When there was nowhere else but down

Seven or eight years ago, life had become very difficult for my little family.  I could try to explain the whys and wherefores but the events are past tense.  To try to break it down, make it coherent, and string everything together would require more time than I care to give on the subject.  Suffice to say, things were a mighty struggle all around.

Local news today of a father who shot his wife and three young children before shooting himself reminds me of a day or two during that time when I had considered doing the same thing.

The man’s motivation appears to be that of concern over his marital problems and likely, the knock on effect it would have on the relations with his children.  But I presume; I do not know the truth.  I only know sorrow for the situation and relief for my own.

The details were loose.  I didn’t own a gun, and I didn’t know how to get one; I certainly didn’t have money to buy one.  But I remember standing in the living room of our little, rented house staring at the curtains in front of me.  Just standing and staring.  My husband was at work and our children, at school.  I had been crying.  Heartbroken.  My soul wrung out.  I felt desperate.  As if there was no way out.

In hindsight, I think I had a small breakdown that day.  I believed that if we weren’t here, the burden would be lifted.  I imagined if I had that gun, I would kill the kids first, upstairs, then I’d shoot my husband when he came home in the wee hours, and then I’d shoot myself.  I actually visualized it.  I visualized wrapping the kids’ bodies in blankets and waiting for my husband.

So disconnected was I from myself that I thought it would be easy.  I didn’t visualize the  fact that I’d witness my children’s brains scatter, or watch my husband’s body fall, or the last thing I’d see would be the barrel of a gun.  I didn’t pay any mind to family and friends who would be so shocked and saddened. I only visualized a world where our own struggle and suffering ended.

Dark times, indeed.

I am grateful for my own inner strength which pulled me through when my body and soul were limp.

And I hold this dear family in the light today.  I wish the Dad had found some tiny thread to help pull him through.

Nuts and Bolts

argument-cartoonThere’s a sort of ‘settling in’ that occurs after a time in a marriage.  My husband and I will have been married for ten years this coming November, however our beginning was much like the deep end of a swimming pool after someone had nonchalantly pushed us in.  We discovered a week or so after the wedding that I was pregnant.  Tradition fled, and whatever  we gently knew of each other would have to suffice.  Life got real.  No time to take our time with the honeymoon year, to discover the depths or truly enjoy us;  our research had to tread water as my belly grew.  We were resigned to the fact that one hand from each had to hold the pool side to keep us from sinking.  We could not fully embrace our coupledom.

The years that followed could have any number of adjectives used to describe them:  Fraught, tense, strained, closed-off, angry, bitter, wedge-filled, distant…really, I could go on and on. We were less about love and more about trying to keep ourselves as a unit in the face of financial hardship and forced decisions.

Something in the years of resistance fell away recently.  Possibly due to the worry lifted from our lives or the slow upward turn we feel we are making.  We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, not some false star provided by others or a mirage that beckons before beating a scornful retreat.  No, this is all our doing.  A plan in place, a desire to stand alone together.

As the opposition falls, humor and a lightness of being have come to take its place.  Humor has always been a major shard of our backbone, like the bottom of that swimming pool, is still, solid and dependable.  The surface may curl and whip in turmoil for many years but that basin of laughter holds steady.  It keeps us grounded with knowledge that we are family and that without each other, we are incomplete.

So, when my husband shoots me a look because he has to exit the shower to grab the face wash that I left on the bathroom sink, my kneejerk reaction is a chortle instead of an exasperated eyeroll.  Of course it’s not all wine and roses; there are flashes of irritation and bickering.  But after almost twelve years of togetherness and having sunk down to the depths of despair, touched the blackness, turned and bobbed back up to the top, it really is about smooshing our asses into the comfy seat, holding hands and appreciating all that we are creating.

And, I will always continue to make him laugh.

laughter

Miss the Bliss

I lay on our bed last night, listening to the water run in the shower while my daughter allegedly washed herself.  The evening sun grew stronger through the branches of the tree across the street and I desperately searched for a sign in it.  Such a wrenching in my heart for the loss of self.  Have I really gone so far backward that I can’t find my way forward?  How does a person lose faith in oneself?  What is there to cling to when you have given up the light?  Some people have Jesus, some people have God, some kind of figure to hang their hat on.  But what do you do if the figure is yourself and somehow, some way, you’ve misplaced it and trying to find it seems an impossible task?  You think, well, when this gets sorted out I’ll feel better and that will help.  I’ll feel happier and so rediscovering it will be much easier.  But you know that true happiness doesn’t lie in a signed lease or a full pantry.  It comes from within.  You have known that.  You have felt it.  You have felt the overwhelming gratitude; the joy which overflows from your heart that you shine on everyone you meet.  You have known bliss.

I miss my bliss.  I wept for my bliss watching the sun.  I took two pictures because the loudest voice in my head said I should use one for this entry today.  But I knew I wanted to capture the moment somehow, keep it locked so that perhaps one day soon, I could reopen it and find what I was looking for.