I Can

“I didn’t hear you leave
I wonder how am I still here
And I don’t want to move a thing
It might change my memory.” Dido- Here With Me

I have spent the greater part of the last year dwelling on what I thought I would not be able to do in my life.  This morning, I read an editorial in the New York Times entitled “To Reduce Suicides, Keep the Guns Away”.  Since the man that I loved with all of my heart, put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger, I was drawn to what the Times had to say on this subject.

If he didn’t have a gun, he would likely have found another means of taking his life. I didn’t even know that he had access to a gun. I am convinced that this act was an impulse but he could have jumped from a building or taken an overdose. In short, I don’t know when he made the decision to kill himself but he made that decision; independent of what it would mean to the woman who loved him purely, deeply and without agenda. The woman who just loved that he breathed air every day.

The day that Gene decided to take his life, I was convinced that I would die right along with him. It took every fiber of my being not to take my life.  I shut down completely for weeks and spent months trying to find a reason to live. In truth, there is no reason that I can find, for taking a life, even your own life. If ever there was a reason for me to take my life, on this side of my pain, I can’t fathom it at this point.

The visceral pain of my loss is with me always but now, it’s part of me like my medical, scientific and surgical training. The pain colors how I confront suffering and need. My pain has become a friend that reminds me to value every connection and interaction with my fellow human beings. My pain compels me to run through it and to keep running because that is my connection.


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