Surviving Suicide – Part 19
June 27, 2010
I’ve been under a lot of stress lately, and it hasn’t been lost on me that one thing I can count on to keep me focused is this blog. It’s a driving need for me to do this right now and although I can’t explain it, I just know it’s what I’m meant to be doing. Even though there are many other things I need to be doing, my intuition keeps guiding me back here. So I’m following my intuition, do you?
December2000 cont’d. – Rob’s last month:
On December 12th I’ve noted that Rob called wanting the cop’s phone number because he wanted to start the process of getting his guns back. I was astonished that after what he’d gone through that this would be what was paramount on his mind and said so. Looking back on it later, I realized that Rob really did identify with his “things”, his guns, cameras, stereo, boat, etc. and is how he viewed his worth somehow, so it did make sense to me eventually, but not at the time. By losing his guns, he was beginning to lose what he had and thereby losing himself, and this was one of his fears he’d relayed to the Psychiatrist while interned.
Rob was released from the institution this same day, December 12th and when he was being released, he called me at work to come get him. I told him no, ask WC or get yourself here. He ended up taking a cab, walked in the front doors of the showroom, walked past me without a word and went into the shop area, raised the bay door, pulled his Rover out, came back in and closed the bay door and locked it, then walked back out into the showroom and out the door – all without ever saying one single word to me. Was pretty bizarre, but seemed par for the course.
I noted in my calendar tabs “Suicide Mission” for several days at this point and that Rob was not in at work. I can’t recall what “Suicide Mission” meant to me at the time, but it must have meant something to me at the time and I’ve just forgotten. All of Rob’s firearms were taken by the police, but he still had a shotgun stored in the basement up in the rafters that I’d forgotten about, but he hadn’t.
Rob was really in bad shape and looked so gaunt that I think at some point after his release that I felt sorry for him and invited him to the house for dinner and a hot bath as there was only a shower on the boat. I didn’t make note of it, but it must have been one of these times that he remembered he had the shotgun still.
On Sunday, December 17th I awoke and for some reason the first thought I had was about the shotgun! I got up, went to the basement, looked up to where he stored it, saw the big garbage bag he kept over the case he kept it in and pulled it down to check. Sure enough the shotgun was missing!
I was furious that he’d do this after all we’d just gone through with the first attempt and I immediately called him, told him I knew he had the shotgun and how dare he sneak around the house to take it when I’d been good enough to have him for dinner. I was so tired of fighting to keep one step ahead of Rob to keep him alive that I told him he had 15 minutes to get that shotgun home or I’d call the cops and let them know and they’d tear his beloved boat apart looking for it!
My friends and family totally freaked out when I told them this later, they had visions of me opening the front door to Rob and being blown away. Somehow I knew Rob meant me no physical harm, but it was a risk that I took that’s for certain. Rob was home to the house in about 10 minutes, rang the doorbell, I opened it and took the shotgun from him. I did not invite him in at all but I did thank him for returning it.
He looked so deflated and defeated, the look of having given up entirely could clearly be seen in his eyes, they were dull and lifeless, very sunken and very glazed over. It broke my heart seeing him like that, but I was also very angry that he’d taken it in the first place and it was my anger that day that won out. I knew I had to get it out of the house but hid it in another place in the basement until I could get a friend of ours to come over and remove it for safe keeping. I called our friend, who was really the only long term male friend Rob had and he said he’d be over as soon as he could to remove the shotgun.
On Monday, December 18th I think Rob showed up to work, but was in no shape to do any work even if we’d had it. Rob told me that after returning the shotgun and leaving my house, that later that day he’d tried using ether and a garbage bag. I had made reference to this earlier, but I see now from my notes that this is when it took place.
Rob sat on the stool at the service counter and recounted in great detail what it was like using the either. I was horrified, but listened and didn’t judge. I realized how scrambled and lost he was and he’d now developed a terrible cold too. I think we both left early from work that day, and my compassion once again surfaced and I invited Rob back to the house for dinner and a hot bath.
I recall sitting on our bed in our bedroom talking to Rob after dinner was over and our son was in bed. He’d had his bath while I cleaned up after dinner and was dressed and sitting on the bed. It made me nervous being in our bedroom, it dawned on me that that was strange too. I remember how down on himself Rob was and I tried to get him to focus on just one good thing he liked about himself. He said he couldn’t think of one single thing! He told me how he felt about himself, how he loathed himself, what he’d put our son and me through, our families, our friends. I realized how depressed he was and he was shaking and sobbing as he was telling me everything.
My heart just broke for him, I hated to see anyone like this nevermind the man I’d loved and been with for so long. He wasn’t able to come up with anything he liked so I piped up that he was the most amazing, mechanically gifted person I’d ever seen. That there wasn’t anything he couldn’t fix and that was a talent many didn’t have.
I remember thinking to myself what a sad statement that was, that that was all I could come up with :(, no great qualities of who he was as a person, or anything like that, but it was at least one good, positive thing and it’s all I could bring to the table at that moment. I think Rob reacted well and did have to agree with me and it raised his spirits a little bit but not much.
He was so exhausted that I suggested he stay over in the guest bedroom. Again friends and family freaked out about this too thinking I was insane for letting him in the house nevermind sleep over, that he could have killed our son and me in our sleep, etc. I just knew he wouldn’t harm us, was very sure of this but was going only on trusting my instinct.
I woke up the next morning with the alarm, hadn’t slept well but had to get my son ready for school and me for work. Rob got up a bit later, had a coffee, wouldn’t eat anything and literally looked like death warmed over. His eyes were all puffy from crying, very red and sunken. I noticed once again how much weight he’d lost and how taut his skin was over his bone structure. He looked like a shadow of the man I knew.
I noticed the door to the basement was slightly ajar and I always kept it closed so my dog didn’t go down there. I realized then that Rob must have been up in the night searching once again for the shotgun I’d hidden and I was infuriated all over again. I beat myself up for being so stupid as to trust he’d not do this again, that I trusted him to behave and just be grateful for having a hot meal, a bath and a shoulder to cry on. My son was just about ready to go to school and I was to drop him off, but I knew I couldn’t leave Rob unattended in my house and had the horrid task of telling him so.
I took my son to school but came right back home again. Driving back home I was dreading what I had to say, but rehearsed it in my head. I told Rob I knew he’d been looking for the shotgun during the night. He denied it, and then I pointed out that the basement door was ajar. He then admitted yes he’d been looking for it but hadn’t been able to find it. I told him I couldn’t trust him anymore at all, not in my home definitely and that he would have to leave so I could put the alarm on and know he can’t have access.
It truly did break my heart doing this, I loved Rob but knew I couldn’t trust or predict what he might do and that I must be strong and carry through. Rob looked absolutely devastated that I’d told him I couldn’t trust him in my home, our home, but he did leave at 12:30pm and I guess went back to the boat.
On Wednesday, December 20th our friend came over to pick up the shotgun after work. I talked to our friend about all that had gone down. He was astonished that Rob was falling apart and he had been in touch with Rob mostly by phone, but had visited him a few times on the boat too. This was someone we’d been friends with for almost 30 years, he was one of the few friends who had been through thick and thin with us, through the car phase, and now had also transitioned over to our boating life too. We had “land” friends and “boating” friends and never did the two groups mix well.
He was very worried about Rob, had told Rob he was making a huge mistake by destroying our marriage, but he also said it was like Rob was on a mission and wouldn’t listen. We reminisced a bit and both agreed neither of us could have ever imagined this was how it would all turn out. I realized too that even though I considered this man my friend too, in fact he was Rob’s friend and he’d not let me know what was going on either.
I made a mental note of that, knew that it hurt, but somehow was also glad that Rob did at least have one good friend. He left with the shotgun and I felt relieved it was out of the house. If Rob was going to kill himself, it was not going to be with guns. I don’t know why that was so important to me, but it was. Mostly I thought of what devastation it would cause and that anyone finding him should he follow through, would be horrified. Horrid thoughts and concerns to have – but they were real.