I wrote this back in September but never got around to posting it here. It's called "A View Through My Door"
This is a difficult week for me. A year ago my husband chose to end his life. His illness got in the way of him getting the help he needed. Depression killed him, and no one could stop it. I miss him, maybe not every day, like I'm "supposed to" but I do miss him. He wasn't an easy man to live with, and things were very difficult between us. He was very full of anger, and he couldn't see himself as worth the help he needed. He took that anger out on my daughters and I.
I've thought long and hard about sharing my story. I've been told that I'd simply be "talking ill of a dead man" or "attacking someone who isn't here to defend themselves." But the truth is, what I have to share isn't about him. What I have to share is my story, my history, my past. Yes, it's only one side of the story, but in real life that's all I can share. I can tell you what's in my head, my heart, and my soul. I can show you the wounds I'm still recovering from. I can tell you what I lived through. But I cannot tell you his side of the story, because try as I might, I was never able to read his mind.
There are those who don't want me to tell you what I endured. There are those who won't believe me. There are those who will be angry with me. But that's okay, because I have had enough of letting the anger of others dictate my life. I'm free now. Free to tell you that sometimes the path you choose isn't easy. Free to tell you that sometimes those you love betray your trust. Free to show you that there is good and bad in everyone. Free to let you see through the door of my mind, and into my heart and past.
My husband was verbally and emotionally abusive. He was, in many ways, a good man. Outside of our relationship, he was patient, kind, and generous. But behind closed doors he was angry. He was so full of anger that he couldn't contain it, and it crashed down on his wife and children. Oh he never laid a hand on us. He never hit or shoved. He was never physically violent. Then again, he didn't have to be. His anger was enough to push us down where he could control us. Until I decided enough was enough.
He and I separated just over a month before he died. His life was falling to shit, and he wasn't able to cope with that. I know there are those who blame me for his death, those who say he only committed suicide because I ended our relationship. But the truth is, depression killed him. As surely as cancer kills.
Sometimes cancer is treatable and people recover. Sometimes depression is treatable, and people recover. Sometimes cancer is terminal, and there's nothing anyone can do. Sometimes depression is terminal, and there's nothing anyone can do.
I don't know if anyone could have helped him. I do know that his illness got in the way. The depression was so bad that he couldn't accept the help that was offered. We tried. He was in the hospital for over a month, and his death was a mere week after he was released. His mental state was such that nothing anyone said or did would have made a difference. He lied to his best friend about his plans. He went where no one would be able to find him in time. He knew what he was doing and it was deliberate. It was his choice. And no one carries the blame for it. Not even him. Because he didn't kill himself. Depression killed him, as surely as cancer kills.
My story is my story. My past is mine to tell. Some of it will be amazing, like our first anniversary. Some of it will be horror, like the day I realized I was afraid of my own husband. Some of it will be heart wrenching, like the day I realized I couldn't heal so long as we were together. Some of it will be joyous, like the day I watched my children face fears and overcome them.
But no matter what I tell you, no matter what truths you hear from me, I promise it will always be my story. It will always be the truth as I see it. And sadly, it will always only be one side of the story, because depression took him, and he cannot share his.