How is everyone doing today?
I need to tell my story but after that I want to hear how the rest of you are doing. Dave, Debbie, Kay, Mavis, Carol, Susan, Dorene - forgive me if I've missed one of you. How are things today for you?
This will be tedious for some of you but I want to get it off my chest and write it down. I apologize for the length of this post.
After returning home from a weekend camping trip with my two sons (11 and 12), the boys jumped out of the truck and rushed into the house to tell mom all about it. As I was hauling some things into the mudroom my youngest started hollaring from my room, "Dad, Dad, something's wrong with Mom!!" I had an idea but I ran into our bedroom and found Mom face down and out of the corner of my eye saw a pistol in her hand. I grabbed my son and threw him out of the house. I called the EMT squad right away but it was obvious she was gone. I remember the EMT running in but after that the rest of the day is pretty much a blur.
We did not have any financial problems, family issues or any other events that may push a well balanced person over the edge. Rather, my wife suffered from pervasive, crushing depression. For 15 years, she tried to explain it's depth and hold on her. As best I could, I tried to understand. She did all the right things - saw her therapists, tried to apply their advice and took her meds. But she never got any better; in fact she declined over the years. When we got married she had a wide and rich circle of friends. She was an talented artist on top of being a licensed therapist specializing in grief counseling. Ironic that no?
But over time, she gently pushed all her friends away by not returning calls or letters, or not accepting invitations to events, etc. Upon reflection, I think unconciously she was preparing for the day when she would be gone.
When she was well, she was a beautiful woman and took pride in her appearance. At the end, she would go days without bathing and I'd have to lead her into the bathroom and bathe her. Toward the end, she no longer would speak at the dinner table but would answer if one of us would ask her a question.
Do you remember Russell Crowe's character in "A Beautiful Mind"? My wife had parts of that personality. She didn't have auditory or visual hallucinations, but she did build these paranoid fantasies of persecution that she would explain to me for hours on end. It was similar to the graphical representations of relationships that the Crowe character drew - except her's were verbal. They couldn't possibly be true and had no basis in fact.
Her slow descent into madness was heartbreaking to watch and even though all involved did all they could to help her get well, the illness washed over her like a tidal wave and "all the king's horses and all the king's men . . . " Well, you know the end to that rhyme.
She knew she was sick and in her good moments understood with clinical precision what exactly was happening to her but as I said, was powerless to stop it.
Well, enough about that. The boys and I are doing pretty well. For me, her suicide was shocking but not surprising. The boys never knew her when she was completely in control of her mind. My 11 year old is dealing with his experience of finding his mom reasonably well. His therapist and I are working on replacing his mental image of mom lying on the floor with the gun with happier images and that is going well.
During her rants, I would tell her "Yes, I understand." She always said the same thing. "I know you are trying to, but you really don't." She was right - I didn't.
But I do now.
Okay - glad that's out.
How are you all doing? Dave? How you doing? Others?