The night that we learned that my dad was dead, my mom walked out into the back yard and turned on the hose. She stood in the same spot, watering and smoking cigarettes, until about 4 am.
She did this night after night. A group of friends came to town to stay, to offer support and love to us, and to take care of her and help prepare for the memorial service.
Lou called me up and said, "I'm afraid Betty is going to flood the basement."
She just stood there watering and smoking. Night after night turned into week after week turned into month after month.
She didn't flood the basement, although I'm pretty sure that was a miracle.
Sometimes I'd sleep over there, and I'd ask her to come in and she'd say she'd be right in. And then an hour later I'd say I wanted to go to bed and could she please come in and she'd say yes yes. And then more time would pass and she'd just be having one more cigarette and eventually I would either have a screaming fit or I'd go to bed. As I was pregnant and not sleeping well, I'd invariably wake up at some horrible hour and the lights would still be on out back, and there she'd be, hose and cigarettes. And then, then I'd get really upset.
When she slept, my mom slept on top of her covers for months. She wouldn't get in bed. She didn't want to go to sleep.
When I tell you it was a terrible time it is such a laughable understatement. I don't say this to garner pity. I just look back and marvel at how brutally hellish that whole period was.
And I think about how I censored in that time, I think out of habit. I couldn't sleep, and I asked my OB for something to help me sleep. I said, "My dad just died and I can't sleep."
Why didn't I say, "My dad just killed himself and my world is fucking falling apart and what I really want to do is drink three bottles of wine but I'm too responsible to do that so give me some fucking pregnancy-safe chemicals to help me out here!"? Why didn't I grab him by his white lab coat lapels and say that?
Is it because I was raised to be fine? I cannot even remember at this point.
He gave me Ambien - the same drug I so cavalierly took from that guy on the plane to Paris all those years ago. No refill.
He gave me 10 of them. I used them very sparingly.
In retrospect, I'd kind of like to kick him in the shins for a variety of reasons, but I do need to remind myself that I actually did quite like him at some point. Like when he noticed my (head) hair cut.
And what is my point? I'm not sure.
One of the things this Out of Darkness walk does is immerse me in suicide. I don't think this is positive. I don't know if I will do this again, I really don't.
Nick says it's important, and that in this process I've done a lot of positive things. A number of people have confided in me - people who have been touched by suicide but, like me, were raised not to talk about it. And of course there's the fundraising aspect. The money goes to a good place.
But it keeps me thinking about it, even more than I already do.
I'm ready to head up to Philly and to have the same kind of amazing experience I did last year. I'm excited to see people I connected with last year and to meet new people. I'm ready to be overwhelmed by emotion.
But I'm also ready for it to be over. Sometimes it's just too much suicide.