Monday, April 26, 2010

Becoming An Only Parent; Part 5



In February 2001, I told my husband I would be filing for divorce.  I had been living with my mother and her husband for almost a year.  Due to his continuous relapses and unwillingness to come be honest in therapy, we were no closer to reconciliation than the day I moved out.  It broke my heart to know the man I married was lost somewhere inside the broken man he had become.

The details surrounding his death are very blurry to me.  I have blocked most of them out.  What I do know is this:

My husband was a Board Certified Optician.  He travelled extensively for work and we would often go for days on end without hearing from him.  At 2:00 am, Febrary 26, 2001, I received a phone call.  It was my husband.  He told me he was sorry for all of the heartache he had put me through.  He knew when we got married, I didn't believe in divorce and he was sorry that his actions and behaviors had brought me to that point.  He thanked me for bringing The Boy and The Girl into the world and told me that he knew of no better person to raise children with love and direction.  He asked that as they grew, I share with them stories of their father.  He hoped that I would tell them about books he loved, animals he loved, places he loved, and things he loved.  He also asked that I protect them from stories about his shortcomings and flaws.  He knew that he had done me wrong in a lot of ways, but he hoped that I would only share positive memories of him with our children

I asked him why he was saying all of these things.  I remember telling him, divorce doesn't mean you will never see them again.  Then he told me...

Prior to calling me, he had ingested 3 bottles of sleeping pills and 2 bottles of wine.  He was crying.  He said he never wanted to put me through all of this and he was very sorry.  He informed me that he would probably be dead within 3 hours.  I freaked out.

I demanded to know where he was.  He wouldn't tell me.  He was calling from a cell phone and there was no way to locate him.  He asked me to not try to find him.  I remember him telling me repeatedly that my and the children's lives would be better this way.  I was very angry.  We argued for a good half hour and then he told me he had to go.  His last words to me were, "I have always loved you."  My last words to him were, "Fuck you for being so God damn selfish."

As I said, most details are a blur.  I was up most of the night crying and trying to find him.  He did not answer any of my calls when I tried to call him back.  I was a wreck.

Around dinner time on the 26th, an officer came to the door of my mother's house.  He informed me that my husband's body had been found in a hotel room near Denver.  I would be receiving a call from the Denver County coroner shortly.  I don't remember my reaction.  I don't remember talking to the coroner.  I know that I was able to identify his body over the telephone by describing his tattoos.

It has been 9 years since that phone call.  Describing it still puts a pain in my chest.  I remember driving toward Denver on the BFFRT this year and feeling sick to my core.  Just the idea of being near to where he died made me ill.

Drug addiction ruins lives.  Suicide ruins lives.  Untreated depression ruins lives.  Because of these things, my children have no father.  My children have no idea what life with a father would be like.  My children have no concept of what a father's role is.  If you, or anyone you love is afflicted by these conditions, GET HELP!!!  It doesn't just affect the individual!  It affects EVERYONE in that person's life!!! 

Today, all my children know is that dad was sick and dad died.  I share with them happy memories of their father.  Just today, on our way home from the zoo, we drove by the home we lived in prior to his death.  It is important to me that my children know where they come from.  I will continue to share with them stories of their father, and someday, when they are older, I will share with then the truth.



51 comments:

Dual Mom said...

Wow. I'm speechless.

You're an incredible woman. To have lived through this. For being strong enough to survive this experience. For being able to have the strength to only show your children the good parts of their father.

blueviolet said...

My heart just aches for you. I'm sorry that it had to happen that way and that he couldn't be the father and husband he might have been. I applaud that you are able to share positive memories with your kids and I pray for the strength on the day when you fill in the missing pieces.

BigSis said...

I agree with Dual Mom. You are such a strong woman - what a great role model - to your kids and others of us who need it. Thank you for sharing your story with us!

And, I love the new look on the blog. I've been out of touch for a few days, so I may be belated with the compliment, but it looks great!

singedwingangel said...

Wow. My sister went through much the same thing with her middle child's father. HE was an alcoholic..and chose toend his own life. Only he didn't call her she found out 6 weeks later..

Daffy said...

You have so much wisdom to share with us. Thank you for being the phenomenal woman you are and letting us into your life.

I know I am a better person for it!

June said...

Thanks for sharing your story with us. All of the chapters had to be very difficult to write an Ward & I were very moved to read your story.

You are a strong woman who loves her babies with all her heart,even on the bad days. Good for you to keep the positive in focus when there is such a cloud of negative when talking about Dad.

Hugs.
Juney

Travis said...

This was an amazing post, and you are an amazing women who is very strong. I love the fact that one day you will be completely honest with your kids. The world needs more of that.

Keep your head up and your butt low, darlin. It will only get better from here.

Jessica said...

I can't imagine how much it took to post that and share it with all your readers. I just hope that I never have to understand the situation that you're in, but I also hope for so much for your children! I feel for you!

Andrea (ace1028) said...

Thank you for being brave enough to share your story with us. I will continue to admire you for your strength, and the ability to stay strong and powerful for your family. I am so sorry that you have had to experience this in your lifetime. Much love to you, Mama.

Two Normal Moms said...

You are a strong lady and incredibly brave and strong. Kudos to you for sharing the positive with your kids and helping them feel that connection.
***Ally

Holy Hannah said...

you make me want to cry!

anya said...

I think you are a hero and I know your children do too.
Thank you for touching us with this story of your experience.

Nancy C said...

This is remarkable. I hope that the writing and sharing of your story has helped you on your journey.

Candice said...

Wow..

I'm not even sure what to say.

I'm so sad for you and your kids, but I can also see why you would be so angry as well. What a horrible position to be put in. I can't even imagine.

You're a very strong woman. Thank you for sharing your story.

The Blue Zoo said...

You are such a good mom K. And so brave, and strong. I think its pretty great that you are able to share with them the happy memories.

Thank you for sharing your story with the world.

Erin said...

You've made me cry.

You are such an amazing mom and woman. I don't know how I'd have dealt with all of this.

I agree with you that people with issues like these need to get help. I recognized my despression and sought counseling immediately and am on medication as well. For me, my husband, and my kids most of all.

Thank you for sharing this with us. You are an inspiration.

Dame Nuisance said...

So very sorry for your pain and loss. You were right, he was selfish for doing what he did.

Mike said...

Wow what a story and thanks for sharing with us. These incidents show what we really are made of.

By the way nice new look.

The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...

What a nightmare.

My ex used to drink and drive and I remember having to call around trying to find him at bars - calling the police - seeing if he was found. Horrible stuff.

adrienzgirl said...

K you are amazing. Your story was hard to share and we appreciate the raw honesty. Really. It is inspiring. If it only helps one person, one child, to not go through what you did then you have saved the world for someone in it!

Thanks for being my friend. I am better for it!

Miranda said...

You left me with tears in my eyes. I can't imagine how hard that was to write your entire story (let alone go through all of that) but I think you did a beautiful job. Your children are lucky to have such a strong mom like you.

Ashley @ Little Miss Momma said...

I am still crying, ugg, what a story! You are truly an amazing lady and I am so happy I found your inspiring blog! I think you have helped a lot of people by sharing your story...

ashley
http://littlemissmomma.blogspot.com

The Mommyologist said...

I have just finished reading all 5 of your story posts and I can't even believe what you have been through. And I really needed to read this today because sometimes I forget just how blessed I am and I bitch and moan about the stupidest things that I really have no means bitching about. I admire you so much for how strong you are and how wonderfully unselfish you are for keeping a positive memory of your husband for the sake of your kids. Thank you for giving me a big wake up call today!

Zen Mama said...

I just finished all 5 parts of your story! Wow...I can't believe what you went through especially when it started out to be so wonderful. Great job with your kids! I'm glad you're blessed with two wonderful children. Hope your life has continued to get better.

Debbie said...

I randomly found your blog. I looked around and decided to read your about me. When I saw there were 5 parts of your story...I decided to read it. I thought briefly that maybe I had found someone similar to me...at least with a similar story to mine. But I have thought that before and felt more alone and isolated when I realized that my story was still so different than any I have heard.
But your story, your well written, courageously written story echoes mine. There are differences, of course, but there are similarities. And that helps make me feel that my crazy horrible painful story is not the only one out there. I don't wish this kind of story on anyone. But life finds us and does not always turn out how we had planned or hoped or wished. Thank you for sharing your story and helping another Only Parent of an addict who committed suicide feel a little less alone.

SurferWife said...

I had no idea.

I don't discuss the details often but I have experienced the same thing. Except I was the child losing her father the same way. Though I was 19 so it's different than what your kids will experience.

Thanks for sharing your story.

The Queen said...

I just read your story, I'm honored you shared it with us. I'm so proud of you and how you handled this. I don't know if I could have had that much class. You are one classy Chick...

babypickel said...

I recently found your blog...and I must say, I am extremely impressed!! First of all, your writing is just stellar & intriguing...I love it. Second of all, for you to be able to share all that you've been through, it takes some guts. I pray that you never forget what a blessing you are and how strong you are. If you ever forget, there are a ton of people who are here to remind you. :)

won said...

I've finished your story and finally found one that I can relate to. Not in the events....just in the "OMG" series of events and tragedies, and tenacity.

Mine is on my site, and as I said in a previous comment, it is nice to meet you.

kellyozley said...

This is very inpirational and must have been quite hard to share. I am so impressed with your honesty. I am sure good things are due you -- in the karma train of life, it is certainly your turn. I am a single mom (only parent) too. I adopted two girls (one 3 1/2 and one 19th months) from Moldova. Its a crazy, hectic life, and I LOVE it. Thank you for the inspiration. Really love your blog.
Kelly Ozley
kellyozley.wordpress.com

Terry said...

Ok...I knew I read the first 2 parts of your story, but recently you come on by my blog and I had to come back and see who you were...again...Sorry for not remembering.....I give you much credit for dealing with what you've been given...You are a strong woman and awesome Mom. Hugs to you!!

kallaydoscope.com said...

Thank you for being so brave and sharing your story. You never know who needs to hear it, and I really did. So, thank you.

Naila Moon of the Grey Wolf said...

I have been your follower for a little bit now but had never read your story. For some reason today, I felt compelled to do so.

I can only say that my heart goes out to you and your children. I appreciate your courage and conviction to tell it. I hope that your story will help others.

It does me....thanks.

Peace...Naila Moon

One with many names said...

I had to read your story. My second husband took his own life on February 27th 2010... I'm very much still in the fresh stages of grief. I'm inspired that you have come so far from the trauma.

Saveatunity said...

Thank you for sharing your story, I do not even know how I stumbled across it today, after my ex husband moved out yesterday. I tried everything 2 reconcile with him even after our divorce over the course of the last few years, for the sake of our kids. Unfortunately he suffers from depression and will just simply never be happy and refuses to get help. He often makes me fear he will do some drastic measure, as he threatened in the past many times. I simply can not help someone whom does not have the desire to help themselves anymore. You are a strong person and all I can say is thank you for sharing your story in some strange way I take comfort in knowing I am not alone, your story is far more devastating than what I am going through, but I know we will all be ok and a better life awaits us. I wish you to find all the happiness and peace in this world after all you have been through. You deserve it.

Jen B. said...

I started following your blog a few months ago and love it. I really enjoy your writing style and your ability to make a reader feel like they really know you (surely I am not the only one…). Your story makes me feel grateful for my ex-husband. He is a recovering addict and a wonderful dad. He also made those “I can’t take this life anymore, good bye” phone calls. He still has his share of crazy at times, but I realize how lucky my 2 boys and I are that he did not take that final step. Thank you for sharing this heartbreaking story.

Also, I just decided to go back to school (at the ripe age of 34) as well. Good luck to you! It is scary but I know I would so regret not making the decision.

Tara said...

i can somewhat relate to this. my uncle just committed suicide 2 months ago, right before christmas. addiction & depression- he was battling them. left behind his kids and i'll never understand why. thank you for sharing your story!

Jewel said...

I found it hard to read your story, well done seems an understatement for being brave enough to share it with us. You have put my own problems in perspective too, thank you.

Jessica New Fuselier said...

YOU ARE AMAZING. YOUR CHILDREN ARE AS BLESSED TO HAVE A MOTHER LIKE YOU, AS YOU ARE TO HAVE THEM... I'm sorry for your loss, and theirs.

homeiswhatyoumakeit said...

Thank you for sharing. My brother-in-law's brother recently committed suicide. He was an alcoholic. He has two children with his ex-wife (not sure if they were actually divorced or just separated).
I forwarded your blog to my sister in hopes that she will share it with my brother-in-law.
You are an inspiration.

Christina said...

Here from SITS and just read through all the story. You are very strong. Your children are blessed to have you for a mother.

Carrie said...

WOW. I never knew your story (even though I've been following you on Twitter). The pain you've endured is huge. You are an amazing mom and writer, and I hope you can find peace in the fact you've done the best you can do each and every day. What lucky children you have to have such a strong mom as a role model!

Tanya said...

Here from SIT it is your feature day. your story is touching. I could feel the love and pain in every word. You have brought tears to my eyes and I admire your strength.

Missy said...

Your dad is right. You did need to share your story. It is amazing how strong you have come out on the other side.
thank you for sharing.

Stopping by from SITS>

Washington Woman said...

Stopping by from SITS - you sound like you have such a good outlook on what I can only imagine has been a very difficult (to put it mildly) situation. Very touching.

karen said...

I am here from SITS. You totally deserve the honour of being featured. I'm sorry for your losses.

Being the 44 year old child of an addict wracked with lifelong, untreated depression, I want to say that you made the best possible choice, leaving behind your husband and it is not your fault that he took his life. I'm pretty sure you know this, but I have to say it anyway.

We, each of us, is responsible for stepping up to the plate. No one protected my sisters and I from a very messed up parent (the other was not much better and both had been only children). I was lucky, I was so ill in my 20s that I either had to fix myself or I likely would have died or suffered miserably. My sisters were affected differently and are only now finding their voices.

From my experience, I want to tell you that I believe you made the right choice, the very best choice possible in a horrible situation, for your children. I'm not sorry to have known my mom for longer than your children knew their dad, but it was/is an excruciatingly sad, manipulative, painful road. And you are right. His illness made him selfish, in the worst way possible.

Again, I am sorry for your losses of your partner and, before that your best friend, and your children's loss of their father.

karen

Maris Ehlers Photography said...

Oh my heart just hurts. I lost a brother to suicide, but so different. Never said a word, never told a soul. He carried a lifetime of hurts that we are just now figuring out and hung himself in his apartment in India where he was working.

I am sorry for so many things that I read here, but most of all that a person who loved you in his own way has put you through so very, very much.

Peace.

Andrea said...

You are very brave to share your story. You are a beautiful woman and your children are beautiful too. God bless you and all your trials.

erin.marie said...

Wow. Your story sound so identical to mine... except my ex-husband did not successfully overdose in his suicide attempt... or when he overdosed on drugs and alcohol and stopped breathing. I have one daughter that I raise with sole custody. He moved to Massachusetts and between binges, or when he is manic... or sometimes if he is depressed- he calls to talk to her. She is 5 years old, he hasnt physically had a visitation with her for two years. I sometimes find myself wishing he would end things- it seems his inconsistent barely there presence builds up our daughters hope, then crushes her heart every time. He blames me for taking her away from him, blames me for the failure of our marriage. I will tell our daughter that her daddy is sick and needs help... but he tells her he isnt sick, I just took her away. Of course I am to blame for his addictions and our abusive marriages failure. I love your candidness in your story and look forward to following your blog. I am sorry that you had to endure this... but it is nice to hear that I am not the only one, and my daughter wont be the only one either. I hope you all the best!! If you are interested, I have just started blogging myself... http://wiggles-n-giggles.blogspot.com/ Stay strong!!! -
Erin

Kelley said...

I cannot even believe what I just read. That is a nightmare. You are an amazing woman and mother. Your children are so blessed to have you. I am so sorry your heart has been put through so much pain, beginning with the death of your best friend. You are an inspiration for us all. Your children are beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing this story. I will always remember it!

Kristin @ What She Said said...

I just read your entire story and I'm honestly speechless. You are an amazingly strong woman - that's really all I can think to say right now. It sounds like you shouldered the entire burden of his brokenness. And that last phone call he made to you... I know it must haunt you, but you were right - it was an unbelievably selfish thing for him to do.

I think you sound like a pretty amazing person.

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