The day she took her last breath and transcended up to the heavens, I plummet down into the darkness, landing face first down into the abyss. I lay there motionless, paralysed by the intensity of my own emotions. Everything feels bleak and dark. Oblivious to time, I stay withering away in the shadows and wallowing in my sadness and despair. I dream of the angels coming, picking me up from the pits of hell and lifting me into the light but they don’t come.
One minute she was here with us and with one last breath she was gone, to the other side and we can’t get her back. Somehow I go into autopilot, numb to it all. I need to ring people to inform them. I can hear my voice speaking but I don’t think about what I am saying. I wait for everyone to arrive. My brain takes a moment to register, this can’t be real. She can’t be gone. People come in. We talk, hug and some people cry. Everything goes into slow motion. I can feel the emotions about to explode. I need to get out of here. I can’t be around these people any more. I need to go, somewhere, anywhere, just not here. I am trying my best to hold it in.
Don’t cry. Not here. You are not allowed…. Hold on just a little bit more.
Finally I am alone. The tears come in an overflowing torrent and I cannot stop them, I don’t want too. I have been holding them in and it feels good to finally be able to let them out.
That image haunts me every time I try to close my eyes. So I lay there in the darkness with my eyes open. I can’t sleep. How long have I been down here? Days? Weeks? Months? I don’t know…
I’m sad but they say it is normal to be sad. They say it is normal to feel raw and empty. It is part of grieving. Time will start to heal soon and normality will kick in. I want to yell at them when they tell me that.
Normal? This can’t be normal. To live day to day in this hell cannot be normal.
The cloud of darkness that follows me around does not dissipate. It turns more sinister. I’m no longer just sad, but fighting to make it through each day.
One day I think about not being here the next day and I realise that this is not normal.
I am not depressed. I am just grieving.
I walk around telling myself, I can’t be one of those “Depressed” people. This is a choice. I choose to live my life shutting myself out to the rest of the world. I can regain control of this whenever I want to.
What are you doing? You watched her fighting for each last day and every last breath and you are lying there watching yours pass you by? GET UP! GET UP!
I try to move but my limbs do not respond. I remain still. I glance my eyes up towards to the point of my demise, trying to will my body to regain some strength. Finally my stiff joints spark to light and I am standing weakly. I fumble around, feeling for a ledge to start my ascent. My hands run over flat walls and the search yields nothing. My frail legs give way as I find myself flat on my face. Panic races through every fibre of my body as I realise I’m stuck, and depressed.
I whimper out a cry, a whisper at first but each cry gets louder until I hear my voice screaming. I stand, shrieking for help until my voice is hoarse and my mouth is dry. After a while I hear a reply.
I can’t go and talk to her. That is just crazy. It’s like taking off all your clothes and dancing around the room naked.
I find myself having conversations with a strange lady. A doctor. She listens and I talk. Slowly the fog starts to lift and I can start to see the way out of here. I talk to other people and the more I discuss it, the lighter my load becomes. Others have also been in my place and felt what I did. I learn that depression is not a choice, nor a sign of weakness but rather one of strength. As to battle your way out of the pits of hell takes a lot more courage and determination that I realised.
I slump down into the grass, feeling the sunshine thawing my inner core that has felt cold for so long. My arms and legs feel like lead from the fatigue. My hands are red, raw with blisters and my fingernails are worn down from the relentless climb. I open my eyes, taking a moment to let them adjust to the brightness. A small smile creeps across my face for the first time in a long time…