When I moved recently, I found an old notebook. I have a lot of notebooks, have habitually collected them for years; diaries and journals, and plain spiral-bound notebooks. Notebooks that lay flat, and notebooks that open on the top, sexy journals with Buddha pictured on the cover ... it's sort of a problem.
After Colin died, I kept a notebook with me at all times. Sometimes the urge to throw up or scream or die would be so powerful I couldn't breathe. I'd go completely still, afraid that if I moved or breathed I'd go insane and maybe combust. I desperately needed an outlet, and I couldn't do the things I wanted to do so I wrote them down. I found pages and pages of journal entries that started with the sentence, "I thought I'd lose my mind a little bit today".
It helped, writing out my crazy. It stopped me from doing those things, stopped me from collapsing into a useless heap of a girl at the market when I saw couples holding hands or doing happy-couple things I couldn't do anymore; it stopped me from tearing my hair out and puking on myself. It stopped me from getting in other people's faces - sometimes I'd see couples fighting about something stupid (I saw you look at her butt!) and I wanted to scream at them that they should shut the fuck up and not fight. They should not bicker about silly, unimportant things because one of them, someday, would put a gun to his or her head just to make the other one shut up, and that would be the end of that. I wanted to warn them. I wanted to caution them against wasting their relationships, wanted them to realize how short their time together would be and before they knew it they wouldn't have anything left of their partner. They'd want to take back those spiteful words and rescind the pain they'd caused their loved one, and it would be too late if they didn't get started right away.
Nobody likes a know-it-all though, so I just wrote those things down.
The notebook I found recently was dated August 28th, 2000, ten days after Colin's suicide. I wrote, in letter-like fashion, as though I were speaking to him directly:
I called to have our power shut off today. It was in your name, and I never realized that. The woman at the electric company told me she had to speak with you, and when I told her you had passed away she gasped. Right in my ear, and then she asked me what happened. I told her you were dead, and she pressed me for details. She wasn't trying to be mean, but she wanted to know. She sounded like she thought she was being compassionate but I thought she was being daft; I was feeling mean so I told her you shot yourself through your head right in front of me (jerk) and it was a big, messy, awful thing. I think I made that lady sick how I talked about it, and I hope she gets nightmares.
I visited an electric company today in the course of my work, to discuss a project my company may take on to institute disaster recovery. One of the women in our meeting was a very sweet older lady, and she made me think of that woman so many years ago. I wondered if the sweet old lady of today would have asked me "what happened" like the other lady, and I imagined saying awful things to her. It made me feel bad, and I remembered how mean I felt that day. I can't imagine why I felt so hateful, except that I was in pain and I wanted someone else to hurt also.
And maybe that's understandable, but I've learned a lot since then. Colin continues to teach me things about life and about myself through his death, and that makes it a lot more valuable and a lot less painful.
Learning more every day ...