Diary of a Widower

Daily entries by a husband, who stayed behind with his two sons

Contemplating ‘that way out’

MONDAY, May 3 – Eamonn is bored stiff, to the point where he himself decides that even the computer is monotonous.  Nothing on TV, nothing playing at the movies, it’s pouring, so no baseball on the corner lot and the bowling alley is fully booked. As a last resort, I suggest we go to the indoor driving range. I try to pep him up – getting out of the house is the first step. We take a bucket of golf balls up to the top floor, where it’s quiet.

We don’t get any further than ten balls. He’s angry and it looks like he’s ready to bash something, just to blow off steam. He sits down and then he seems to fold.  I sit down next to him and he moves closer. Let’s not do anything for a while. Just talk, he says. Good idea.

We talk about ‘him’, the one we’re angry with. Eamonn hates him.

We talk about ‘her’, the one we want back. Eamonn misses her.

I allow myself to say the word ‘dead’. He says: that’s a horrible word, I don’t want to say that word, or even think about it. And yet, it keeps going through his head and filling his thoughts. We hit the last ball together. Then he leans over the railing and asks me what would happen if he jumped.  You’d break both your legs, and if it was a bad fall, you’d be dead.

I tell it like it is since I’m starting to suspect something. As we gather up the golf clubs, I ask him if he has recently wished that he was dead.  Yes, of course, he says. Was that really what he had wanted. No, not really. When was this?

‘Three months after the accident. I didn’t want to go on living like that,’ Eamonn said simply. When I asked him why he didn’t tell me, he said it was because I hadn’t been home at the time.

At any rate, the feeling did go away and as I go on asking him questions, as carefully as I can, he says that no, that isn’t what he wants. He’s sure about that. But what if thoughts like that enter your mind… ‘Yes, I know, then I’ll come to you.’

Or your brother, okay? Yes, that’s settled. I promise myself again and again that no matter what, I’ll be there for him. Being there – that’s become the key to our life together.

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