Today I did some reading. I’m not sure what I was expecting to come from it, but I did it anyway. Self therapy I suppose. I went back and read the latest text messages I had with PJ. There were several. The last one I wrote said “your kids miss you”. I’ll never know if he got it. But I realized then that it had been eight days since I last heard from him before he died. EIGHT DAYS of no replies. I know there was a phone call somewhere in there, but not certain of the day. If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering why I didn’t do anything. You see, we’d been down this road before. Several times. It always ended in a hospital stay, followed by rehab that he fudged his way through before checking out early. He wanted to get help, but he couldn’t seem to get there himself. It had turned into a vicious cycle. Even through all of that I never dreamed he’d end his life. Maybe I was naive. Or maybe he was good at hiding it. I don’t know.
But he did.
I should have gone over there. I didn’t want my kids to witness what was happening. He kept telling me he was sick. And he was. But I don’t think I had the full version of his illness. One thing I know for sure is that he loved his kids. He wanted to live for them. So I never believed this could ever be an option. I was wrong. However, I truly don’t think he did this thinking about their heartbreak that would follow this action. I believe that he THOUGHT in that moment he was making it better. Boy was he ever wrong.
I knew him so well. I think this was a spontaneous action that will effect us for a lifetime. He wasn’t a planner. He had visions for the future, but no plans in place. Everything was on the fly. He had the most caring and giving soul and wanted to help anyone he could. These babies were his whole world. He didn’t do this TO them. And while I disagree whole heartedly with every part of my being, I think he thought he was doing this for them. He wasn’t being who he wanted to be.
If I could tell him anything now, it would be that he was doing the best he could…like we all do. And I would tell him that they didn’t even notice the things that weren’t “right”. They loved him anyway. I would tell him that his friends love him and they have stepped up to help make his kids’ life better any way they can. I would tell him that we have the most amazing people in our lives that look after us on a regular basis. I would tell him that we are ok. We miss him, but we are doing exceptionally well. I would tell him that I’ve met someone who might just love our kids just as much as we do. (Believe it or not, he’d be happy about that.). I would tell him that I mess up too. Daily. But it’s still ok!
I keep the thought “if I’d only known” close to my heart. Because here’s the thing…I didn’t know. But that doesn’t matter. Who cares if you don’t know. Save all the crap and just be kind.
I also read the messages from friends and family that came in after his death. They came rolling in for days. One thing is for sure, we have a lot of people that love and care about us. I had forgotten about most of the messages, but looking back now it still brings me comfort.
I keep reading “Check on your strong friend.” I agree. However, depression and suicide come in many forms. So yes, check on your strong friends! But check on your sad friends, your happy friends, your friends who live the “perfect” life, your single friends, your divorced friends, your happily married friends , your quiet friends, your social friends. I don’t think it’s our job to keep someone alive. I think it’s our privilege to be good people; to be caring and loving people. You can’t control anyone else, but you can control yourself! And you never know of someone will go back and read YOUR message!
We will never know what anyone is truly battling except ourselves. My point is…you don’t know what people are dealing with. You really never will, so treat every single moment as if it’s the last time. Just do it. You won’t regret that. I promise.
Life is good! Let’s keep telling each other that. We all need to be uplifted from time to time. We all need reminders. We all need love!