You are not a human being
You are a human doing.
You are not unique
You are replaceable.
You can do your best
But your best is not enough.
If this sounds good, sign here.
It was never meant to be
An Indian-Canadian Author's Experiences Through Motherhood & More
You are not a human being
You are a human doing.
You are not unique
You are replaceable.
You can do your best
But your best is not enough.
If this sounds good, sign here.
It was never meant to be
He used to call me, “sweet cheeks”, “hussy” (inside joke), his “squeeze” and, of course, “babe”. When he was trying to be funny in front of his brothers, he would call me, “Puneet” instead of Taneet, and then I would reply with, “who the HELLLL is Puneet?” and we all laughed.
Sometimes he made me laugh really hard. Other times I made him laugh really hard. Lots of times we both just laughed and laughed, especially with our daughters. There were little things about me that he mocked which was actually hilarious to me. For instance, when he found out my family’s nickname for me has always been Mattu (pronounced ma-two if you don’t have an Indian accent), he (being a big Star Wars fan) called me “R2-D2”. Or whenever I made my weird Chewbacca sounds he echoed it so loud that my belly would ache from laughing. He knew how to be extra silly, and I think it came out more around me and our girls. He could be really quick-witted and I loved that about him.
The thing about having a partner/spouse is that you get to see all sides of them. Others only see just their professional side, or sporty side. I saw who he was as a son, a brother, a father, a cousin, a nephew, a grandson. And because we worked together in the same office, I also got to see him in the role of a manager, co-worker, businessman, and all-knowing insurance/sales guy. He showed me his vulnerable side time and time again. Outside of our home I knew when he was pretending in front of others and when he put up his walls. That’s what marriage is. Seeing, experiencing and accepting all truths, the ones nobody else sees.
He taught me so much. I knew nothing about sports when I met him. I was just a nerd getting through life with my nose constantly in a book. But he brought me into the world of horse racing, football, baseball, hockey, soccer. So I wouldn’t get bored when a game was on, he explained every rule, not to mention background stories, biographies of the players/coaches and history of the teams. Before I met him, I never attempted to reverse park. But he taught me how. And to this day, I still use his technique. And whenever Soca/Reggae/Calypso/Caribbean was on (and it was on a lot) he explained what the lyrics meant and where it all originated from. Since I didn’t grow up watching shows like The Simpsons and King of the Hill, he made sure I dove into that world as well.
He was basically obsessed with his brothers and parents. After we started dating for about two months, he asked me if he could introduce me to his family. He wanted the two things he loved most to come together. I became as attached as he was to his brothers; it was hard not to. They were an extension of him.
He loved wearing plaid. Actually, much of his plaid collection came from me. His favourite football team was the Denver Broncos (fave player was Peyton Manning, number 18), his favourite soccer team was Real Madrid (fave player was Cristiano Ronaldo, number 7 – which is also his birthdate), which reminds me; he loved soccer so much that a couple of days after our second baby was born and we were still in the hospital, he asked me if he could go home for a bit to watch the World Cup. I was like, “reeeeallly, dude?” (in my head though – but on the outside I just smiled and nodded because I knew how badly he wanted to see it. I did roll my eyes so hard that I’m pretty sure I felt it in my c-section stitches!)
Also – he was unusually obsessed with ice. Every morning he woke up, walked to the kitchen, opened the freezer and popped a few ice cubes into his mouth and chewed them very loudly. And he could not get through the morning without asking me to “squeeze” his head. I usually didn’t mind it because he had such soft, thick, lovely hair before having to get ready for work and putting that Axe hair product in it.
I knew what his favourite meals were that his mom made; spinach and chicken, and pumpkin and shrimp, but we both shared a deep love for Mexican food, specifically burritos, tacos, fajitas and quesadillas. When we wanted to really treat ourselves, we would look at each other and say, “BURRITOS FROM CHIPOTLE.” It was our thing. He also loved when I tucked him into bed so tight that he was a human burrito.
Just as I saw all sides of him, he saw all sides of me. He saw me in my truest form; a really messy, emotional nerd who hoarded books, documented everything and spoke in too many accents.
He always knew when I was in the washroom taking a poop because I would flush more than once (sorry – TMI) and he would say, “droppin’ a deuce in there?” and turn on the fan because the switch was on the outside of the washroom. I still remember the first time he farted in front of me when we were still dating, he just casually said, “excuse me”, but the first time he heard me fart was in the middle of the night when Annabella was a newborn and I was rocking her to sleep. He looked up from the bed and asked, “did you just fart?” and mortified, I said, “noooooo, that was the BABY.”
We could complain about our family members to each other, or talk smack about certain co-workers, and share our “dutty” jokes with each other (i.e. that’s-what-she-said jokes). Oh, he loved the show, The Office and Michael Scott was his favourite character. But he wasn’t into it as much when Michael left the show.
We shared a mutual love for Batman. I’ll never forget when we went to see The Dark Knight Rises in theatres. Our favourite scene was when all the bats emerged as Bruce finally escaped that cave. But again, he taught me a lot about superheroes and the original comic book stories that I didn’t know growing up. On the day of our wedding reception (which was two days after our ceremony) he pretended to be Christian Bale driving the Tumbler (in his Nissan 350Z) and yelled to me, “RACHELLLLLLLLL! HANG ON RACHELLLLLL!” And when I was on maternity leave, every morning when he left for work I would send him a quote from a Batman movie to his work email so that he would see it as soon as he got to the office.
The sweeter side of him told me I was beautiful, gorgeous, and recognized my strengths and talents. One day at work, I used my lunch break to walk around the office and get people to sign a birthday card for my team leader that I had made out of bristol board, and when I got to his office, he said to me, “this is what makes you so special.” He would tell people how easily I could personalize things through my writing.
He helped me pay off my student loan early in our marriage. Most of the downpayment for our condo came from his many years of savings. He used his line of credit to buy me and our girls a car after we separated. And when that car was totalled in an accident, he was the one I called first and the one to bring me home from the hospital.
When I got food poisoning at work one day, he was the one I called to pick me up (this is when we were separated) and he brought me home (to the condo we all used to live in) and then picked up the girls from daycare. We all stayed together that night and the next few days. When I fainted twice from having literally no energy or food in my system, he was the one who lifted me off the floor and carried me to bed.
Some of my favourite gifts from him are: one year for my birthday, Disney re-released Cinderella from the ‘vault’, as the Diamond Edition, and knowing it was my favourite, he got it for me; another time he got me a Kindle because I love reading (and also because he thought it would stop me from buying so many books – I didn’t stop by the way); a little Flamingo pin (which is currently sitting on my dresser), a tiny bear made out of glass with my birthstone in it for mother’s day, a random bouquet of flowers, and my absolute FAVOURITE; tickets to see Aladdin live in theatres, where I cried during the “a whole new world” scene and he looked at me and said, “are you CRYING?” and I said, “shut up.”
Of course, there were much darker times in our marriage which led to our separation, but after some time apart, although we lived at different addresses (five minutes away from each other and eventually an hour away from each other), we still managed to stay connected, every day. Mostly because of our daughters, but also because we were great friends. He didn’t agree with many things I shared through my writing, but he also made sure to applaud my parenting and my role as our daughters’ mother.
We worked together to ensure our girls knew we are still always a family.
I sometimes catch myself picking up my phone to call him and tell him something and have the sudden realization that he isn’t there to answer me.
And that’s when the pain hits.
I’ve read about the different stages of grief and mine are all over the place. It’s not linear and clear cut. One day I feel I’ve accepted his death. The next I’m screaming in my head, “HE CAN’T BE GONE.”
When I sleep, I dream of him – about him coming back to life.
When I’m awake, I see his face in the casket. And it’s like the wind gets knocked out of me.
I miss hugging him. He was so tall that my head was at his chest and my arms would wrap around his torso. We always greeted each other with a hug and kiss on the cheek whenever I dropped the girls off with him, and again when I picked them up. I always said, “I love you” before getting in the car and he always said it back. It was important to me that our girls saw this exchange so they understood, parents can be separated and still love and respect each other.
I’m remembering a time last year when I couldn’t sleep, it was around 3am. He couldn’t sleep either and he called me. We talked and laughed. I don’t know anymore what we said to each other but I remember a huge smile on my face.
– “Upper management doesn’t care if you’re a single mother. What they care about is if you’re here, meeting business needs.”
– “I’m not telling this to put you down but you do have the highest number of absences in this office.”
– “Can’t you find a teenager in the neighborhood to watch your kids?”
– “You’ve already used your personal days to tend to your kids. Moving forward, you’ll need to use your vacation days.”
– “Why don’t you go live closer to your parents?”
– “You’ll need to make up the hours you missed when you left the office for your kids.”
– “It doesn’t matter that everyone else here is fresh out of school with no parenting responsibilities, I’m sure they have other responsibilities.”
– “No, we are not able to change your shift schedule.”
The popular term ‘working mom’ is a redundant one. Being a mother is a job on it’s own. Annabella asked me about 15 mins ago, “is it hard being a mom?” It is. Of course it is. Being a mom to these two girls though? It’s a dream. Really, it is. I get them to myself for three weeks? Dream.
The quotes above were said to me directly, verbatim, during the times I struggled to be 100% present in the corporate world and 100% present for my children. What I learned was: it isn’t possible.
I often spent my rides on the TTC after having these conversations, sobbing, huddled into myself, wondering if I’d ever stop feeling like a failure. Until one morning I literally could not get out of bed because of the heaviness. I knew if I continued on like this, killing myself to get to an environment surrounded by negativity and uncompassionate behavior, that the light inside of me would burn out.
I chose motherhood. By choosing motherhood it meant also choosing myself. If I am mentally and emotionally unavailable for my children, being there physically is meaningless.
I had to evaluate myself, inside out, head to toe and decide to heal so my daughters can look at me without evaluation and say, “We love you mama. You’re the best.”
Tantrums, tears and tattle tales are rough, however feeling worthless is worse.
He’s in the shower. My mouth and throat are like sandpaper. My hands are clammy. My eyes are stinging. I was up late last night writing my final letter to him. The pounding in my chest is harder than usual. Or is that my head? The baby starts to cry in her high chair. Oh, shit. The cereal. The water has been boiling, what’s wrong with me?
“Mommy’s coming, baby! Here comes your num-num!” I tell her, as I mix the Gerber baby cereal with her little pink spoon.
“Foh me too, mama, foh me too?” my toddler’s voice is suddenly looping around the kitchen. “Of course, sweetie!” I tell her, grabbing another bowl. This stuff smells so good, it reminds me of when my mom used to make cream of wheat for us. The thought of eating now makes me nauseous. I hear the bathroom door open. He’s coming out. I rush out of the kitchen and into the living room, which is also our dining area.
I’m blowing on the cereal softly and can see him from the corner of my eye, stepping into the bedroom, and shutting the door. Baby is opening her mouth, waiting for her breakfast. Toddler’s got her eyes fixed on the TV, watching what’s-her-face on Treehouse. Dory? No. Dora. Do you have to explore so loud today, Dora? Shut up!
“Sweetie, remember to eat your breakfast!” I tell her in my trying-to-be-calm-but-not-actually-calm voice. I can’t believe this will be our last time eating breakfast here. My phone buzzes. New message. I turn it over. My throat feels even drier. Do I even have any saliva left? The bedroom door opens. Fuck, he’s coming.
“Yummy, num-num, baby!” I say in my sing-song voice, spoon going in. Baby smiles, cereal all over her little pink gums. Am I really ready for this? Yes. Yes, obviously, you cando this and you willdo this. I hear the jingle of his keys. He’s getting ready to leave.
“Sweetie,” I whisper to toddler, “go say bye to daddy.” She obediently gets up from the mini-table that he built for her, and runs to the den. “Byyyyeeeeeeeeee dadddaaaaaaa!” He’s lifting her up, hugging her. She gives him a kiss. My vision gets a little blurry, but I blink it away. He comes around to kiss baby’s head. As always, I’m invisible. The front door closes, and the lock turns.
I quickly pick up my phone and type: ‘He just left. Come up in ten minutes to be safe.’ Should be enough time so they don’t pass each other in the elevator. I hop over to the bedroom and open the closet door to start grabbing empty bags and see his long-sleeve, collared shirts hanging there. I’m transfixed on them when I hear the lock on the door turning again. Oh no. I scramble back to my chair next to baby and pick up the cereal bowl with trembling hands. He’s back. He marches into the living room.
“Where’s the car seats?” he asks, looking directly at me now.
“Oh,” I manage to say. I never was a good liar. “I brought them up to clean last night. There were milk stains,” I say, trying to maintain eye contact with him. He doesn’t seem convinced. What if he knows? Please just leave.
As if he hears my thoughts, he walks back towards the door without another word. Leaving a trail of fire behind him that I cannot put out. Not this time. I grab my phone again. New message: ‘I’m here. What do I do?’
I respond back: ‘Wait a few minutes. He came back.’ Now I rush over to the window to see his blue Nissan leave the parking lot for the last time.
Trying to remember to breath, I open the front door and look towards the elevators down the corridor. She’s here.
My mom looks terrified. She quickly walks over to our unit, pushing a trolley of empty suitcases. We’re too nervous to even hug each other. Once she’s inside, she hugs and kisses the girls.
“Do you think he’s going to come back again?” she asks me, quietly. I shake my head. “I don’t think so. I hope not. Let’s get going.”
Within a few hours, we’ve managed to pack up the pots and pans, some dishes, all of our clothes, and the girls’ toys and books. I had already packed shoes and other things over the past few weeks and hid the boxes, knowing we wouldn’t have much time today.
“Whey we goin’, mama?” little toddler asks, looking around the condo unit as it quickly gets emptied out. “Just on a little trip,” I tell her, “just us girls!”
“Yay!” she cheers, hugging her stuffy to her chest.
Once the movers have taken the last of the luggage, I sneak into the bedroom and place the letter on the dresser. I take my engagement ring, and then my wedding band, off my finger and place them next to the letter.
“What? You’re not keeping your rings?” mom exclaims.
“No,” I tell her, exhaling for the first time in a long time, “not keeping them.”
I can still hear his voice, slithering into my ear, telling me, “as long as that ring is on your finger, I can do what I want to you.”
Definitely not keeping the rings.
At long last, we are leaving. I look around and exhale again. I’m breathing. I’m actually breathing. As I lock up, I realize that I didn’t get around to cooking dinner. Oh well. He’s got something else waiting for him tonight.
Day 382 of depression, round 5.
I’m sitting on a tall, cold, wooden chair. My feet don’t touch the floor, not even close. I’m facing a very large window, so I can actually see a bit of civilization. The sky is beautifully blue, and the clouds appear to be swimming slowly across it, like watching a snail slide across the pavement.
The wind is blowing the leaves on the branches of the trees quite forcefully, but it isn’t cold. I walked all the way here, so I know. Even with the wind, the sun felt warm on my back. I feel content about this, because I truly despise winter. Summer is almost over and soon it will be fall, and everything will be cold again. At least right now there are still colourful flowers in bloom. The leaves are still bright green. Nothing is fading yet.
I was fading for a while. A long while.
There was a generous sprinkling of magic over the summer which lifted me out of that heavy fog. Surrounding myself with family members, keeping a busy schedule, not allowing myself to stop. Always on the go. I was present. I was there for everything. I took my daughters everywhere I could. They have the photos to prove it.
Most importantly, I opened myself up to someone. After almost four years of solitude, I lifted myself up out of that dark hole and into a bit of light. And once I had a taste of that light, I began to soak it up. Every ounce of it. It was like coming out of years of underground hiding and finally feeling the rays of the sun again. Thinking, was it always this bright?
For almost a year, I’ve been kept myself wrapped in silence. In my own cocoon, only I wasn’t anticipating a butterfly transformation. One day, I decided to risk it. Break out of the cocoon and maybe, just maybe, I’ll survive out there.
I did it. I survived the summer out of my cocoon. I was a butterfly. I had wings. Every weekend, I opened myself up a little bit more than the last. I wasn’t numb anymore. There was feeling inside of me, all over me. In my veins, on my skin, in the strands of my hair.
Today is the first Saturday in many that I am alone. I sat on the futon. I wrapped myself up. I listened to the silence. Until all I could hear was the thumping of my heart under my fuzzy, pink robe. I needed to get out. So, I put on some clothes, brushed my teeth, placed my fuchsia ear buds in my ears, slung my floral bag across my back, looked at myself in the mirror, sighed loudly, and headed out.
So here I am. Avoiding silence and loneliness. Desperate for human contact, for voices other than the one in my head. The one that keeps telling me, “the light is going out, Taneet. It’s not going to last.”
Sometimes I believe all the noise in the world wouldn’t drown out that evil voice.
Three weeks ago, I looked at my reflection in the steamy mirror, got really close to it (I didn’t have my eyeglasses on) and said, “everything is fine. You are okay. Everything will be okay.” I said it out loud. I felt silly. But I did it. I figured maybe the voice coming out of my mouth will shut down the voice between my ears.
But it’s back. Or maybe it just never went away.
My hands were trembling earlier. Maybe because of my anxiety, maybe because of the meds. I just needed to get away from myself.
What would I hear if I could jump into this coffee cup? Would it only be the swirling and the swooshing of the warm liquid? Would I drown and blend into the sweetness, with only the powdered grains of cinnamon melting their way into me? Would it be silence?
Would someone place a lid on the cup? Taking away any hope of light? Making me go under? Unable to resurface?
My hands are trembling again. Its starting to get cold.
I’m screaming. I can see his face in front of me; lips blue, skin gone a pale yellowish. Like it would fall off his bones if I touched it. His eyes are wide open, but he doesn’t see me. He’s dead.
I wake up with a jolt, gasping for air. My throat is parched and my forehead is wet. As I slowly lift the comforter from my legs, I see a figure in the doorway, standing still, watching me.
“Mama?” a voice comes from the shadows, “are you okay?” it’s asking. I realize it’s the sweet voice of my six year old daughter. “Mama is okay,” I tell her, “just a bad dream.”
“Oh, I’m sorry mama,” she says hugging me. She looks up and asks, “Would you like some water?”
I kiss her forehead. What would I do without my little angels? My four year old daughter is still sleeping, surprisingly. “Thank you, sweetheart. But you should get back to bed, before your sister wakes up,” I respond, our arms still wrapped around each other.
“Okay,” she complies. “Good night, mama. I hope you dream about unicorns!”
I wish I could dream about unicorns, I think, as I make my way to the kitchen. I need cold water. And some Advil. My head is pounding. I’m leaning against the counter staring at the prescription bottles lined up. I pick up the Wellbutrin and open it. I pour the little blue pills into the palm of my hands. Such a beautiful blue. Reminds me of the ocean in Cuba. The water looks so blue, it almost seems fake. My mind is taking me back, lost in my reverie, to that day. That horrible, terrifying day.
We were sitting on the beach, the most beautiful one I had ever seen. Light and deep blue waves hugged each other, melting into that stellar crystal blue. The sand was velvety soft, a creamy white. The girls were in plain view, one jumping into the waves and the other with her little blue bucket, collecting the porcelain-like seashells. It was all so delicious. I was savoring every moment.
I couldn’t see my husband anywhere, which was even better. It was only the first day of our first-ever family vacation, and he was already being a complete nightmare. I was regretting inviting him on this trip, being well acquainted with his alcoholism, which is why I had taken my daughters away from him two years ago. But everyone deserves second chances, and I wanted more than anything to give our children memories of us being a family together. Memories that would stay with them forever.
There he was. I spotted him walking towards me, dragging his feet in the sand, and holding two cups. He set them down next to his lounge chair. I guess he realized I was glaring at him and he said, “Oh, did you want a drink?” Of course – both drinks were for him. God, it was still morning. He had barely eaten since we left for the airport the day before. I turned my attention to my girls, getting up from my chair. Their blue and pink bathing suits covered in sand. I wouldn’t let him ruin this for us.
Later, that evening, the girls and I got dolled up, deciding we would roam around the resort and take some family photos before dinner. We put on our cute dresses, I even wore make-up and opted for contact lenses instead of my oversized glasses. The maid had left pretty red flowers on the bed, butterfly flower or Mariposa, I think they were called. We placed them in our hair, tucking them securely behind our ears.
While doing a final check to make sure I was camera-ready, I saw my husband’s face in the mirror. I thought he was looking at me, and decided to do a little twirl for him.
“Doesn’t mommy look pretty, daddy? You look so pretty!” our eldest exclaimed. But he didn’t respond. He had a blank look in his eyes and his mouth looked like a bulldog’s – a very exaggerated upside down smile. He was sitting in front of us, but he wasn’t really there. I remembered he hadn’t eaten much of lunch, similar to breakfast, and dinner the night before. There was more rum in him than anything else.
“Are you okay?” I asked him. Again, he didn’t respond. He just slowly nodded his head. I sighed, and we all made our way out of the air conditioned room. We walked down the humid hallway towards the stairs leading out of the blue bungalow. Our eldest was in front of us, and our youngest next to me, holding my hand. Their daddy was close behind us, and I could see him from the corner of my right eye. As we descended down the stairs, he seemed to be doing a twirl of his own, a much bigger one. Turning around, like he was letting the warm breeze move him in a different direction. Did he look up at the blue sky? I called his name, but he didn’t respond.
He collapsed on to the concrete. I screamed his name.
“Daddy!!” the girls cried, “daddy, daddy!!”
His entire body was curling in, convulsing. His arms, hands and fingers folding in towards his body. His face was contorted; mouth slack on one side. I fell to my knees in shock, screaming his name. What was happening? An unfamiliar sound was coming from his lips, which were now turning blue. Pain. He was in pain. Foam bubbled and trailed down the side of his mouth.
“He’s having a seizure!” I yelled, but no one was around us. The sound of our daughters’ sobs filled my ears. “HELP!” I yelled to the sky, “Someone, please help!”
An older couple walking by, down the path, heard my screams. He can’t die, I thought, as I stared at his blue lips. My husband. The father of our children. Our girls. They’ll be devastated. Don’t you dare die on me, asshole! Better to have a drunk father than a dead one.
But his face grew paler, and lips more blue. I felt my heart go from beating wildly, to stopping altogether. There were people around me now. Someone brought a blue square pillow out and placed it gently under his head. The voices around me were muffled.
Suddenly, I was having flashbacks of my father, laying on the bathroom floor, unconscious, with his vomit flowing over the tiles. My mother yelling into the phone, “you thought he doesn’t drink? Come take a look at your drunken son!”
“Ma’am? Ma’am?” a man was talking to me. What was happening? Where were my daughters?
“I’m a policeman, I’m Canadian. I’m here to help. What happened?” he asked me. I shook my head, the words choking me. “I… I don’t know. He fell. He started to seizure.”
“Is he epileptic? Has this happened before?”
“I don’t know. I don’t think so.”
I could see blood in my husband’s mouth. He must have bitten his tongue. His eyes were moving. But he wasn’t seeing me or anyone else. The Canadian man was talking to him. There were two staff members of the resort talking to each other. There were people behind me. But where were my babies?
“Senorita? There is an ambulance coming. They will take him to the hospital. You will need to bring your passports, please. Don’t worry, everything will be fine,” one of the employees was saying.
I got up and looked around. I saw my eldest standing at the top of the stairs, hiding, and crying. My little one was sitting in the lap of a woman I didn’t know. She had a little girl sitting next to her too. Her daughter, I assumed.
I climbed up to them, legs like jelly, extending my arms. “Come here, sweetie,” I said to my eldest, “daddy is okay, he’s okay.” I wiped her tears, and looked at my younger daughter, who was expressionless at this point. She looked comfortable in the woman’s lap.
“They’re taking daddy to the hospital now to check his ouchie,” I told both my girls.
The woman introduced herself to me, and told me she was staying in the same bungalow as us, with her husband and two daughters as well. They were also from Ontario. Fate.
“I’m happy to watch your girls for you,” she was saying. She asked another woman, who was also watching the scene unfold, for a pen and paper. She must have been the one who brought the pillow. Her room was likely close by, because she appeared a moment later with a pen and paper, as requested.
The woman holding my baby wrote her information down. Full name, phone number, room number. She said she would keep them entertained and taken care of while I accompanied my husband to the hospital.
After grabbing our passports and all of the cash we brought with us, I promised my daughters we would be back soon, and ran to the ambulance where they were taking my husband. The butterfly flowers were left on the concrete, soon to shrivel up.
The ambulance ride was nauseating. The stretcher he was resting on was moving around, the wheels weren’t locked. My heart was in my throat, thinking he was going to go flying out of the back doors at any moment. The paramedic focused on sticking what appeared to be ECG wires to my husband’s chest.
When we finally arrived, they transferred him into a wheelchair and brought him inside. It wasn’t exactly a hospital. It was a very quiet clinic, eerily quiet. No patients waiting anywhere. My eyes adjusted to the dim lighting inside, taking in the blue walls and high ceilings.
The room they brought him into was completely white. It was like being in a very large sugar cube. Only one bed, one chair, a sink, a few machines, and an IV drip.
I noticed when he was on the bed that my husband had soiled his shorts. It must have happened during the seizure. The same paramedic from the ambulance was inserting the IV needle into his arm, who also happened to be wearing completely white. He could have camouflaged right into the walls. Another man walked into the room, wearing regular clothes. He introduced himself as the doctor and began asking the required questions. His English was not very good and I was afraid he didn’t know what a seizure was. The extent of my Spanish was “hola”, “no habla espanol”, “per favore”, “gracias”, and “agua.” So I had to explain the seizure using actions. I wanted badly to just get the hell out of there and be with my daughters, but it didn’t look like that would be happening any time soon.
The doctor needed a urine test. They couldn’t take him off the bed, so he had to piss into a glass jar, right in front of me. I looked away. I remembered one of my co-workers snapping a poster on Snapchat from her doctor’s office, showing what healthy urine should look like. Clear. A little yellow is okay; just means you should be drinking more water.
His urine was dark brown.
I didn’t need a doctor to tell me he was severely dehydrated. All alcohol, no water. But he told me anyway, and also advised we would be there for at least another three hours. He left the room, saying he would return shortly.
We were alone in the room.
He looked up at me from the bed. I stood opposite him, my arms folded. Most people say when they see their loved ones in a hospital bed, that they look small. But he didn’t. He looked too tall and too skinny. I saw something else, too. His eyes were full of fear.
“What happened?” he asked me.
I took a deep breath and replied, “You had a seizure.”
“No I didn’t,” he scoffed. Of course. Mr. Denial was here now. He had always been in denial about his drinking. Why would it stop here?
Since there was never any winning with him, I knew there was no point in arguing.
“There are witnesses,” I simply said, “including our daughters.”
His large brown eyes grew even larger. I daresay he looked remorseful for a moment, but looking at him in his fragile condition only enraged me.
“You could have at least drank some fucking water,” I hissed.
He lowered his eyes, peering at the IV and then looked back up.
“I’m sorry,” he said. I didn’t know whether to embrace him or slap him. All I could say back was, “I thought you were dead.” My nose tingled, the lump rose higher into my throat, and when I felt the tears emerging, I left the room.
I walked into what appeared to be an office, where a nurse or receptionist was sitting at a desk. I asked her if it was possible to contact our resort so I could check in on my children. She was kind and eager to help out. I watched her dial the phone number, her long fingernails pressing down on each button. She tried many times, but wasn’t able to get through to them. I wished for some cold water to run over my dry throat and splash over my sweaty body. I needed to know if they were okay. I had never left them alone with anyone, except their teachers at school, let alone strangers in a foreign country.
A shrill ringing cut into my thoughts. The woman answered the phone and immediately handed it to me. It wasn’t my daughters, but it was one of the resort staff letting me know my children were fine. I finally exhaled. I don’t know how long I was holding my breath.
I walked around the empty clinic, not wanting to see that drunkard’s face. It was a mistake, I told myself, a huge mistake bringing him along. This was my fault. I should have come alone with the girls. When they think of their first family trip, this is what they’ll remember.
After getting several litres of water into his system, he was released and advised to not drink any alcohol for a few days. Only food and water.
“Of course,” he obligingly responded to the doctor, but I knew better. He couldn’t go a day without it. And I wasn’t going to stick around with my daughters to see how it played out.
That night, back at the blue bungalow, as he lay in his bed, and the girls and I in ours, I made a decision. It was over. Our marriage was over. Who was I kidding – we weren’t a family. I was foolish to think we could become one in seven magical days, with the Caribbean Sea at our feet.
“Mommy, are you crying?” my four year old whispered, lifting her head in the darkness.
“No,” I whispered back, through sobs.
I closed my eyes, and saw his face. Dead. Blue lips.
I didn’t sleep.
I’m scooping the blue pills from my palm back into their bottle. See you guys tomorrow, I tell them. I check on the girls in their beds. Still asleep. I wonder if he is sleeping. Dead or alive? If he is alive, we wouldn’t know. I guess a drunk father isn’t better than a dead one. It’s the same to us. It’s not that beautiful smile that I see at night, the one I remember from our wedding. Not his warm eyes I see, looking down at me, while we dance. All I see when I close my eyes are the blue lips on his shriveled corpse.
Day 261 of depression, round 5.
I’ve moved from one side of the couch to the other side. It makes the charger plug for the laptop come out though. So I might switch back to the other side.
There’s laundry on the futon, not sure if its clean. Another heap of it on the carpet. And more in the washroom. But there’s an entire hurricane of clothes in the bedroom.
How much Netflix have I watched today? I’ve lost count.
The coffee table is covered with scattered items; DVDs, toys, crayola markers, Nutella jar and spoon, water bottle, dirty plate, ice cream sandwich wrapper, etc.
Toys everywhere. Why did I buy all these toys? Where can I put them all? Sometimes I want to throw everything away.
I wept today. Wailed, actually, quite loudly. Haven’t done that in a while. Stood in the middle of the kitchen, wiping my face repeatedly, lifting up my eyeglasses, wipe, more tears, wipe, more tears, wipe, now the tissue is soaked.
My ex-husband called me. Cried more.
I’ve been forgetting to take my medication this week. Hence all the tears today. When I take them consistently, I’m a little bit numb to all the feelings.
It felt good to cry. I feel lighter.
Pain weighs a lot. It’s no wonder my muscles are always aching.
Headaches, migraines, stomachaches.
They told me emotional pain and physiological pain are connected. I guess they’re right.
I’m so tired. I’m exhausted. I’m so tired in fact, that I’m tired of being tired.
There are days I wish I could sleep and not wake up until my body is normal and my brain is new. But then I get so much anxiety about oversleeping, I get dizzy and sweaty and that tiny lump in my neck starts throbbing.
I’ve gained weight.
In my first few rounds of depression I actually lost weight. Down to about 90 lbs. All bones.
Now I can’t even find my bones in all this blubber. My daughter constantly asks me if there’s a baby in my tummy. But she doesn’t know that I’d had to have sexed someone first, which hasn’t happened in ages.
That’s because I have no love life. I’m alone. Aside from my daughters of course, but that’s a different type of love.
My eyeballs hurt. Guess they’re sore from the crying.
My therapist tells me I’m not delusional or abusive or a neglectful mother, so that’s something. But I know I’m not enough.
They deserve better.
A lot of people my age are making a shit ton of money. They’re successful. They have their own custom built homes. Luxury cars. They take a shit ton of vacations too. Their kids have their own rooms. Happy families.
Me? I’m drowning in debt. I live in a one bedroom basement apartment that I’m renting with my two children. I listen to the well-off family above me walk across their vast living room and hear them rustling around the kitchen every morning; the blender whirs and the kids are running down the stairs, and there are two parents and a nanny. And their home is immaculately clean. I’ve seen it.
I’m a liar. I lie to people. I smile. I radiate. I hug and laugh and plan parties for my daughters. I suck.
I’m a sicko.
Someone’s knocking at the door. Oh. No, that’s just my migraine kicking in the side of my skull. I got nervous for a second; how can I let anyone in to this mess?
(Photo taken in 2005 during round 2 of my depression)
“Why”, he asked me, “why stay?”
I looked away, not knowing what to say.
‘Maybe’, I thought, ‘it’s time to let him go.’
What do we really know?
He saw my pain, he took my hand.
“Come with me,” he said, and it began.
I followed him into his world; blinking, not from the light but because it was a terrifying sight.
The darkness, the frigid wind. It was bleak and it was grim.
Someone laughing, sent chills up my spine; it wasn’t the contagious kind.
He was gone; my heartbeat quickened; “where are you?” I called, my limbs all stiffened.
Sobbing, I heard, ran towards the sound. My screams piercing through me as I saw what I had found.
He’s in pieces, broken, blade in his hand. Crying tears of blood, unable to stand.
“I can’t, I won’t!” I said, “I won’t let you go! You’re coming with me, don’t tell me no!”
I gathered his pieces, broken heart and all, sew up the wounds so he could stand up tall.
We ran, hand in hand, I thought I saw the light. “We’re getting out of here!” I told him, “I’m ready to fight!”
Back to my world, it was getting close. He let go of my hand and said, “it’s no use.”
He was giving up, consumed by the darkness. He began to fade, blending in with the blackness.
“No!” I cried, “I know why you should stay! Your world is a cruel one, heavy without hope. But there’s another world out there, one you can cope! Let me bring you back there; I’ll stay by your side. Please, little brother, please don’t die.”
He wanted to choose life, he wanted to stay, but the world had failed him, persuaded him another way.
It’s just easier. Easier to be alone.
Don’t have to worry about checking his phone.
Easier with the dishes. Not too many to clean.
Don’t have to worry about what he didn’t mean.
Easier in bed. No snoring in my ear.
No. Don’t miss his body, holding me near.
Easier in the morning. No make up, no shower.
No, don’t have to worry about marriage and power.
Easier with the kids. No drama at all.
Don’t have to worry if he’ll catch my fall.
Easier when the family gets together.
No, he’s not here again, I’m alone forever.
Easier without that diamond on my finger.
No, there’s no heaviness, no weight that lingers.
Easier without the smell. No more Bacardi.
Don’t have to worry about all his mini parties.
It’s easier to be alone. No more abuse.
Don’t have to care about his being obtuse.
Easy, just look. It’s easy to do.
No, my heart’s not broken, it’s good as new.
It’s easy to be hard. No more being weak.
No, I’m not crying, my eyes sometimes leak.
The easiness comes and the easiness goes.
After all, it’s what my kismet chose.
He’s not okay.
He’s not okay.
He’s not okay.
He’s not okay.
He’s not okay.
Stands in the light,
Holding the blade
Seeming to be