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I feel a bit on the edge tonight, it’s the first time I’ve had space to breathe in weeks- or at least it feels like weeks. I’m a bit torn up inside, because, contrary to what I’ve been demonstrating on the outside, things just aren’t sitting right with me. You came home… not because I invited you, but because someone on your side of the fence made me feel guilty about keeping you out. Despite my trepidation, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to see you-maybe I have my own addiction.

You came home as a model partner, regardless of the fact that you were rubbed raw yourself. Prepared to tow the line, and not for me, but for you this time. You invited me to your meetings and I met your counselor. You are taking the right steps… I got flowers at work yesterday and it was lovely… but tonight I just don’t feel lovely. I feel… tortured? Torn? I want to feel good about you, about us. I love you, without a doubt, I just think that these last two months have perhaps left bigger scars than I realized. 

I talked to an old friend tonight. There’s just something warm and fuzzy about connecting with some one that has known you since before forever. It makes you really look at your life; where you’ve been, where you’re going. And it made me scared. I’m scared I’m never going to be happy, scared that I’m always going to have to be the strong one. Maybe I’m just broken now.

When do I get to be weak? When do I get to lose it a little, go a little crazy? I feel on the edge tonight, I feel like maybe it’s my turn to make a mistake, or be reckless. 

J

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I am a broken person.

 
I feel like I gave everything I had, and I supported you the best way I knew how, and I got nothing back. I have nothing left, nothing left to give, and nothing left for myself. Just nothing, nothing, nothing. 
 
I went for days and days before and after you were in rehab feeling neglected, unloved and unwanted. And still, I tried to be there for you, I tried to support the person that I loved more than anything in the world. The person that I thought was my future. I pushed past the hurt, to give you what I thought you needed, to manage your care, your life, when you couldn’t. I did the things that I foolishly thought could make you “better”. I wasn’t sleeping, wasn’t eating- but I told everyone around me, “he’d do it for me”. And in return, when I thought things were finally getting better, when I thought we were at a beginning rather than an end, I was tricked, I was lied to. I was allotted 48 hours of hope, of optimism- just to find out it was all false, that you had been looking me in the eyes and lying to me. It makes me feel like everything was untrue, none of it was sincere and I wish I could erase that weekend from my memory, because it just makes the here and now hurt with a ferocity that is physical. I can FEEL this pain in a place deep inside. It’s twisting and eating up every scrap of sanity that I had left. 
 
I am an angry person.
 
The manipulation, the roller coaster of highs and lows has bubbled and fermented, emerging as a deep seated anger. Hatred at you for making me believe you loved me, and then taking every action to demonstrate the contrary. Hatred at myself, for putting up with it, for not being strong enough to walk away after you proved you couldn’t give me what I needed. I’m angry at every seemingly kind word you send my way now because it’s not fair- after everything you’ve done, everything that your addiction has put us through, you don’t deserve to send kindness my way. Where was the kindness and love when I needed it, when I begged for it? Why show that you are capable of it now, after everything is dead and buried in the ground? No, you don’t get to feel better by sending shallow niceties my way. Little nothings just designed to make you feel like more of a man. 
 
I am a vengeful person.
 
I am out for blood, and I can’t help it. I want to make you hurt, make you burn with the same pain that’s eating me alive. It isn’t fair that you were behind all of this, you caused the suffering, this neediness- you created this version of me that I despise. And now you get to walk away and be applauded for your decision to seek space, clarity, maybe sarcastically claim sobriety again. But every interaction with you makes me want to hurt you; I am not proud of this, this isn’t who I am or ever who I wanted to be. But this is the monster that you’ve created, and now you get to be my judge and jury too. Because I don’t respond to your “too little, too late” in the appropriate manner. Fuck you and your continued manipulation. Fuck you for trying to hurt me once again when I don’t pat you on the back for being kind for ONCE, for reaching out to me for ONCE. What a joke, I’ve spent weeks being “kind”, trying to make you “feel better”, and what did I ever get in return?
 
You are right, for the last two days, since I walked out of our home because your lies broke me, I don’t have anything nice to say. My remarks are full vitriol and venom. So forgive me for not showering you with praise, when way too late, you decide to throw a few scraps of kindness my way. 

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During the holidays my thoughts often wander to those who have experienced some hardship, or loss during previous year. Some times the inherent joy of the season just seems to amplify loss or heartache, it’s a time of year where the size of those missing pieces can expand like the Grinch’s heart on Christmas day. But you know what they say, without experiencing sorrow, how can we recognized and appreciate joy?

Anyhow, it seems as though there is lots of heartache in the world around me, or maybe I am just more perceptive than I used to be. Various friends have posted photo memorials on Facebook- a good friend lost her father suddenly this year, a college teammate lost hers a few years back after a long illness- these experiences impress upon me how lucky I am to have so many wonderful people in my life, and how deep it would cut me to lose any of them. Of these many tradgedies, there is one that has weighed heavier on my heart. And interestingly enough, this was a loss that happened on the very periphery of my life- I viewed it from arm’s length, and yet it has really stuck with me.

Earlier this year, one of my colleagues very unexpectedly passed away. He was very senior in his department, and despite the fact that we worked in completely different facets of the business, our cubes  were situated mere feet from one another. Our interactions were fairly limited, cordial hellos and goodbyes. When I first joined the company, he was kind enough to sit with me, and explain how his department fit into the larger puzzle. So we weren’t close in any respect, but you end up learning a lot about a person, when you work quietly beside them.

DD was a quiet person, with a slight accent from his years living abroad. He was articulate and seemed as though he would have been just as at home in front of a lecture hall full of college students. Smart and exacting he worked closely with Marc, and I was privy to their daily conversations about work and life. Frequently they would break for lunch, strolling down to the deli in the basement of our building, and selecting a sandwich to share. They had known each other many years, and worked together with an enviable ease and comfortability.

Most days DD would receive a call (or several) from his daughter. Jenna was an addict, and although I am not certain about her drug of choice, I know she wasn’t safely in recovery. He would take almost each and every one of her calls- his cellphone had a distinctive ring assigned to her, I quickly learned. Even when he couldn’t spare a moment to chat, he would answer and quickly reassure her that they’d talk soon. And he handled her needs very publicly- never scurrying into a conference room and closing the door. He didn’t seem to be ashamed of her misfortunes, which always impressed and puzzled me.

Jenna was struggling- always looking for/quitting a job, asking for money, or perhaps reeling from a recent break up. But DD’s devotion never wavered. I remember one conversation in particular, where she had claimed to have gotten a job as a dog groomer, and desperately needed money for grooming supplies, as she had already booked her first client. Another time, she must have requested funds for some other venture, and DD questioned her about a rather large sum of money that she had been provided only days prior. I always wondered how DD felt, working a few seats away from myself- a girl of very similar age to his daughter, who had made different choices, and been handed different proclivities. I never considered how her difficulties must have worn on him.

It was springtime when we received the mass email. The birds were chirping, flowers were beginning to bloom, and the earth was coming alive, after months of bitter cold. DD was dead. There was little explanation, and a lack of direction about how to proceed with condolences. For days afterwards I searched for an obituary, but always came up empty handed. Rumors swirled around the office- it was so very sudden, and given his age it was likely a heart attack, maybe an aneurysm. The day that Marc came back to work my heart broke for him- he sat in silence, no one to chit chat with, no one to share lunch with.

We never received any further answers or clarifications. We were told the family had chosen to intern DD privately, and that was that. Marc was relocated to opposite corner of the office, and soon new hires sat in the little alcove where DD once was. I didn’t forget though. I wondered about his daughter, and how Jenna was fairing without a father- I can’t imagine losing my Dad, and I certainly don’t depend on him to the same extent. Who was answering her calls now? How was she surviving such an immense loss, given her obvious hurdles?

Recently, we got some insight into DD’s death. As we sat and enjoyed lunch on the last work day before the holiday, our boss discretely let it slip that it had been suicide. This newest revelation threw me for a loop- DD had decided to end it, it hadn’t been an accident- it had been premeditated. Suddenly I was consumed with questions- how, where, who must’ve found him… What about Jenna?

Until Later,

Jessa Jay

Ps- there is always a way out: 1-800-273-TALK http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

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