Shock consumed me for a while as my brain couldn't accept that George had attempted to take his own life. George knew of my intense fear of him dying, so you can imagine what I thought. In the beginning it was practically impossible NOT to take it personally that my husband tried to leave me through suicide. How selfish was that? Soon after first seeing George on life support for the first time, I learned he had never got COBRA going even though he had been laid off for many weeks and he had only worked at his new job a couple of days- not long enough to get any anything going. When sorting through disorganized piles of paperwork with my dad trying to get COBRA in order, I found that just like he neglected to get COBRA going, he had neglected to sign the paperwork to continue his life insurance-the one he had carefully planned for me. By guessing the password, I was able to get health insurance going and my dad mobilized attorneys to figure out what our options were if the worst happened. Once George woke from the coma- that all changed. What didn't change in the moment was my fear. My fears of abandonment were even greater. After being discharged from the behavioral health hospital, George signed and overnighted the paperwork and when the letter arrived in the mail saying the life insurance would be continued. I was relieved. But the fact he hadn't re-started the life insurance before he attempted suicide was something I struggled with for a while. I'm human.
We went out of town on a vacation the year to date of his attempt and returned to a pile of mail with multiple letters reading his life insurance policy that he had paid into for 19 years was no longer in existence because George had neglected to pay the premium through a misunderstanding on George's part; that coupled with the severe depression meant no more life insurance. By that time, I had worked through my abandonment issues and though I was confused and frustrated, I ultimately knew that the best response was compassion and grace. George had severe depression which can make you feel like you are walking through mud with a wet blanket covering you and anything and everything feels like it is a million times harder than it actually is. It is a horrid illness. It doesn't just affect the person going through it: it is a family illness. The reason us sharing this is that George and I know others go through this. Forgiveness is necessary in any relationship, especially a marriage. But when depression is involved I've learned that I need to deal with my emotions- whatever they may be- but what I need to share with George is compassion and grace. I share this because I didn't know that in the beginning and I made a lot of mistakes. I would tell George how deeply hurt I was and boy did that have the opposite effect of what I hoped. Yes, it is important for me to express my emotions-but in my journal or to a therapist or a close friend or family member.
As an aside. When someone attempts or dies by suicide, there is always the question of "why" did this person do it. George is here and he is surprised by his attempt. Suicide is not rational. In George's case, he had undiagnosed severe depression; it wasn't rational decision making as hard as that may be to believe/understand. Trust me, I've had years to work through this. It also took me a while to learn the suicide attempt had nothing to do with me or him leaving me: again it was severe undiagnosed depression. Depression is the culprit-not George. I know I'm off topic but this needs discussion. It is important to share that I have worked through any feelings of abandonment or pain or anger I had about his attempt. I have a different viewpoint and understanding. George needs me as his cheerleader and friend. Truly letting go of expectations and sharing grace for anything: small or large is how I attempt to be as his wife. We live in the moment, trying as hard as we can to be a team and looking toward God while trusting His guidance.
Somehow the two by four to my head of George's suicide attempt didn't change my priorities as far as God/George was concerned. It took about fourteen months until. I felt the full impact of that two by four in November of 2013. And then everything changed in my heart.
It was my heartbreak over George's suicide attempt and the life we were living 14 months later woke me up to the realization that God had been heartbroken over me for along time. I had broken my promise to God in putting George above him. Convicted, contrite and heartbroken myself over my choice, I chose a different path.
There is a hymn called My Hope is Built On Nothing Less which I linked to a YouTube version I like that has the lyrics written on the screen. The refrain says
On Christ the solid rock I stand; All other ground is sinking sand; All other ground is sinking sand.The song reflects how God is the only one I can 100% count on though that doesn't mean he doesn't go silent. It means my view point has changed which I am looking forward to sharing. Let's face it- people cannot always be there for us! I am going to be sinking sand for you. You are going to be sinking sand for me. It doesn't mean we can't care for one another and support one another, but we can't 100% rely on any human. Even though I had an active relationship with God, choosing God instead of George as my foundation has changed me. Accepting that George couldn't give me what I needed, that I needed to accept his short-comings and throw my expectations out the window saved our marriage. And when I have found heartbreak in my relationship with George, I had/have God's support to keep me full of hope and joy. I have grieved and had few meltdowns- but I also had someone to run to who unconditionally loves me I feel secure in God. And when I'm having a severe health issue, George will say "God has you."
By making God my priority and foundation, fear has melted away. Saying "Drive Safely" was so ingrained in my routine hat I trained myself to say something different that wouldn't have a meaning that could imply control. So, now we say "See you real soon!" which is a Disney saying.
As my life has been focused on God these last couple years since making the foundational change, I found peace in places I didn't expect: namely suffering. Unfortunately I had been on a mediation that I did not realize was clouding my brain and making cognitive tasks quite difficult; as of the Summer 2015, I'm no longer on the medication and boy do I feel completely different! I began writing in my head again. Symptoms of Meniere's disease kept me physically disabled and unable to write last fall. I uploaded a lot of videos to my YouTube channel about what was happening in my life and a little thing I started called "#ThankfulThirty" both which I can't wait to tell you about!
I have so many plans for writing including discussing my health, treatments I've tried and my personal life including my faith. Aside from George's suicide attempt, 2015 was the hardest year for me yet & 2016 has started as a huge challenge. But through hardship, I grow closer to God and also into he person I want to be which includes being anxiety-free! In late 2015, one of my physicians told my husband "You have a new wife." Another who knows me very well expressed joy at my new outlook.
My present joy is that you are reading this post and God has given George and me the strength, guidance, direction and ability to write it.
[Note: George read and approved all that was shared in this blog. It is our intention to help others in situations similar to ours by sharing our experiences. I will never share anyone else's experience without their expressed approval at every detail.]