I digress ... Events have come up lately that made me think I wanted to write more about how I got to the point in life that I am at now: married to a man I love and cherish but whose mental illness has left me often feeling depressed, cursed, hopeless. I end up feeling even more sad because my husband feels so very bad about the misery he has caused other people, as he explains in his blog A Life With Mental Illness This is not how life was supposed to turn out. I guess a lot of us could say that, right? A lot of us go through things.
The thing I went through started like this.
(Actually I'm going to steal some lines, add some, from an article I wrote for Diablo magazine in January 2003. Unfortunately, the article is not available online. )
On the morning of March 22, 2001, an ambulance dispatched by Humboldt County Emergency Services pulled into the driveway of what was then my home in Arcata. My husband, John, and I calmly walked out to the waiting vehicle. As John approached the ambulance door, he looked at a police officer who had been sent along to make sure this 5150 call took place without incident. Despite John's calm demeanor, something could still go wrong. After all, he had minutes earlier been threatening to cut himself with a knife. But as he saw the officer, John turned to me and asked with a faint hopeful smile "Do you think he will shoot me?" John then climbed in the ambulance and was taken away.
I had never before expected the man, to whom I'd been married for nearly 10 years, would ask me such a terribly sad, desperate question. But over the previous two days, my life had been turned upside down. This was just the latest in a quick series of shattering blows to my comfortable image of us as a husband and wife, the parents of a 3-year-old child, educated professionals, with pretty much everything going fine. And so much to look forward to.
Just two days before, I had taken my son to preschool and was in our bedroom upstairs when I heard the garage door slowly grind open. It had to be John, but I couldn't understand what he was doing home in the middle of a workday morning. I remember walking out to the second-floor landing and looking down into our living room, with its two-story high ceilings and banks of windows that let in views of the redwood forest surrounding our large back yard. The sky, which I could also see from those windows, was overcast.
John, a tall, slender man with glasses, was emptying his keys and wallet onto a kitchen counter, his ritual upon arriving home.
Hearing my footsteps, he looked up. In a quiet, urgent voice, he said: "Something bad has happened."
More to come, when I get a chance...