The Tracker: Your wife love you as strong? We’ll find her. But when we find her nothing will make her recognize you. Nothing will break her denial. It’s stronger than her love. In fact, reinforced by her love. You can say everything you long to say, including good-bye. Even if she can’t understand it. And you’ll have the satisfaction that you didn’t give up. That has to be enough.
Chris Nielsen: You just get me there, I’ll decide what’s enough.
“As her analyst had told her: the deeper buried the distress, the further into the body it went. The digestive system was about as far as it could go to hide.”
― Richard Matheson, What Dreams May Come
“I couldn’t tell you, Robert, what the higher ramifications are of being soul mates. I can tell you this however. As long as you are separated from your own, that long are you troubled. No matter what the circumstances, no matter how exquisite the environment in which you find yourself. To be half”
― Richard Matheson, What Dreams May Come
If hard times build character, I’m now selling it. After losing my baby, my career, and everything that made me who I thought I was, I lost my best friend. And here’s where I am now. Having a record year.
It’s been four and a half months with very little break in financial crisis, crippling loneliness, and the inability to physically care for the land. He comes back from time to time—and during those times, I hold hope for recovery of life. And then, he’s gone again. No phone calls, no evidence of concern for me or my health or heart. He’s a narcissist right now, but he wasn’t always like this. I’ve read all of the articles. I know I should be angry, vengeful, justified in anything I do now. I hear it from everyone I know, from my old academic friends, my lawyer(s), my sons, my tribe. Let’s see, I’ve heard:
You will find love again.
He isn’t the man you used to love—he’s a monster now.
No one will ever forgive him if he did come back.
Divorce him and make him pay for what he’s done.
He definitely has a girlfriend—why else would he not let you know where he sleeps?
You could have always done better.
He’ll never get therapy.
And when they stop saying these things, they don’t want to talk to me anymore. I’m a “doormat,” “refusing to see reality,” and “not thinking of those who love me.” And I’ve tried to tell them, to explain how the sweetest, most empathetic man in the world came to this moment. Here’s who he used to be:
The guy who would retrieve my lipstick if it started to fade at a party.
The man who called me four, five times a day just to hear my voice.
The husband who put his entire check into the bank every Friday, no matter what.
The fella who kept the yard cut, built me a hot house, printed pics of flowers in February for me when the winter blues became unbearable.
The love of my life.
No one cares to hear these things anymore. He’s now the man who doesn’t care if I land in the hospital, eat real food or cry myself to sleep. What happened?
I lost my child. And I didn’t get help. Then I lost another child. And I didn’t get help. Then I lost my career. And I didn’t get help. In my grief, I pushed him away. Wouldn’t hold his hand. Criticized every moment, refused flowers, sunk into a living hell so thick and vicious that it broke him into this shell of a human. And when I did get therapy, dealt with it all finally, he was left in that horror place. Alone.
I’ve tried reasoning with him. Loving him. I’ve let him stay here, given him my vehicle, showed up at the hospital for him, assured him that he can heal, too. He’s cruel now, and I suppose my friends and family have had enough of it. They want to only see this version of him. No one believes in miracles anymore.
He asked me once, somewhere right after we fell apart and he ran to the woods, why I loved him. I suppose I could have said all the things men want to hear: because you are handsome, smart, creative, wonderful. I answered the truth: because of the way you loved me. I don’t think he heard me. Anyone who could have withstood my hell is a saint. Of course he broke. And now, everyone I know wants me to wipe my hands of him as if he were the bad dream. But I know the truth.
I owe him this.
There are very torturous moments for me, moments that I cannot turn to him about or they only break him more. (I’ve tried. Not a good move.) I lie awake at night and wonder if the shell of the man that exists now ever loved me. I rail at him for not being stronger, more noble, in my head. I sit here alone in the dark and think of not breathing again the next day. I’ve torn up our pictures, slipped off my ring, slept on the porch, and texted him until my screen shattered. This hell is, in the end, worse than losing my daughter. Irony, yes?
Yet, once upon a time: he loved me better than anyone ever has. No one knows this but me. There has never been a more gentle hand on mine. When my heart would get out of rhythm (atrial fibrillation), he would pull me close to his and ask me to sync them. If mine were to stop, so would his. Stand together, fall together. He loved me so much that he couldn’t bear to be separated in our dreams and would come find me, take my hand, and walk through whatever torturous memory I dreamt. He may not have been academically brilliant (although he is smarter than many), or wealthy, or even a good singer (lord, was he always off key): but that man loved a woman better and harder and more selflessly than any man ever has or ever will again on this Earth. This made him a super hero. Noble. Strong. And so, I wait. Right now, he needs to blame me for that dark time, not the trauma. No amount of clinical explanation for PTSD resulting from PPD helps. As he says: “You don’t remember. But I lived through every moment.” And now, I will. We both went through hell—I just came out. Stood on the grass, looked around, and found myself alone.
There’s this scene in “What Dreams May Come” that haunts me. See, this whole time, I’ve been resentful because I thought he didn’t sink to save me—but that’s not true. He’s just still there. Because of me. Because he tried to save me and got stuck. He loved me too much.
And so, I must go back there and fight with him or die with him. I selfishly tried to forget, breathe up here, blame him and move on with my life as I’ve been advised to do. But none of you knew us, really. Who we were, what we had. I’ve decided to go down with the ship, much to the chagrin and pain of everyone who has ever loved me.
My heart is on that ship. Might as well.
Wish us luck. But send your energy and prayers to him.
If you are experiencing PTSD from PPD, get help. For both of you. Also, click HERE.