Saturday, February 22, 2014

Hate Me For All The Things I Didn't Do For You

     The title of this post was taken from the song Hate Me by Blue October.

     The clock read 1:56 am. It was one of those mornings when I knew there would be no going back to sleep. I was up for the day. I opened my phone and scrolled through Facebook. A friend posted a link to a blog written by a widow. You can find it here. This particular post of hers talks about the night her husband was murdered and the events that unfolded. The raw emotion left me thinking about my own blog. There are so many things I haven't written about; lots of things I haven't shared...by not sharing, am I pretending they didn't happen? There have been several times that I've talked about the struggles of our marriage and how I knew it wasn't perfect. I knew that I had faults and could have been a better wife but I've never really gone into detail. 
     Mike and I did not celebrate our last anniversary (August 9, 2010) together. In fact, we were separated at the time. About a week before this, several things happened that led me to believe a short separation would be good for our marriage. You may think that odd. Maybe it would help if I filled in some of the gaps. I haven't really talked about how Mike struggled with depression, anxiety, and paranoia. His inner world was a constant mix of highs and lows that often made no sense to me. We were together for almost 15 years and, during that time, I watched him struggle with his self image and lack of confidence. He was an amazing man that never believed in himself. He often brushed off compliments and called them "just words." He was his own worst critic.
     He loved us all very much. It was because of his love that he often focused his thoughts and energy on the "What ifs...?" of life. What if I left him; what if I stopped loving him; what if he wasn't good enough; what if...; what if...; what if... So much of his time was spent worrying about this that, sometimes, I think he convinced himself that he wasn't worth loving. I believe he was tormented by the idea that I would figure that out and leave. Of course, none of that was true. I loved him so much more than he would ever let himself realize. It was as if it would have been too much of a risk for him to allow that level of self-worth in his own mind. At any rate, he was seeing a psychiatrist and was on medication. It seemed to be helping some, but I could always see the underlining anxiety.
     In July of 2010, we started seeing a marriage counselor. We knew that our relationship had hit a rough spot and we needed/wanted some help in getting it back on track. In early August, some things happened. Words were said that shouldn't have been. I asked him to go stay with his mom for awhile. During this month and a half separation, we still spent a lot of time together. He didn't want to miss out on anything with the kids and was often at the house before or after work. We continued to see the marriage counselor. During this time we had several date nights and tried to make new memories...we tried to start fresh. Mike moved back home the end of September and we continued to work on things. We had our last counseling session just a week or so before he died. It was a pretty rough session. Mike was really aggravated and I was pretty emotional. At one point he walked out of the room. He said he felt like we were ganging up on him. As he came back in, with tears rolling down his cheeks, he yelled, "I don't know what you want from me!" I looked into his piercing blue eyes and said "I just want you to be happy." Never had I spoken anything with such clarity that also rang with such truth. I just wanted him to be happy. The moments when he gave me a real smile...my whole world stopped and I soaked it in.  He often put on a face and tried to be the happy-go-lucky person he thought I wanted to see but it was those real moments that I lived for. How could he not see or understand how amazing I thought he was...how much I absolutely loved him. That's all I ever wanted for him. I just wanted him to be happy. A week later he passed away and left me a young widow with three children. 
    One reason I've been reluctant to share moments like these is that I know some people will take offense; thinking I'm trying to demonize Mike. I am in no way attempting to tarnish Mike's name. It's just that this is the truth of where our relationship was when he passed away. Any marriage is a work in progress. Ours was at a point that we needed a lot of work. None of our hard times ever changed how much I loved him. In one session, he told the therapist his worries that I would leave him. I couldn't stop rolling my eyes. What was wrong with him? I finally told him that he would have to be the one to leave if he wanted out because I was dedicated to making our marriage work. He didn't want that but this consuming ever present fear was always there.
     "Where did this fear come from?", you ask. He had a serious girlfriend during his senior year of high school and she cheated on him with his best friend. He never got over the feelings of hurt and he often projected that into our marriage. He often questioned where I was going, who I was going to be with, and how long I was going to be gone. I never gave him reason not to trust me. He was the love of my life, and I knew what it felt like to have someone break your trust. I would never have done that to him but he couldn't get over his worries. I wasn't always as patient with him as I should have been. When his depression or anxiety got really bad, I was supportive and tried to lift his spirits. After a week or so, it was really hard for me to deal with. I just wanted him to be happy. Nothing I did seemed to help. I also knew it wasn't something he could just snap out of but it left me feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. It caused me to question who I was as his wife. If I were a better wife, maybe he wouldn't be depressed and on and on and on.
     "Hindsight is 20/20." they say. I really don't know what I could have said to make him believe me. I do know that I could have been more patient. It's kind of ironic that Mike's emotional baggage would frustrate me because, sometimes, I wonder if John is frustrated by all the baggage I brought into this marriage. Other times, he is so supportive I think he knew he married a part of Mike from the start.

2 comments:

Teri said...

Oh, I know those feelings too well. I was married 33 years when my husband died and we were just getting through some bad times but were not completely healed yet when he suddenly died without a chance to resolve everything and be totally happy together again. He also had a fear that I would leave, but then would do things to justify me leaving, but I, like you, told him that I wanted him to "be happy" and I would not leave. He was a worrier and that drove me nuts. I have not talked to anyone about this and have not posted details on my blog but lately have felt that I need someone to talk to. To tell all of the details - hoping it will be healing. It has been 4 1/2 years and I think I just need to say everything out loud.

Melanie Dawson Mullineaux said...

I can totally relate to what you are saying. I often don't talk about these things because it's just too hard. Funny though I didn't talk about them much while they were happening either. If you ever want to talk please email me. It was really good for me to write this and get some of it out.