This guy, the handsome guy who proclaims Joss Whedon to be his master, my husband, Brady, shot and killed himself almost a month ago.
I can think back to the weeks leading up to his death and hear the hollow tone in his voice. I remember how distant he seemed, not fully his normally playful self. He slept a lot – something I chalked up to the hours commuting since we moved to Arlington and the work he was doing. And then there was the visit to the ER I made him take only two weeks before he died. He complained of chest pain and I was afraid it was a heart attack. It wasn’t and now I’m fairly sure it was an anxiety attack.
All these things make me 99% certain he was depressed and fighting demons on his own. They fed him lies about who loved him (or didn’t) and demeaned his worth. It doesn’t matter how many times I told him I loved him or the ways I showed him – the depression twisted everything and he finally decided he wanted out.
I get it.
Which is why I’m not mad at him. But I am sad – for him and for me. I’m sad because the depression likely told him we were better off without him, that we didn’t love him. I’m sad because he thought that was the best/only way out.
And I’m sad because I have to go to bed alone at night and I can’t ask him how his day went. I’m sad because our youngest beagle keeps curling up on his dirty clothes, breathing in his scent and hoping he’ll come home. I’m sad because the guy I proclaimed “had my back” in a sermon a couple months ago doesn’t anymore.
Yet, in the midst of the sadness, I occasionally find myself traveling through it, recognizing it as the scar of the love I have for Brady. It is the mark left of having said yes to his love for me.
Because Brady is who taught me how to allow myself to be loved.
When we first met, I’d been in relationships, but I’d also been burned, rejected. Deep in my core, I had trouble believing Brady really meant what he said, that he loved me. But the longer he stuck around, the more he showed me he loved me, the more I believed him. The more I believed I was worthy of love.
There is a certain irony to me that the guy who taught me how to believe I was worthy of love died by the very opposite.
I wish he knew before he died how much he was loved. How much the people around him cared about, valued, and respected him. I know because they’ve told me and I am one. Brady had so many people who loved him.
I’m grateful I have people who love me, too. I’ve been humbled and surprised by the sheer number of those who do. People who haven’t let me be alone in my grief. People who have surrounded me with care and yet allowed me space when I need it.
It both rips us wide open and heals us.
I’m intimately familiar with both right now and for that, I’m thankful.