Sunday, September 23, 2012

Reading sign language in the Dark

                                          Reading Sign Language in the Dark

       He had always said that marriage was a bad contract. I having been married for so long, and having a natural affinity for it, never raised to the bait. We simple went along as we had for a year or so and lived in sin. It was winter now and 2008 was coming to a close. We were working on still more projects. Putting in new windows and french doors. Painting and adding some tile. One evening after a busy day spent on chores, we treated ourselves to dinner at our favorite restaurant.  I had just come back from washing my hands and took my seat at our special table and Peng took my hand and asked me to marry him. I had not seen it coming. Clearly he had changed his mind. I of course said yes. We celebrated over steaks and good wine. We made a few calls to let people know and everyone wanted a date. We did not have one. I had no idea at all what we were going to do. My mother's, mother in law offered up the church that was a historic land mark in the town both our families had helped found. She called back with two dates, and we took the nearest one 12 days from the date he asked me.

  It was a small wedding. An intimate affair. One of my favorite memories. There was snow on the ground and my son walked me down the aisle. And so once again, I was a wife. A helpmate. he seemed the most generous person I had ever met. He was all rough exterior and a tender center, I thought. And I considered myself lucky. The only cloud in our sky was his sister. She was sick. She was dying and there was nothing to be done about it. She was fun and loud and loving. She was all heart and cancer had come to claim her. She fought all she could, but it would not relent and in February she took her leave. My husband was devastated. She was buried in the coldest weather on record for the Chicago area. I had never experienced that kind of cold. It was a hard time for my new family. The news of her passing was too much to bare. I could think of no words to take away the hurt. I was not close enough to any of his family to add much comfort. I sat with Homer and with my husband and I prayed that their shared pain be lifted. Even, as I knew my words were wasted, I sent them up. Hoping against hope that there would be some reprieve from this heavy stone called grief. But, no answers came. And as we traveled home, my husband became more and more still. Quiet. He had turned inward and I let him. I knew where he had gone and I knew I could not follow. I honored his grief and I left him to mourn in his own way.

  An anger descended upon Him. He had not seemed to be an angry person by nature. He was deep and wide and I never saw the undertow. I did not know how to take his pain away. And so I stood by and waited for him to come to me. I had never felt so alone in all our years together. We were apart form each other and unable to bridge the gap between us. Everything said was misunderstood. Times were too serious. It was like trying to read sign language in the dark. We could agree on nothing. Six coffee cups. He broke six coffee cups in one week. He would slam them in the sink or down on the table. He cussed. He brooded and was remote. We had our first real fight. I packed a bag. I was ready to run. I had been through too much to deal with a mean man. He went on a business trip and called me four times a day. We ichatted and tried to find peace. He came home to me with eight new coffee cups. Big Starbuck's ones to replace the ones he had shattered. Slowly he remembered how to smile. He would still get blue. Missing this woman he loved so much and I gave him room. I respected her place in his life, in his heart and I sent up more prayers. Thankful ones. Saying thank you to God for giving this man so much love and for placing him in such a wonderful family. I knew how important such things were.

  We made it through that barren season and pushed on straight through to summer, overtaking spring with the rush to get our relationship back on track. Our feelings for each other warmed our souls and gave our hearts a sense of contentment. He was usually the peacemaker. He would send up a white flag if we disagreed. He would put me into a funk with an unkind word and just as swiftly rescue me from the jagged rocks of my temper by getting me to laugh. I could never stay mad. I do not have that kind dedication to my anger. I would much rather make up then make war. And in this we agreed.

  I still felt down. it came and it went. Somedays were so hard. I could attribute it to nothing. I had no cause. Nothing was wrong. Which made it all the worse. The more He did for me the worse I felt. I had a deep unquenchable  guilt, that I was helpless to lift. I went to my doctor. It took me six weeks to make that call. To put my hand up and say I need help. I dragged myself to that appointment and I tried to explain. He dismissed me. He said I was not really depressed and he sent me away. I had no will to fight him. I could not argue for my wellbeing. It felt as if I was suffering from the slow death of my soul. I felt nothing but empty. I tried to hide it. Not wanting to put any more on the plate of the man that I loved. I knew he was fighting his own battles. I would not willingly add to it. It took a long time, for me to go back. To stand up for myself and not let someone else decide to regulate me to the margins. I changed doctors. Got a female this time. I sat in her examination room and cried out my pain. I could give no reasons, but I was firm in my need for help. She was understanding and kind and helped me find my way out of that dark place I had wondered into once again.

  The hardest thing about depression is that it is so easily slipped into and so much more difficult to pull yourself out of.

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