Wednesday, December 13, 2017

It is what it is

So yesterday I worried some people by the things I was tweeting. Made people think that I was going to hurt myself. Well...

Let me tell you what has been happening in my life. For most of my adult life my goal was to be a husband and a father. This is what I aspired to. Not riches and prestige, but love and the things that surround it. Yeah, I know, not very manly by society's definition of what it takes to be a man, but that's it. I dreamed of the day that I would be married, that I would hold my children fresh from the factory that created them, that I would see them off to school, that I would have conversations with them and watch them grow into their own person. I wanted to be a husband and a father.

Well, autism kind of ruined some of those goals, but I simply had to re-adjust my expectations. I still loved my wife and children with my whole being. Everything just became a little harder is all. I had to forget about hearing my children call me daddy or tell me that they loved me. My wife and I struggled a little bit harder to keep our relationship intact.

My son's autism became extremely difficult to handle. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that it was likely much more difficult for him than it was for me. But that's not to say that it wasn't difficult for me at all. And my wife as well. It was very difficult. My son hurt us frequently. He literally tore our house apart. Banged holes in the wall with his head, and then tore those holes into larger holes, and then carved holes in between rooms. It looked like a war zone. Like something from The Walking Dead.
Children's Services was called on us, and they decided that our house was too dangerous for our two children to live in. Our children were assigned to group homes a couple of hours away from us. In February 2016 they moved out of our house. They were 16 and 13.

This was like a kick to the balls for me. Unexpected and hurt like hell. Yeah, I was (and am) still their father. But it wasn't supposed to be like this. Almost two years later and I still feel the pain from their leaving. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that I can still go and see them and other people don't have that option with their kids. In the grand scheme of things my pain isn't anywhere near as bad as those parents who lose their kids to death. But we don't live in the grand scheme of things, we live in the small scheme of things, and in the everyday small scheme of things I have felt the pain every day for all of those 673 days. And counting.

But wait... there's more. In March of 2017 my wife decided to cash in her chips and call it a day on our marriage. Again, the steel-toed boot of life met my spiritual groin with a strong WHACK! And all of the goals that I had in life were shattered.

This is a moment that still hurts. The pain grows exponentially. It hasn't subsided. I am sad. I am depressed. "Dude, it has been nine months, you need to move past it, you need to get over it." Yeah, yeah, yeah, I get that. But when you have to live it, it isn't so easy to pontificate. I hope you never have to find out what it is like. If you have already lived it, I am sorry. Because it hurts like hell.

I have been prescribed four different kinds of medication to manage the depression I have dealt with for a good portion of my life, but it isn't helping. I have turned to church, to God as I understand him/her/it. It isn't helping. I listen to the Grateful Dead and take care of my parents and watch wrestling and play board games, but at the end of the day the house is still empty, my voice echoes with no one to listen, and sometimes I weep. Oh hell, who am I kidding, I weep a lot.

"Don't hurt yourself... it's a permanent decision for a temporary problem... you'll go to hell..." Hey, man, I've heard it all. And so far I have been successful at turning back the beckoning call of the medication on my shelf, pills meant to quell a different kind of pain. I am doing all of the right things, OK? I am seeing a psychiatrist. I am seeing a therapist. I call on some friends when things get too hard to handle. I have also been to churches that don't care to call me back when I check off "please call me back" on the information card. I am part of a divorce support group in which I am the only man and the others have relationships with each other that I am not invited to partake of. I am doing my best here. But sometimes my best isn't good enough.

I tweet things that people don't want to read because this is my reality. In a social media world where people invent personas and post funny pictures and pretend that everything is all right, I am unwilling to follow. The state of the union is not good. Everything is not all right. And I just can't pretend otherwise.

So I go to bed now, ready for the 674th day without my children, the 287th day without my wife, with no end in sight, and no end expected. "Things get better"... but not this time. My kids are not coming back, my wife isn't either. The odds are still pretty good that I will not do something stupid and hurt myself, regardless of what my prior tweets may have indicated. But the feelings are still there.