This I Believe

Ann - Summerville, South Carolina
Entered on April 13, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: death

I believe waiting to die is the best way to live life.

Twelve years ago my husband went to a hotel, wrote two very polite notes of apology – one to the hotel staff and one to me – and injected himself with potassium chloride; a drug in high doses will cause the heart to stop functioning. He gave himself a heart attack. Now, when people ask me how my husband died I tell them he had terminal depression. Always there is a pause and a puzzled face while processing this answer and slowly the eyes show undestanding and then disbelief or sadness for me.

That year I went crazy; not with grief, although of course I was grieving, but with relief (because we were so miserable in our little lives) and with guilt (becasue I felt so much relief) and I knew in my heart (as I still know today) that his death was absolutely preventable. And, although I’m sure if he had not killed himself we would be divorced now and we would both be in desperate debt (because that is how we were), I also know I would not be the person I am now; independent, an adventurer, but a loner and afraid to even date because I’m afraid I will not be able to stop another tragedy with a person I love.

Yes, that year I did go crazy. I gave everything away that was his or had memories of him attached to them – like our bed. But when my good friend cut up my husband’s drivers license and other ID pictures of him (thinking he was doing me a favor) I was so angry. My anger felt as unexplainable as were my responses to so many other events at the time. And so when the Navy (I was a Navy nurse at the time) sent me to the other side of the world I pursued adventure with a vengeance.

But now, I’m older and a bit tired and I finally realize that I don’t need to go to foreign lands for adventure. Everday is the adventure; it here and now.

Becasue of that knowledge I continue to live my life waiting to die. My husband introduced me to death and I know with cetaintly that it will happen to me someday also – maybe by my own hand, but hopefully not. Everyday I realize this may be my last; I could have a heart attack (because I eat too many fats, not because I’ve stolen potassium from the local ER), or get into a car wreck or just fall over my own feet and hit my head. And this, I realize, is the gift my husband gave to me. And I now realize I need to try again in that most important adventure of all – love. I believe life is wonderful and life is for the living. Life is my beautiful adventure and ever day something interesting happens. Everday I appreciate – because death will come when it will.

I hope I never stop waiting to die. This I believe.