Guilt

This is going to be a hard one to read. It’s been almost impossible to write.

At 6:30am on January 1st 2018 my alarm went off. I had set it so I could get up and call the hospital to check on Christine’s status.

The days leading up to New Year’s Eve had been horrible. She had gotten mad at me about something and it escalated into a full blown attack.

She spent a night in the car, and then locked herself in the bedroom, not coming out except to go to the store.

I tried to reach out to her on several occasions but it was always the same response.

Her: You ruined everything.

I canceled our plans, telling our friends Christine was sick and we couldn’t celebrate with them. I tried to make the best of a bad situation, getting games out and playing with the kids. I invited her to join us.

Her: I’m going out

She came out of the bedroom around 10. She looked amazing. A sequin dress, hair done up, heels. She made her way through the house and out the front door.

My heart dropped. I didn’t know where she was going, but trying to find out wasn’t worth the screaming that would follow.

I let her go.

About an hour later the texts started.

She was alone. Her car had died. It was cold. She was just going to die in the car. It didn’t matter.

I begged her to tell me where she was but she refused. Just saying she was going to go to sleep and not wake up.

This went on for a while. Her saying she would die, me begging her to live. I promised her anything she wanted. I said I’d leave if that would make her come home safely. Her life was more important than my happiness.

She wanted to die. She just wanted me to find someone who made me happy.

Finally, in a panic, I called 911. I gave them a description of the car, told them what was happening.

I told her the police were looking for her. She became enraged again.

Then she walked through the front door. She had only been parked a couple streets over. She was furious at me for calling the police.

I tried to call them back and tell them she was OK but they said they would come by the house anyway to check on her. They refused to stay away.

I told her they were coming. She flew into a rage unlike any I’d ever seen. She grabbed a kitchen knife. I was still on the phone with the police, they heard me ask her to put the knife down.

She swung it at me. I got between her and the kids, got them into a back bedroom. She threw the knife at me. Missed.

She lunged for it and took it to our bedroom.

When the police arrived they kicked down the door to our room and found her there, bleeding from the wrists. Superficial cuts. Not too deep, but deep enough to bleed a lot.

The kids were in the other room, crying. I went to them and we sat together while the EMTs treated her. They took her to a local hospital for observation.

I took the kids to the store. We bought ice cream and stuffed animals and rented a movie. We all slept together in the family room.

When I called the hospital the next morning they said I could get there at 8am but they weren’t sure when she’d be released.

I cleaned the bedroom, threw away the bloody sheets. I wanted her to have a relaxing place to stay when she got home.

The hospital was nearly empty that morning. They wouldn’t let me see her at first. I had to talk to a social worker. Then the social worker talked to her.

Finally they let me into the room. I didn’t know what to expect. She was lying in bed, her wrists bandaged. She looked at me.

Me: Hi

Her: Hi. I’m sorry.

Me: Me too. For everything.

We sat together and talked. Not about anything important. She told me about how she had been screaming at the nurses. I laughed because it’s just so much like her.

Her: Why are you being nice to me?

Me: Because I love you. I love you so fucking much.

That was one year ago today. One year from the day I saved her. I am often told by people ‘what happened isn’t your fault’ ‘you couldn’t have saved her’.

But that night I did. I did everything right.

I called the police. I loved her when she was better. I told her I’d never leave her.

I could have saved her again. But I didn’t. I didn’t think she would actually do it. I didn’t think she’d really leave us.

And worst of all I was so mad at her for trying to manipulate me with her threats.

And now I’m alone. I’m without her. Because I didn’t take her seriously and pick up the fucking phone.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get out from under this guilt.

I miss you babe. I’m so fucking sorry.

Musical Interlude – Happier, Bastille and Marshmello

Hey Babe,

Yesterday was so much harder that I thought it would be. It’s like I lost you all over again. It’s all so raw and painful right now. So final.

I’m empty. I’m totally destroyed. I really don’t think I can do this without you. There’s all these people reaching out to me and offering to be there but it isn’t enough. It doesn’t lift any of the pain. There’s no respite.

I’m just sitting here totally dead.

I can’t stop thinking about you. About how much you must have hurt.

That’s why I chose that song. Happier. It isn’t a happy song. It’s someone telling a person they love that they love them so much they have to leave. That they have to go away so their beloved can finally be happy.

Every time I hear it I cry. And it’s every where.

I imagine this is what you thought. That last night when you were all alone.

Know that means I’ll have to leave
Lately, I’ve been, I’ve been thinking
I want you to be happier, I want you to be happier
So I’ll go, I’ll go
I will go, go, go
So I’ll go, I’ll go
I will go, go, go
Lately, I’ve been, I’ve been thinking
I want you to be happier, I want you to be happier
Even though I might not like this
I think that you’ll be happier, I want you to be happier
I think it’s what you thought. I think you were being selfless. The ultimate sacrifice for me. I think you were trying to save me from you.
You must have been so alone. So horribly sad. So totally destroyed. I wish I had been there for you, to tell you again that you’re the reason I live.
And babe, you were so totally wrong. It is so much worse without you.
I don’t know if I can make it. I don’t think I can do this.
I’m not strong enough. I’m so very weak. I need you. There’s no way to replace this. It’s just emptiness. An open wound. A bottomless pit. A void.
An absolute absence.
Great pain is repetitive. Grief is repetitive. Sherman Alexie wrote that. It’s perfect in the most horrible way.

I can’t believe how much I hurt. How dark it all is. The pain is unbearable. There’s no escape.

I thought it was getting better and now it’s so much worse. I am totally alone without you. Incomplete. Broken. I need you.

I am so sorry.

I love you.