Three years ago at this very time, I couldn’t have imagined the unfathomable pain, heartbreak, and destruction that would be presented to my family just a few short hours later. I had heard my husband’s voice for the very last time, I had slept beside him for the very last time, I had kissed his lips for the very last time. Jay’s three boys had seen their Dad for the very last time. It was over. And we had absolutely no say-so in the situation. This post started as just a blog post – but I have so much I want to say to Jay, I thought writing him this letter would be better.
To my love, my Jay –
You have missed so much over the last 3 years. You missed Demitri’s law school graduation, you missed his beautiful wedding and your missing getting to have our sweet Sarah as your daughter-in-law. You missed every minute of our young son’s lives for the past three years. Christian playing football, growing into a young man, getting his license, getting a truck that you would not approve of buying him. Jacob starting high school, taking his permit test in a couple of weeks, everything that goes along with having teenage boys – you’ve missed. It’s not fair – it’s not fair to them, it’s not fair to me. Why did you get to decide that our lives would forever be changed?
As I’m sitting here at 3705 – where they found you – I keep asking myself how you got here? Physically and mentally. Just driving around? Trying to clear your head – remembered you’d bought a gun 3 days before and decided to stop the mental pain? Did you buy the gun with the intention of killing yourself? Did you think of us that morning? So many questions left unanswered – that we will never know the answers. Why did you get to decide the fate of mine and your children’s future?
I can’t hear your voice anymore. I can remember your funny and corny jokes – but I can’t hear your voice in my head anymore. Why? I can remember every single thing about you but I can’t hear your voice. I can see your hands, I can hear that weird sound you made to scratch your throat, but I can’t hear your voice anymore. I wonder if your boys can still hear your voice?
Three years you’ve been gone and the gut punch is still very real. Three years later and sometimes during the day, I feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach when my breath is stolen by the fact that you’re never coming back. As real and as raw as it was 3 years ago – it still feels the same today several times during the day, each and every day. You left a big mark on this world, Jay, you are missed more than you could even imagine. Your colleagues still talk about you and how much you are missed, your parents still have your portrait by the fireplace and your Mom still looks at it every day and tells you “Hi”. Do you even know how profound your absence is here?
Did you know that for the past 3 years – Poppy has been letting his “beard” grow during March to honor you? I still think he’s a little jealous that you could grow a beard in 2 days and it takes him a month for stubble. Did you know that he still talks about you all the time and what a wonderful son-in-law you were to him? Do you know?
Although your earthly presence is missing from this impossible world – your spirit is all around. I see you in Christian’s face and in his sense of humor and in his hands. Christian stands just like you for pictures and I wonder if you taught him that or it’s just what he does. I don’t see much of you physically in Jacob because he is all me but he still has your top lip and definitely your warped sense of humor. Do you know that he refuses to wear his insulin POD or GCM? Do you know how hard raising teenagers alone is, much less one with Jacob’s medical issues? I see you in Demitri each and every time I see him but especially when he’s dressed business attire. And guess what, the older he gets, the more he has your “Mike Brady-isms”. Your spirit and your memory live on and your worldly presence is sorely missed each and every day.
I wore your wedding ring today to honor you. Looking at it just now – I realized you had your wedding ring on your left hand at the moment you pulled the trigger – with your left hand. In pictures of you – I look at your left hand and think about that being the hand that would take your life. I can still see the inscription on the inside of your band “to my sweetest gift” – you were the sweetest gift I ever received. Did you remember what a sweet gift you were when you pulled the trigger?
Do I get pissed at you for leaving? Absolutely. Did it take me a long time to admit that? Definitely. We’ve gone through some things, especially lately (that I will not discuss here) that have made me say out loud “What kind of man leaves a wife and 3 sons? What kind of man leaves knowing the destruction that can be left behind? What kind of man leaves just before his two youngest sons become teenagers when they need him most? Who does that?
I know through my 3 years of therapy that you didn’t think of or remember any of these things. I know more about a suicidal mind than I ever thought possible. I grew up thinking that people who completed suicides were the most selfish people. I know now that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Although I cannot physically and mentally completely understand how bad your psychache was – I have read numerous times from people who were suicidal and didn’t complete their act of how much they hurt, some have compared it to your mind feeling like black tar, all have said that they cannot think of anything else other than what a burden they are to their families and how to make the pain stop. The suicidal mind makes you believe that your loved ones will be better off without you here, they don’t have to deal with your emotions, that your death would be a burden lifted. Ufnortaunltey – you don’t know what you don’t know. You didn’t think it could get better, your inadequate doctor did a shitty job and never made the referral to a mental health professional. You didn’t know that it could get better. Your mental illness robbed you from those that love you the most. Those who would have understood and gotten you the help you so desperately needed and deserved. Unfortunately – I didn’t know then what I know now, but I can promise you this my precious husband – until the last breath I take I will advocate for you, I will advocate for mental health awareness, I will advocate for doctors to do better and make the referral, I will advocate for men to speak up. I will advocate and be the voice that you couldn’t be. I will NEVER allow your death to not have a purpose. If our story can save one life (and it has) – it won’t make the pain of your loss any easier – but it will make it more bearable.
I love you, my sweet husband, I can promise you that your memory will be Eternal. Kiss the angels for me today and send me a sign to let me know you’re looking down on us at the Cemetary at 2pm – that you know we are there with Fr. Michael and The Bishop celebrating the time we had with you and mourning your death at the same time.
Always your wife,