isn’t new to me, but it is the first time I’ve heard it since I lost Christine.
It’s a duet sung between a man and a woman. She sings about some trouble she’s having, and he responds with words of comfort:
Him: So hold my hand, I’ll walk with you my dear
It’s keeping me awake
Him: It’s the house telling you to close your eyes
Him: It’s killing me to see you this way
I’d always assumed it was about a woman left behind after the death of her loved one, lamenting the loss and loneliness. At some parts in the song they sing together:
‘You’re gone, gone, gone away,
I watched you disappear
All that’s left is a ghost of you
Now we’re torn, torn, torn apart,
there’s nothing we can do,
Just let me go, we’ll meet again soon‘
When I listened to it I knew I’d probably end up writing about it because the feelings it stirred in me were intense and raw. The thought of Christine out there, watching me and wanting to comfort me was… I don’t know, because that’s not what I’m writing about today.
In an effort to not come across like an idiot I decided to look up how others interpreted the lyrics. I was taken aback.
Most of the explanations I found were not about a lost loved one. Instead, the majority of people agreed it was a chronicle of a person sinking into mental illness and their lover’s response as he attempted to comfort her.
I’ve listened to it several times since and read the lyrics more. I can still go either way.
But see, that’s the thing. That’s what I’m writing about tonight.
I was struck by the similarities between death and watching someone decline into debilitating mental illness. I’ve been through both.
OK, here’s the contest again. The one about how other people have had it worse. Most days with Christine were good days. I didn’t watch her totally disappear. She was around more often than not. Then there were the episodes.
I hate that word but I don’t know what else to call these events. Episodes.
I’m coming up on the anniversary of the first one. It was New Years 2016-17. I didn’t know at the time it was a beginning. It was so angry. So furious.
And then it kept going. Everything would be fine one minute and then the next things were out of control for days. It usually started with a disagreement. Then she would get upset. She’d change the order of events, or make things up, accusing me of saying things I never said. This would last for days before I could finally talk her down.
It always ended with her collapsing into tears, emotionally and physically exhausted. Then she’d go to bed and wake up herself.
It could be days, weeks or months before it happened again.
So, I still had my wife most of the time, but then this other person would come out.
And the strain of it was eating her alive.
Back to the song. Watching her go through this, watching her struggle everyday, convinced the world was against her… it was like watching something die. Not someone, but something.
I’m struggling here.
The other night when I hung out with the other ‘wids’ one person talked about losing his wife to cancer. He talked about the years of slow decline.
Me: I also watched my wife slowly decline into mental illness.
I’ve thought about that a lot the past few days. Obviously I knew things were not right, but I had no idea (most of the time) of the finality of her struggle, of the outcome.
Feelings and feelings and feelings. They afflict my judgement when trying to think my way through this. And why not? I don’t share her struggle. No matter how hard I try I’ll never understand what was happening to her.
And then I come back to the dark thoughts, the ones that haunt me at night. Why didn’t I do better? If her arm was broken I would have demanded she saw a doctor. Why didn’t I push harder?
I have no answers. I’m so upset I don’t.
God I miss her so much.
This is the most disappointing end to one of my writings I’ve had. Why didn’t I save her? Why not?
There’s one part of the song:
‘Don’t listen to a word I say
The screams all sound the same‘
They did. They all sounded the same. I tried to understand it through a logical mind. I tried to fix it. I wanted to save her.
Fuck I miss her.