Writing has always been my best method of expressing myself. After my fiance's death I immediately found an internet forum support group where I could write out my experience and recieve comfort and support from other people going through similar experiences. My writing from that time is tragic, scattered, chaotic, much like I was during that time.
Healing is a circular process. Every time I reach a new level of well being I need to reprocess everything all over again, but at a different level. I am retelling a story that I have told so many times, but this time I have a different purpose. The benefit of writing here, as opposed to a widows forum, is that your feedback gives me direction in my storytelling. From your comments, I know what part of the story needs to be told next.
A few people have asked me, as if on que, why I didn't call the police? I will tell you, but first you should know that they are all excuses, musings. The truth is that I should have called the police because even if it didn't ultimately save him, it would have saved other people.
At first, when I found him in our home loaded with prescription pills that he had been saving for just this reason, I simply froze. I could not admit to myself what was happening . The truth was too horrible, so I reached deep into my mind and tried to find ways to stop time until I could find a way to erase what was happening.
When we first met, my fiance told me that many years before he had tried to kill himself. He drove to a place far away from his University and took a lot of pills. When he woke up in the morning still alive he drove home, went to class, graduated University and stayed alive. Naively, I hoped that this attempt was something similar. My first excuse - I just needed to keep him safe long enough to sober him up and get him to a therapist. Afterall, when he woke up alive after his last attempt he didn't try again for many years.
By the next morning I still had not slept, and I called a friend to come over and take out my dog. I could not leave because my fiance had a gun in the house and I needed to watch him every second. That day was so confusing. He said that we could not call the police for many reasons: he would lose his job running trips with teenagers, he would be humiliated, he would escape from the house and jump off a cliff in the desert where no one would ever find him. My fiance, a beautiful man, was joyous that day. Full of life, he would dance and make jokes. He was upset about missing grad school that morning, and it was so much better to pay attention to his thoughts about the future than the times that he wanted us to celebrate his escape from life. Excuse number two - he was worried about missing school and work, therefore he was thinking about the future and would not really kill himself.
Some moments are fuzzy in my memory, but others are so perfectly clear. I remember when he put on a Rusted Root cd and danced around the house to the song, Send Me On My Way. He wiped the tears from my eyes. He told me to stop being so selfish and to be happy for him because soon he would be free.
I remember the moment when my friend actually did call the police, twice, and got a busy signal. She told me that she just kept thinking of an adult that she could call to come and help us, but the terrifying truth was that we were the adults. Our families live over 10 hours away, by plane. Even if I had called them he would have been dead before they arrived. They will not forgive me for this, and to be honest, I understand.
I was distracted when I saw that my fiance was sneaking whiskey, so I told my friend to hold on until we could figure out what to do. I left her there while I went to hide all the alcohol in the house. Excuse number three - I hadn't slept, and I really didn't know what do to.
After I went inside my friend called a suicide hotline. She was given a list of questions to ask to make sure that any immediate danger had passed. The apartment was very small, and as much as we were watching my fiance he was watching us. He became very angry at my friend for being on the phone and told me that I had better make her stop. I gave her money to go out to dinner, and I managed to calm him down and get him to bed. The gun was hidden in the living room and he wanted it back in his closet where it belonged. I preferred to have it somewhere where I could keep an eye on him and it, so I agreed. I put his gun back where it belonged, and then I barricaded the doorway with furniture. The last thing I did was tie wind chimes to the door handle.
My beautiful man and I laid in bed and talked about the future. We decided to move to an apartment closer to his school so it would be easier for him to study. I would get a job that did not keep me away from home all night. My friend came home to find us planning our next steps. She gently and slyly asked him all the questions from the suicide hotline. Immediate danger had passed, she went home, he went to sleep and I tried to stay awake. Excuse number four - he had survived an attempted suicide and now he just needed life changes and therapy.
I don't know how or when I fell asleep, but I awoke to the noise of wind chimes. He looked at me like a child caught stealing candy, and I flew from the bed to get in between him and the gun. His eyes were not right. Maybe a good night's sleep had strengthened his reserve to end his life, or maybe he had just been buying time until he could escape. He told me that he was just getting a sweatshirt, and we went back to bed.
"I'm going camping," he told me.
"What a lovely idea, I'll pack my things," I replied.
"No, you have to go to work. I'm going alone."
"With your gun?"
I began to cry.
"Stop being selfish. You only want me here for you."
"Not just for me," I said. "What about your Grandmother, your sisters?"
"Everyone will be fine."
He really believed this, and I finally knew that I had lost. I could not do this any longer, this was beyond me. I jumped from the bed, phone in hand, and went to hide the keys to the house. The last thing he ever said to me was, "Are you calling the police?" Excuse number five - I did call the police.
I am grateful that he managed to get himself into our bathroom before killing himself. In all the complicated feelings about his death, I'm also sad that he didn't just die from the pills like he wanted. Instead had to die so violently. Excuse number six - I tried to get the gun from him but I couldn't, he was so much bigger than me.
The truth is that the what ifs are endless. What if I had called the police right away, they took him to the hospital and he killed himself anyways? What if they took him away and he got better, got therapy, and lived a long happy life? What if I bought him another 10 years, and all of them were horribly painful or wonderful? What if the police came, he fought them and they killed him (the true story of a sister widow of mine)? What if I called the police and he had killed me? I don't think he ever would have hurt me, but when you start playing what if...
Healing means acceptance. I do not have to accept how he died, but I have to accept that it happened. The course of events can not be changed by speculation, and now I can only protect my own life, not his. So calling the police, not calling the police, none of it matters to my story anymore. Time moves forwards, the past can not be changed, and trying to work backwards through the fabric of time will drive a person insane.