I never knew 'Love/Hate' until the day you killed yourself.
Never in my life, have I been more conflicted by these emotions. I imagine a lot of life's circumstances will or can make you that way, but I believe suicide has special talents in doing so.
The Hard Stuff - we had plenty of that a few months prior to him taking his own life. Super hard stuff. There were countless fights and so many harsh words exchanged; harsh enough to call them unforgivable. They were words that will singe on your heart forever. Unfortunately, they came from both of us. There was a lot of silence as well. Silence that was cold and hard; silence where there should have been communication. There were accusations; true and false. Then there was more fighting to follow. In the course of six months or less, there was so much hard stuff that I'm still not sure how to move completely past it.
The Good Stuff - There was lots of good stuff; multiple years of good stuff. There was once a best friend status, one so strong I just knew it would last forever. There were fun and happy vacations. There were care free ice cream dates to dairy queen and of course, there was the happiest of weddings; the most fun wedding I've ever been to, actually. There was a happy honeymoon where we just got to be us. There was pure and sweet baby making that took us longer than we thought, but in the end, only brought us closer. There were joys coming into parenthood; unseen happiness revolving around one tiny human, waiting to see what he would amaze us with next. There was so much good stuff that I never want to forget.
I never knew 'Love/Hate' until the day you killed yourself......
It's a raw and hard sentence, but it's true. I wrote that sentence 3 years ago in my handwritten journal that I don't share with anyone. I came across it the other day, along with many other sentences and paragraphs I've written in the past 4 years, but this one still holds a lot of emotion for me.
Initially it took some time to come out of the fog of his death. I had a few moments here and there but mostly it was foggy in the beginning. Once I got passed that though, I realized I had never loved or hated someone so much at the same time. It was conflicting as hell, and that alone made me exhausted.
When all the fighting and hurtful words had come to a screeching halt, it was easier to see the love I still had in my heart for him. It wasn't being clouded anymore by the hell we were going through. Of course I still loved him, we had been married for 4 years and we had a child together, all the "good stuff" came rushing back to me. All the wonderful memories; like when he told me I could pack as many shoes as I wanted on our honeymoon or the time I realized he was "the one" while we were standing in line at Taco Cabana. Now that he was gone, it was simple to let all the good stuff flood my heart. It was easy to put him on a pedistool and love the hell out of him...to love the man he was before, the man I knew he wanted to be.
At the very same moment, it was just as easy to hate him. Initially I hated him for what he had done. I hated him for leaving Kaleb without a father, for leaving his parents without a son, and for leaving me without a husband. To quote my journal notes from that time, "when I'm at my wits end, I hate you for killing yourself first. I hate that you got to give up. I wanna be able to give up, but since you were selfish, now I'll never get to be. I'll always have the responsibility of Kaleb, I'll never be able to give up on him." I remember feeling those words and thinking through what it would be like to kill myself. How would I do it? Where would I go? What kind of goodbyes would I leave? Not because I actually wanted to kill myself, but because I wanted to understand what it must have been like to be in his head. All the hatred and anger made me jealous. When the thoughts and the responsibilities of being a single parent became too much, I hated him for taking the easy road and leaving me with the hard shit to deal with, knowing I'd never do what he did, because now, I was all Kaleb had.
I hated him for all the fighting, for calling me that day and telling me what he was going to do, but not giving me enough information regarding his whereabouts, to help him. In my mind, he did that as a tease; as a last way to let the guilt sit on my heart for the rest of my life, because my words wouldn't change his mind. He knew all along that my words weren't going to be enough but he called me anyways, giving me false hope, only to shatter it to pieces. I hated him for that.
So, you see? You see how in my heart there has never been a greater Love/Hate story?
Even though I have forgiven him and don't cast blame, at times, I still find myself conflicted. I want to love him and love our memories; I want to share them with Kaleb, for his sake, and also so I never forget them. I want them to be my only memories, I want so badly to erase the 'hard stuff' but I can't. It's there, just as vivid as the good stuff. Sometimes it's even stronger, and I hate that.
This week will be 4 years since his suicide and I knew it was time to explore new levels of healing. I never kept it to myself as a hiding mechanism, I just had to reach a point where I was ready. I suppose a small part of me had hoped that by sharing all the positive memories, eventually they would outweigh the bad ones, which maybe true in time, but for now, I need to own the love/hate I feel for what we went through. I need to let myself hate on the days I want to hate and love on the days I want to love. I'll be flooded with so many emotions this week, hell, this month, and the longer I keep trying to fight the conflict, the longer it will linger.
Loving and hating in the same day is absolutely possible, I'm living proof of that. But I believe we have options and choices, we can make the love part bigger, we can let it out weigh the hate if we want it to. I'm going to own my hate when I need to, but I'm also going to own the hell outta my love when it comes around! Here's to another year of healing.