I wish I could go back several years. Several years ago was perfect, or at least I thought it was, or maybe you worked so hard to make it perfect when deep down you were falling apart? I’m still trying to pinpoint where it all went wrong. Was it when we would argue? That you would feel so helpless. You used to tell me, “I hate hurting you, I can’t take it anymore”…..but I could. I met your darkness, I met your weakness, I matched your anger and I never backed down, because I believed, because I took a vow. When I said I was done, it was like I was uttering the words, but not knowing what I was really saying; I didn’t mean it. I watched your heart breaking right in front of me…..and then explode. I tried to pick up the pieces and put them back together, I did everything I could to put them back in place, but you wouldn’t let me; you were done too. I sat on the floor crying, trying to find some way to make this better, trying to find some way to take back what I said; I begged, I pleaded, I screamed, I got in your face…I looked into the eyes of a man I did not recognize anymore, he was too far gone. You placed your wedding ring on the edge of the bed when I wasn’t looking, you told me again, “I can’t hurt you anymore, and I can’t see you in pain like this…because of me”. But you couldn’t see, this wasn’t because of you, this was marriage, it’s not easy, we argue, we get angry, we work it out; we always do. But no, you were done too. You worked hard for all these years to make my life perfect. You loved extra hard. You went a mile longer to make me smile.
You gave me a fairytale marriage. You would leave me notes every morning saying you loved me. You sent me flowers almost weekly. You fought for us with love. You didn’t let anything come too close that could hurt me. All this, because you never wanted me to feel slightly the way you did. But this is marriage, it’s not perfect, sometimes it’s downright dirty, and you refused to settle for that; no, you wanted a fairytale marriage in all its perfection, and when it wasn’t, you felt like a failure; but you weren’t. Why couldn’t you see that? Where did it all go wrong? You became more and more frustrated with yourself, we couldn’t understand why you were forgetting things so much; the signs were there. Something wasn’t right, this wasn’t you. Then, in July we sat looking at the MRI scans….you fell apart and started apologizing for failing me. I was confused, failing me? How? I think that’s when. When we finally had an answer for all these symptoms. TBI. White matter was spreading, collapsed ventricles, a shift to the left side, severe vertigo, tinnitus; now what? A prognosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s, but we can prolong it. Suddenly depression like I had never seen began to overwhelm us both, anger like I had never seen.
You walked out that door, it slammed on Sawyer and me, but I somehow ran after you and screamed out to the neighborhood for help. The rest is still a blur until I hear the gun shots. I guess many don’t know I was there when this all happened, that I saw you, that I heard everything. My biggest regret is not telling you I was there when I had the chance; maybe things would be different if I told you, “I’m here”. I should have forced my way up there and knocked on your door. They keep telling me, it could have been much worse if you had; how? How is anything worse than this? I followed you anywhere, anyway. And our children, our children. Looking into our sons eyes and having to tell him his daddy is gone forever; the confusion on his face; the demanding tone, “my dad?!?, my dad?!?” “Yes baby, I’m so sorry, your dad”, “WHY?, WHAT HAPPENED?” He had the same tone I did at the hospital, an uncontrollable yell. Then he fell into my arms and cried and just as quickly as he fell apart, he left the room and ran downstairs. He will never be the same little boy. He’s still sweet, kind, and caring; but his innocence is gone. His little heart that believed nothing bad could ever happen is shattered and tainted with anger, confusion, and grief. How could someone so small deal with the incomprehensible? But he is. He is your son. He is facing it, because he has no choice, but mostly because he is brave. Every day he demands an apology he will probably never get; lives were changed forever, but my son does not get his father home again, his father was not a “bad guy”, he was one of the “good guys”, he needed help, he deserved to remain the best father. He didn’t deserve any of this, our son certainly did not. I pray that someday, someone, can look our son in the eyes, get down to his level, and give him the apology he so desperately needs for healing.