I have so many things I’ve wanted to say or ask you since you took your life. As I’ve tried to sort through our time together, there have been more questions come to light than answers found. This is so raw that I’m not quite sure how I will make it through this letter. But I know it needs to be written.
I know you told me that you loved me often, but it was usually after I said it to you. I remember you asking me why I told you this so much. I said that if something happened to either of us during the day, I wanted you to know you were loved. You didn’t say as much about it after this talk, but I remember the last time you brought it up. I told you that you didn’t have to tell me you loved me if it bothered you so much. You told me you didn’t know why you needed to tell me at all because I should just know. That wasn’t the point at all and clearly there was a reason you didn’t want to say it.
Unfortunately, I’ve come to realize that you either really didn’t love me or you had no idea how to love. I know that living in your “love” was very painful. As the years went on you said and did more and more things to shut me down so I wouldn’t contact you on a day you were going to be otherwise engaged and you didn’t want to be bothered. You changed how you wanted things done and even what you said you liked and didn’t like over and over to keep me thrown off. But why? Was it totally because you were too involved in your other activities or was it also because you had grown to despise me? Was it because you found me to have no value and didn’t care how I felt?
I never knew what to expect when I was with you. I used to love it when you came home, after the boys were here especially, because we could be together as a family and there was always the chance you would be in a really good mood. But, unfortunately, that became less and less over the years.
I came into our marriage believing I was marrying a certain person but I have realized since you died that even before we were married, you had already started down the path you had chosen for your life and there was nothing I could do to stop it. No matter how much I tried to talk to you or get you help, there was nothing or nobody that could alter your path that was getting more weedy and overgrown with each passing year. You even went to several counselors over time. I could see a bit of change for a short time when you started going, but, then, you would get bored or whatever drew you away became more important to the point that nothing they said mattered or made a difference in your actions.
You asked me in the last days of your life if there had been any good memories that came to mind. I thought about it for a few seconds and I told you that there were many, but I usually found out within a year or year-and-a-half that during those times you were doing something that ruined the goodness in the memories. I could never look at them in the same way again.
It’s so true. When we first married and a few years after, I often saw the part of you that made me laugh and it was enough to hold on through the rough times. But that person disappeared more and more to the point where I never saw him. Your entire personality and disposition changed over the years. I’ve been told that it is normal in people with addictions, but I don’t understand the pull addictions have on their victims since I have never struggled with one.
I don’t understand why you married me. Awhile back, I found a journal I kept during our engagement. In it I read about when you broke up with me at some point before we were engaged because you “didn’t know if you loved me”. I remember the time and I was so hurt. But you kept showing up and began acting like nothing had changed within a couple of days. You still kept your distance as far as your thoughts about me for the two weeks this continued, but I came to a point I couldn’t take it and told you to make a decision and either come back or walk away. You came back and nothing else was said about it. As I have found more and more evidence of your choices since you went away, I now understand that you had probably had a sexual relationship with a girl in college and didn’t know what to do where I was concerned. I never thought you had been with anyone before we were married. I guess that would be hard on the conscience.
I also read in the journal about a talk you scheduled between us, after we got engaged, to talk about if marriage was something we should do. I don’t remember anything about that meeting and that surprises me because I have a pretty good memory. But in the journal, I didn’t write a lot about it, but I said in it that it ended with his saying that he was just nervous and wanted to talk about everything so we could be on the same page to give us a good start. Now I know that wasn’t the truth.
One of the hardest things to come to terms with was when we got to our apartment on the day we married. When we were getting ready to head to the Smoky Mountains for our honeymoon, you barely even looked at me. You wouldn’t stay in the same room with me. Shortly before you died, after I found out about your affair with a “friend”, I asked you why you were so, so distant then and you told me that you knew then that you were going to destroy my life!
Why didn’t you just let me go? Now I see clearly that you didn’t want to marry me because you knew you were living an alternate life even then. Was it so much more important for you to have a cover story for people than for me to have a chance at a different life? While I know I could do nothing to stop you from your path, I am left with so many questions. Did I mean anything to you at all? If you knew you were going to destroy my life before the wedding, why didn’t you call it off? I know a big part of that choice was that appearances meant everything to you, evidently more than my life.
Over time I’ve had people tell me, in different ways, that I should feel better because I couldn’t have done anything to change the choices you made. If it didn’t have anything to do with me, then why did you make it about me? You made it about me by marrying me when you wanted something totally different. You made it about me with the words you said and what you did to keep me out of your way. You made it about me by running right back to your addiction and other women after the time and care of helping you get your life back after your accident. While it probably is true that your life would have been the same with or without me in it, you made it about me by marrying me when you had no plan to keep your vows. How do I separate it being all about him from the memories, accusations, verbal assaults and feelings that haunt me?
I now question everything about me. I struggle with believing all the things you said and did where I was concerned and trying to figure out truth. Your words and actions made me question if I had anything I could do well or if I in any way brought value in the world. I already had questions like these from when I was a kid and instead of lifting me up and loving me, you fed into those questions and you used them to your advantage. How do I sort through this and come out being even just OK in the end?
And, finally, why didn’t you realize that you were more than your addiction and that God could free you from the chains if only you had sought Him for help? Why were life and your family not more important than the binds that held you to a life of lies and deceit?
~ Joanna Lynn