Sunday, April 18, 2010


When you experience an extreme irrevocable trauma like we did when we lost Kelsey, it's kind of like being dropped suddenly into the bottom of a deep well with no provisions.  I have this mental picture of that well in The Ring, remember that movie?  You wallow around in there for a while, maybe looking for a door or another easy way out that isn't there, some of us longer than others, then you have to make a decision:  you are either going to climb up and out or stay down there and die.  And, I'm finding, it's every man for himself on the way up.  It is very hard to reach out to help someone else when you're clinging to dear life yourself.  Did I really think it would be straight shot up to the top of the well?  Well, yes, actually, I think I did.  I think I sold myself that bill of goods so I'd have the courage to even try it.  The fact that it isn't, apparently, comes as no particular surprise however.  What did surprise me was that I got pulled back down by a member of my own party.

When we all got back from Washington, we all had to re-evaluate where we were down in the well.  And, without exception, we had slid back down the walls at least a bit.  For my husband, he really hadn't made it very far up to begin with.  I may never be able to know his thought process, but from my observation post he finally got to the point where he had to do something to get himself climbing or he was going to die down there in that well.  How he decided to help himself is the controversy.  He mentioned vaguely one time a few weeks ago as I was trying to head out the door for work that he wanted to make a dramatic change, but promised we would discuss at length before he did anything.  Last Monday, again as I'm trying to pour coffee into the travel mug to head to work, he announced a major decision.  One he has not shared with the rest of his family, and he has asked that I not divulge (and, of course, some of them check into this blog from time-to-time, hence the vagueness).  One I agree that, in the long term, he should pursue, but not the way he's doing it.   For a couple of reasons:  he'll be left with no direction, no reason to even get out of bed in the morning, no matter how much he hates what pulls him up.  And, secondly, we have bills to pay.  If you can't figure it out from there, well...

I was sent reeling by this decision.  And it's hard to know what the right thing to do is.  For me, this is catastrophic on many levels, but can I really deny him what he thinks he needs to get past this dark place in his life?  Am I obligated to stay and support him (literally and figuratively) while he works through this?  Within a few short days of my blogging about the state of our marriage in comparison with the dire predictions facing most couples coping with a loss, I am suddenly not at all sure we won't fall into that 75%-80% category.  Is grief recovery really that selfish?  Because what he is choosing to do is extremely selfish.  My reaction to it equally so.  Does it have to be in order to get past it?  Who knows, this is stuff grief counselors are paid to help with, but who can afford that now?  The isolation I feel suddenly is pretty complete.  I am left contemplating how quickly things can change for the worse, but how hard fought every little joy or measure of comfort is.

What's that?  Have I talked to him about it?  Oh, hell no.  I have not.  I know that I should, but when I contemplate how I can tell him how this is impacting me without trying to tear him down or belittle his own need for recovery, it doesn't play out well.  And, I think he's not ready to handle his part of the conversation well either.  It's pretty clear he's on a power play, and I'm just a penalty killer, trying to keep him from scoring his goal.  I'm on the other team right now.  And, frankly, I'm not up for a fight.  I have a lot of work to do trying to sort through the jumble of Mother's affairs, liquidate her stuff that's jammed in those expensive storage units.  I have a job, thank you very much.  I simply do not have the energy to handle this. How can he believe I really do want him to be happy again, or at least find some measure of peace, when I'm not sure he's pursuing the right course and he is so convinced he is?  Because, who knows, maybe for him he is.  Everything is a jumble.  Oh, and by the way, Big Ben, opening up my home page every single day to see your face attached to some new piece of information about what a scumbag you are IS NOT HELPING!!

The only conclusion I've made so far is that the worst part about the well is that it's so dark and cold in there, it's very difficult to find your way.  

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