I have been asked many times how my husband died and for all these weeks I have been at a loss for words. As this year comes to close and the new year is slowly approaching, I want to be finished with that painful question.
It is with a very heavy heart that I say, September 5 John committed suicide, after a battle with depression.
I did find him. It is a scene that will be with me until the day I die; the second I walked in the room, before I even saw him on the bed, I knew death was present. Death is quite and very still; it hangs in the air and freezes all movement and time. I knew he gone before I even found him. The angel of death is swift, certain and unforgiving.
I have been left with great wondering. I wonder what he was feeling in the last minutes of his beautiful life. I wonder why he did not call me, or his family or his friends, or anyone. I wonder what he thought about when he loaded the gun, looked at the pictures of our sweet children, as he sat on the bed and texted each of us, ‘I love you’. I wonder what he felt in the final moments as he laid down and I wonder what his last thought was as he put the gun to his head. I wonder if he finally felt a sense of peace that his terrible pain would be over in a matter of seconds and I wonder if he heard the gunshot or if he felt any pain. I wonder many things. Sometimes, all fucking night long, I wonder.
I have had the private and spiritual privilege to witness incredible pain in the lives of others. I consider it, and always have, an honor to walk families and addicts through their darkest days. I have sat with a family as they told their 21-year-old son, as he came out of a coma, that while driving drunk in a black out, he killed a family of 5 and would be spending the majority his life in San Quentin. I have sat at the grave site of a 55 year mother who died in her sleep from drinking, while her sweet children slept in their rooms and finally I have sat with a father who lost 2 of his 3 kids to a drunk driver, as he sobbed and screamed beneath the crushing and insurmountable pain of the loss of his beloved children and I have watched each of these families, in time, know a new happiness and find meaning in their loss. I have found solace in the knowing that I cannot bare wittiness to the grace of god in the lives of others and not believe that same grace will be fall me and mine.
It is said that pain is the touchstone to spiritual growth and I understand this now in new way. My heart has been broken, wide open, vulnerable, exposed, as if I am without skin. I am able to feel different, more and deeper. I am able love and laugh and cry in a way I could not before. I can see more clearly the pain in others and have a deeper understanding of the fear that can strangle slowly the life vibration out of a living being as they sit by helplessly and watch a loved one slip away into the dark. I have a new compassion for the helplessness and a new appreciation for the amount of love it takes to truly let someone go, knowing full well, you may never see them alive again.
The pain of the last four months has, at times, left me with a feeling of wanting to retreat, as if he blew a huge hole right through the middle of my life, and all I have built is being sucked through the gaping wound. My faith was shaken, my legs weak and my heart broken but I as I caught my breath and my balance, I have emerged with a new and fierce motivation to rise above. I will not have John’s suicide define my children or me. I have worked each day for 18 years to heal, recover and to find the strength to face the world, chest forward, head up, and step into the life I was meant to live, with passion and purpose. I have a renewed inspiration to be of service and to fight and wage the war against addiction.
In this new year, I recommit myself and my purpose to fighting, encouraging, inspiring and illuminating the way of the dark and into recovery, where a new life, a new hope and a new existence can be had by anyone who is broken and brave enough to simply surrender.
I have been down the last many months but I am not out. I am back and I am ready for 2012.
Thank you again for your unwavering support, thoughts, prayers and emails. You each have helped carry me through some of the most difficult days of my life.
Sober and Shameless.