It's been two and a half years since we lost my father in law to suicide.
That sentence kinda needs a moment to hang in the air. Because that's where his death remains. In the air. It's always there. Always in the room. Since my husband has began to process his father's death, I refer to the suicide as the third person in our marriage. Of all of the things my husband and I have navigated in our 14 years together, this is the hardest. It's unfix-able. There's no way to make it go away. It's just here. In the air.
Yet as present as it is, the void that my husband feels is vast. It's so big that he doesn't know how to fill it. And here I stand, as his wife, tasked for eternity with ridding him of what hurts him, and I can't. I can't fix this. I can't explain or kiss it away. I can't find the way out and I don't have the answers. That is a helpless feeling when it's my job to make this man happy and heal what hurts him.
Since we met there has been this balance in our relationship. I am the mouthy, moody, spirited one and he is the mellow one who pats me on the head and brings me back to level. But since my father in law's death, the balance has shifted. My husband is now left on the other side of the scale with the mood swings and the short temper and I am clinging to his side of the scale trying to figure out how to keep things mellow and pat him on the head. It's a shift in balance I'll accept because when we said our vows, I meant them. For better and for worse. But I'll admit I'm struggling.
I want to make this better. I want to get my husband back and sometimes I'm scared that I'll never know that same man. I know that over the course of our lives together we will inevitably change. We evolve and we grow. I understand this. I was 22 when I met my husband so we obviously have changed with each other over the last 14 years. But this is different. This is beyond change. This is a change in who he is in his spirit. He is hurt and wounded and I worry that it will stay with him. That the very spirit of who he is won't be able to find it's way back. And part of me worries that this change in spirit will lead him down the same road as his father.
Irrational? Maybe. My husband has promised repeatedly to never hurt us like that. But what I have learned in the last two and a half years is that people who hurt like this don't always plan an end for years. They try their absolute hardest to hang on. They push it down and force their smiles and they love and nurture the hell out of the people around them because they have so much love for them. But in the end, they can't reconcile that deep down pain and it overwhelms them.
The first year we didn't get to process my father in law's death because we were in survival mode when I had to be on bed rest from 13 weeks pregnant to delivery at 39 weeks. Then once we had the baby and it looked like things were okay, the baby and I were hit by a drunk driver when he was 4 weeks old. Four weeks after that I had surgery to have my gall bladder removed. So for a year I was the reason that my husband couldn't grieve. I hate that. So I will do everything that I am able to do to help him now. I listen when he needs to talk, I give him space when he needs it, I take him to Survivors of Suicide meetings, I have even taken him to a medium so he could speak with his dad. All of these things have helped. But none have been the fix. I don't think there is one. And that is hard.
I miss my father in law. I am sad that he won't be physically here to know my children. I am sad that he missed my brother in law's wedding to his amazing wife last year. I am sad that he left his wife when she thought they had the rest of their lives together. I miss his phone calls. I miss the bond that he had with our oldest son. I miss his photographs. I miss his smile. I miss his hugs.
I am sad that my husband lost his best friend.
I love my husband in ways I can't even put to words. I am committed to this man for eternity. He is my heart and soul. I won't give up on him. But this is a long and broken road that I don't know how to pave. I also don't know where this road leads. But all I can do is trust in God to keep us on the path He has chosen. We will make our way together.