There are so many incredible things that happen when you are married to the right person and you let go of the junk and just let yourselves connect with each other. The world becomes a less harsh place because you have each other to lean on and go through life together. It happens in friendships and other relationships too, to a degree, but not like it does in a marriage. In our marriage, I was part of a great team. I was loved like I had wanted and needed to be my whole life. I was safe.
I think often about when we were first married and had to deal with some pretty ugly family issues right up front. After a horrible confrontation, we went home and he held me so tight while I cried. Held me as long as I needed him to. He got on the phone to try and remedy the issue and gathered the troops of other family members to make the situation right. I knew he would protect me when push came to shove. I knew that I would always have him in my corner. It was an incredible feeling. Trust has always been a hard thing for me, but there were times when I trusted him so completely. I never felt more safe in my life. Not ever.
Moving to a new city where I had no support system proved to be pretty difficult for me. It was scary, stressful and triggered a lot of fear. It did for him too. Imagine, living alone, keeping your world simple, bare and drama free. Then, these 2 fun-loving, singing, lively, loud and loving women move into your house with their little barking dog. They change everything around. Paint, put up shelves, bring clutter and mess into your quiet, minimalist life. But, they also make life warm and full and happy. They fill your house with laughter, good food, love, caring, forgiveness and a bit of drama. For a man with anxiety issues... Well, let's just say it was overwhelming at times. Sometimes it was so frustrating for both of us. But, sometimes he would look at me and smile and just revel in his new life and take it in. Those are the memories I cherish the most. Being part of that loving partnership.
Nobody's perfect. Although we did our best to not bring old baggage in, those old tapes would find a way back into our heads and really mess things up. He would forget we were a team and make these unilateral decisions that drove me bananas. I would forget how trustworthy he had proved himself to be and hide my hurt behind anger for protection and hold a grudge and shut myself off for a short time. Sometimes the rifts were easy to recover from, sometimes it would take longer, but we would find a way and reconnect, closer than ever. We would lie in bed, in the dark and just talk. Talk about what happened, talk about how to do it differently next time, talk about how much we loved each other, talk about being together for the rest of our lives. There would there were times I would ask him
to take off his wedding ring because I needed to talk to my best friend
about what a jerk my husband was being. So, even in the rough times I was safe and cherished because of all he was to me.
On especially bad days for me, where connecting with words wasn't enough, he would take making me feel safe to a new level. (The first time he tried this, I thought he was crazy!!) He would lay me down on our bed face down and he would lay on top of me and wrap his legs around mine, cradle my head and just whisper to me, "I've got you, Peanut. You are OK, Baby. I'm here and nothing is going to hurt you." I would lay there, surrounded by him until the fear or nightmares went away and I could just feel safe, loved, warm and cared for by him. It was, by far, the most amazing feeling I have ever experienced. Nothing in my life had come close to that before. Nothing. It was so pure, raw, intimate and caring. We took such great care of each other. It wasn't perfect and there were times we failed each other, but there was always forgiveness and understanding and safety. If we only knew what was coming, maybe we both could have been better prepared.
When the depression took over and he attempted suicide the first time on May 1, 2012, I had to step completely into the caretaker role. I took over everything. I wanted him to focus on getting better, going to treatment and healing. Get on top of the depression and anxiety again. I took over the finances, I was the only income earner, I took care of all the business and he helped with the household duties as much as he could. I had to turn off my emotional needs to keep afloat and take care of everything I had to for the next 14 months. As he got worse, I so wanted to be surrounded by him again, I wanted desperately to feel safe again, but he couldn't. He did try. He tried so hard. Some days the depression was just too overwhelming and simply getting out of bed was a horrible ordeal. I wanted him to fight for his life, but he just couldn't. But, I still hoped. And hoped. And hoped. Hoped that things would get better for him and us, that we would get our marriage back, our love back. Be a team again.
The day he died and for weeks afterward, I was beyond lost. My world had turned upside down and still has not turned back. I was shocked, hurt, in so much pain. I was abandoned, alone and wanted to die. Fear engulfed me. I looked for him everywhere to pull me out of the deep, dark pit I found myself in, but he was no longer there to turn to. 5 months into this journey now, and the shock has worn off. I now know he
is gone and not coming back, no matter how hard I cry, scream, wail,
beg and pray for it. My best friend, lover, husband, partner and soul
mate is no longer part of this earth and is now part of Heaven and I know I
will see him again someday.
But, at night, when the world is quiet and I'm alone in the bed we shared, I lay down on my belly and long to feel him envelope me, cover me, cradle my head and whisper those words that always brought me so much comfort. Most nights I'm left feeling so scared, so fearful, so anxious, so alone. I lie there in tears and wonder "Will I ever feel safe again?" I sometimes dress one of my pillows in his t-shirts that still carry his scent, cuddle up, hold it tight, trying so desperately to feel him close to me again. Nights have become so much harder.
There are some nights though, every once in a while, where I do feel him, or at least I believe I do. Those nights are my
favorite. I can lie there, feel him near and remember. I feel warmth on those nights, I feel comfort and peace. I feel safer... I still long to feel him covering me, but feeling him near helps so much and I'm grateful for those moments. They make the days ahead just a bit easier.