My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Happily Ever After

Almost a week has gone by since my last post. I've started to write several times and just haven't had much to say. Work is good. My back is bad. The weather's nice. Same old stuff.

But today is not just another day. It's the anniversary of the day, four years ago, that I could have - and would have - died. Ironically, on that day I thought that I was powerless to change the unbearable circumstances of my life... and unable to continue life the way it was. And yet, that day that marked the beginning of a season of change that I couldn't have imagined.

My friend Joey used to say that suicide was a permanent solution to a temporary problem. The problems I had four years ago are so far behind in my rear view mirror that I can barely remember them. And don't want to.

The short version of the story, in case you missed it, bad marriage + discovery that husband was cheating = overdose. Husband knew I had overdosed and left me in my room, dying, for several hours then finally decided to take me to the E.R. I spent the next three days in ICU, the three days after that on psych hold and then got the heck out of dodge.

It was about as quick as that last paragraph sounds. I literally walked out of the doors of the hospital and into the arms of my waiting friend, A.T., my two oldest children and my oldest brother. We packed up, withdrew Austin from school, stopped long enough for me to get a manicure (because every major life change should include a decent manicure and blood red acrylic nails) we broke my piggy bank to rent a U-Haul and then loaded up the truck with as much of my stuff as we could and headed to North Georgia. We made it to the mountains on the evening of September 26th where my sister-in-law had a pot of chili waiting for us.

From Hell to Helen, we called it. It was not without drama - there was this really sad, pathetic encounter with the husband in the parking lot of the hotel where we were staying the night after I left the hospital (because it was decided that it was a bad idea for me to stay where things had gone so terribly wrong for me). I stood in the parking lot talking to him while he gave me back my wedding rings (that I thought would finance my escape - until I realized that they were fake - nothing like having some hillbilly pawn shop owner say, "Oh honey... you think these are real, don't you?") He had the audacity to tell me that if I left him HE had nothing left to live for. Except the woman he was cheating on me with, of course. My sons, brother and friend stood in the parking lot watching over the exchange and making sure he didn't do anything to hurt me.

No. He had lost his power to wound me. The hurt had already happened and the healing had begun. Four years ago, my life started over again. This time - these last four years - were borrowed time, bonus time, time that I wouldn't have had.

The last four years haven't been easy. I worked hard and suffered a lot - first due to the lung damage that we discovered that led to several bouts of bronchitis and pneumonia and then due to the crippling back pain that reared it's ugly head. I made a lot of great friends but I was alone way too much. I have lost - and gained - forty pounds. I kissed a few frogs that didn't turn into princes. My house got struck by lightning and we had to move abruptly. I guided a child through four years of high school and watched him leave the nest. I had my car repossessed. I had my power shut off once. I had my water shut off once. I had my satellite and internet shut off more than once. I lost my job and suffered through quite a few indignities from that.

Yet. Here I am. Still standing. Since my attempt,  I have a friend who lost his brother to suicide - he couldn't live with chronic back pain, ironically. I met and swooned over a young man who lost his wife to suicide. My dear, sweet friend wrote a book about her husband's suicide and that book is now set for release, the story of her journey as a survivor. They're everywhere, people touched by this epidemic of suicide.

Yesterday we had stormy weather. As I was driving home from work there were dark, grey clouds swirling all around, ominous and menacing. And there, between the grey was one tiny patch of blue in the middle of the storm. I thought... "wow... the blue is always there, sometimes you just can't see it." The blue is permanent and the grey is temporary. And that simple epiphany describes my bonus years. I've learned to trust that the blue is there, even when all I can see is grey. Not knowing what your next step should be doesn't mean that you have to end your journey.

Four years ago I stopped being a victim and became a survivor. And I lived happily ever after.


kathyj333 said...

I want to say thank you for this post. Even though it may sound crass, it's nice to know other people suffer life too. Thanks for making my realize that I'm not alone.

Patty said...

And this is why I've been reading your blog ... but more importantly keeping tabs on my dear friend ... for about 9 years now.

I look back, and I just know that you helped me get through raising my kids, you gave my kids a better mommy, and you gave me such an enlightened outlook. You inspired me then, in a huge way ... and you still do today. You've made such a difference in my life, Heather ... you just will never know.

I will message you soon with an update of all the big things that I have had the courage and confidence to tackle lately ... largely because of the way you taught me to faithfully give my best. You thought my love story and marriage where big? Wait till you hear where my husband and I traveled to last month ... and why?!

Love you, my dear.

Kelly Dawn said...

I remember talking to you in some of those days before and after - i remember sadness and resignation in your voice....and though you didnt know it at that moment becuase you obviously not thinking about me (I cant imagine - wink) this day 4 years ago was also the anniverary of my little brothers death which was originally ruled a suicide....

I love you and I am so glad that you are here to keep me giggling smiling and thinking...every day...

by the way we have not talked in forever and a day....

Lea said...

Wow, what a testimony. I am so glad you chose to live through what had to be hellish get to something better. Sharing your story helps others (like me!) God bless!!!