Who knew that something so simple would be so hard? A little packet of Kleenex from the Red Roof Inn. Do you know how many nights we’ve spent in hotel rooms over the years? We had a routine, and I loved those nights and truck stops and rest areas; it always meant we were traveling. We were going somewhere. If we weren’t in our camp tent, then Joe preferred the Red Roof. He wanted to be parked right outside our room— easy in, easy out. We would linger between the truck and the room, and often he was grilling. Real tailgating
I’m gonna miss all that. I already do.
These are the things I can’t stop thinking about.
I get myself (my mind) in a good place…
“Marie, Joe is gone. His work here is done. He’s no longer suffering. The pain has ended. He is at peace. He is free.”
And then… one little kleenex packet and I immediately see us pulling up in Plymouth, or Frankfort, or St. Charles, setting up our booth, talking to our friends, our customers, doing the things we did for so many years—and I have a tough time accepting that it’s over. How? How is this possible?! How is that part of my life just gone?!
Joe was my protector. How could he leave me? But he wasn’t “only” my protector, he was also my teacher. My god, he taught me so much! He couldn’t hear his own voice- telling him all the things he’d always told me, and he couldn’t hear mine, either. His frame of mind at the end? Well, he was a different man. Joe had slipped away. And the shell that was left—the body— was wholly consumed with anxiety and fear. He did not believe he was coming back from this. We often talked throughout our marriage about suffering and death and how neither of us would want to be kept alive by a machine. It was so important to him; no suffering.
When my dad was barely breathing, and his heart would not stop beating we all wanted it to be over. For him. For us. For weeks we watched over him… “Is he still breathing?” It was so painful to witness. I was praying for the torture to end, we all were. And now it’s the reminder that I need to keep moving on— he’s no longer in pain. It was different for Joe, but he was suffering in a big way.
There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.Laurell K. Hamilton
And still… I’m trying to focus on the good things and the good people that have surrounded me since June 26, 2020. Everyone has their own way of dealing with death, and this responsibility of taking care of one another, checking in, and offering support or comfort, giving gifts in the form of knowledge or experience—having HARD conversations when needed… it’s all so appreciated—those gestures mean more than I can ever say. When you’ve experienced a loss like this, it gives new meaning to the word community. Some can handle it, and some can’t. We’re all going to do what makes us feel safe and comfortable… until.
Until we don’t.
Until we decide to rise to the challenge–to say what needs to be said and hear what needs to be heard; to ask empowering questions, not pretend it hasn’t happened. It may not be comfortable…hard to say and even harder to hear but still necessary for true growth. Because remember… if you don’t deal with your shit, your shit will deal with you!
Joe said in his suicide note that he was a coward. That was difficult for me to read and couldn’t be any further from the truth. He was bold and courageous. He didn’t like confrontation, but he never had a problem walking into a conversation that needed to happen or away from anyone that was bringing him down, including himself, in the end. But the moment and manner of his death will not define his life.
I didn’t think it could happen to me.
In my mind, I never thought Joe would leave me; he would always be here. I also never thought I was asking the question, “Why me?” because I’ve always believed, (or so I thought), “Why not me?” But isn’t “thinking” –it couldn’t happen to me– the same as asking “why me?” I think it is. So I’m careful now to make sure I’m empowering myself with the right words. And WHY NOT ME? is a call to action.
WHY NOT ME? —to start the conversation, to talk about death by suicide and child abuse, talk about truth, trauma, and love and loss, grief and growing stronger because of it? To radiate light and the possibility of healing these deep, deep wounds.
Fear is only the absence of love. Please do not give it power. Love is the most potent force on the planet.
I believe we can do better. Listen better and love better— ourselves first, and then everyone else. And please… let’s all stop hurting each other.
I love you so much.
xo, and peace. Always peace.
If anything I’ve said feels right (or wrong)… share some 💗 ⬇️ if it feels right.
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I just want the pain to stop… (video)