I have been single for over a year now. It was not my decision; my love decided he had enough of life and made the decision to end his. So. Here I am, living in a world of separation. Losing someone in this manner separates us from others in many ways; it’s a decision that ultimately must be given respect, if we truly believe in choice. Pro-choice, right? Hmmmm. Puts a new light on the term, doesn’t it?
©Aryana B. Londir
Separation, digital photograph
I knew of his struggles, his issues, and his views on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. A very “successful” tenured professor at a highly rated university, he was respected internationally. A physically beautiful man, strong of body and mostly clear of mind. Great sense of humor and a zest for life unmatched by most. Yet he chose suicide. Quite the dichotomy. Not for him.
As with most people who end their own lives, it was planned. The last day we were together, I KNEW he was not himself. He had been battling for so long. Earlier in the day he face-timed me and would not even look into the camera; it frustrated me greatly but I still did not get it, did not see the shift. He came to my place that night, and as soon as he walked through the door, I knew right then and there he was gone. He was a shell, vacant. But did I get it? Nope. Normally a sweet tempered man, he started picking fights over nothing. Declared he was going to get his stuff and go. Since he pretty much lived with me, I thought he meant his immediate belongings….but no, it was everything he had there. Everything. Every. Little. Thing. I didn’t know what to say, so I just sat and watched. After he was finished gathering everything, he looked at me blankly, and said “Bye, baby.” I said “Bye.” Did I know then? Nope. Logically, intellectually, in retrospect, I KNOW there was nothing I could do. His decision was made. That was Sunday night. Tuesday he shot himself. I didn’t find out until his daughter texted me on Friday and said she and his family were in town and wanted to meet with me so they could figure out what happened and why… I had no idea to what she referred, so I asked “Figure out what?” Then she texted back, quite simply, “Oh, he shot himself.” Thanks a bunch for dropping that on me via a text. So considerate.
When meeting men in the dating world, I often am asked “Why are you single?” Tell the truth and you are met with many reactions, mainly looks of shock and discomfort. So you just give the usual banal response, “Well, my last relationship just didn’t work out.” Sometimes they will ask why/how. Again, the truth isn’t conducive to a first, second or even third date. You learn to be evasive. If you say, “Well, he died,” then the inevitable question arises as to the cause of death. And then the floodgates open and you start to relive everything. Kind of shifts the tone of the evening!
Probably the biggest thing I discovered about moving forward in my life is how deeply it affects my level of trust. Of course I began dating too soon. I believed it would help me get past the memories. It actually made it worse, and unfortunately it affected my interactions with the men I met. They didn’t deserve it. They were the innocent victims. And still are. It’s been fifteen months and trust is still my biggest challenge. Will it return? Maybe. Maybe not.
Often I just didn’t believe they would show up for the initial meeting (met via online dating sites). I really believed it, but they always did. And then I hoped for the best, hoped “the question” wouldn’t arise, and if it did, how would I respond?
I have survived a lot in my life. Serious illness, loss of parents, divorce, injury; the stuff of life. But to survive a suicide? Kinda rounds out the life experiences. Could have done well without that one.
I am also very fortunate in my life. I am strong, healthy, considered attractive, traveled, a successful artist in a few media, intelligent, educated, financially secure, possess a good sense of humor and interest in life. I have a few friends who I adore, love and trust implicitly. There are so many things for me to look forward to. I only wish he were here to join me.
My preference is to never have written this article.