So, a friend of mine of 20 years urged me to get out and meet her at Choctaw in Durant last night. I spent all day going back and forth as to whether I was going or not and must have picked my phone up at least a dozen times throughout the course of the day and started texts that looked like, “Hey, I’m not sure I’m going to make it …”, but then kept deleting them and walked away from my phone.
Eventually, I made the decision to go for what I thought would be overnight, so I packed my bag, took Walter Williamson to my mom, then headed up 75 north. The quiet drive was nice and I hadn’t really cried yet all day, and I was planning on just trying not to. But right around the Highway 82 exit in Sherman I just about frigging lost it. Zack and I had this whole “Highway 82” thing that I won’t go in to right now, but let’s just say that if you’ve ever heard the song “Take Me There” by Rascal Flatts, that road was such a big part of his story, and thus our story too. So yes, it was a moment, and yes as I began remembering all the times we’d taken that exit for our Oklahoma adventures I was overcome with emotions. I swear I could feel the “one, two, three” squeeze (I-Love-You) that we would always share to quietly express the deep connection between us. EVERY single time we’d ever made that exit, he’d always squeeze my hand.
To say it was an out of body experience drifting through that venue without my husband would be an understatement, and since my friend didn’t arrive until after me, I was solo for 30 minutes. Several times I looked up and whispered, “Umm hello? You of all people KNOW how much I fucking hate this! What are you doing to me Williamson?” I kinda wanted to kick his ass, but not in a violent way. It was more so, “This is ANNOYING and it kinda really sucks and I wish I could punch you in the face”. It seemed like people were staring at me, which was probably all in my head, but it was just so extremely uncomfortable. I haven’t taken my wedding rings off by the way, and don’t foresee that happening any time in the near future. To be quite honest, I don’t know that I ever will. First of all, even though “death has parted us”, in my heart we are bonded for life, and also, I just don’t see how it’s possible that any other man on the face of this planet could possibly live with the immensely profound shadow that Zack has cast behind me eternally. No one will EVER be able to fill his shoes. Zero. Not that it’s a competition, and not that it’s even of relevance at this point because the thought of giving “all of me” to another man ever again makes me want to vomit. Aside from Christian and Gia there has been no other person who has had 100% of all I am. It was only him, and maybe it was only EVER supposed to be him, just as I was HIS “one and only everything”. I am so proud to say that I was Zack’s first love, and his last love, and everything in between! We were literally each other’s miracles and the answers to the prayers we’d both been praying since probably before we were even born. What are the chances that a love like ours could happen again for the third time in this life? I honestly just don’t know. My focus at this point is just me and my kids and my steadfast determination to take whatever steps are necessary to make some positive ripples in the human condition. I THINK I’VE DECIDED TO BECOME A LIFE COACH! It happened on the drive BACK from Oklahoma right around that good ole Highway 82 exit. It just hit me. Not like a ton of bricks, but a mountain of them. I’m GOING to get out there and start talking to anyone who will listen about all the things I’ve learned about “peopling” and “mental wealth” so that maybe, just maybe, all this pain I’ve been gifted can become someone’s else’s gift, too!
Wow, did I ever digress? Lol. Now I remember where I was going when I started to write this entry. So, let’s go back to the end of the night when we were sitting in Gilley’s listening to the band. Two guys walked up to check out our situation and asked to buy us drinks. I rolled my eyes SO far in the back of my head that I’m still not sure how I couldn’t read the signs on the wall behind me. I thought to myself,
Oh my good GOD, I really hate this! I LITERALY FUCKING HATE THIS! I don’t want this guy, that guy, or any guy EVER to buy me a drink EVER! I just want to go home, for my husband to be waiting for me when I get there, and for this to all not be real!
My poor friend was doing all that she could to protect me from this scenario. After all, her intention in getting me out was never to get someone to buy me a drink, only to get me out of my head. And I’m glad she did, because THIS is what led to my “Highway 82” life decision …
So the one guy asks about the drink, I was rolling my eyes, and my friend put her arms around me and turned to look at him and said these EXACT words: “Look, we sure do appreciate you but I’m going to kindly ask that you give us some space. Without going into details, my sweet friend here just lost her husband and I needed to get her out for the night which is the only reason we’re sitting here. This week is her birthday, it’s just not a good time for her, and I need you to leave us alone now.” “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that” he said then he turned to me. “Do you mind if I ask what happened?” Really? Umm, yes, I kinda do mind, but since he had the nerve to ask, I turned to look him straight in the eyes and shocked valued him with, “He shot himself in the head 23 days ago.” Then I turned back around and rolled my eyes again, to which he then replied, after five or so awkward seconds of silence,
Oh wow. Just wow. How could he go and do that to you? Why would he go and do that to you? I just don’t GET IT! It was such a permanent solution to a temporary situation. It’s just so selfish when people go and kill themselves like that. Man, that’s just a shame. I’m so sorry for you darlin’. Really, I am. Well, try and have a good birthday night.
Then he left, and oh my GOD, thank you JESUS for that!
So, here’s what’s wrong with what that guy said: ALL OF IT! In being perfectly honest, for more than a good split second I really wanted to punch him in the face, like, violently punch him in the face, not the other kind of “funny way” I’d wanted to punch Zack in the face earlier that night. I wanted to scream at him,
NO! YOU’RE FUCKING WRONG! He didn’t DO THIS to me. He didn’t even DO THIS to himself! He was sick, and in pain, and had been seeing things, and hearing voices, and he’d literally come apart at the seams. He was suffering, and tormented, AND WAY TOO MANY THINGS YOU COULD EVER POSSIBLY UNDERSTAND BECAUSE YOU NEVER WALKED IN HIS SHOES!” Selfish? HE WAS NOT! HE WAS LITERALLY SICK IN THE HEAD, and I refuse to let “selfish” be his legacy!
Yet, therein lies the problem. THE STIGMA! The misgiving. The untrue truths that so many have to speak just to make that fucking “the S word” easier to digest. Thus my “Highway 82 Life Coaching” decision! So many people just don’t get it – THEY SIMPLY DON’T UNDERSTAND – because unless you’ve lived it, survived it, or have watched someone dying this way out loud? It’s “only been 24 days” since my husband died by suicide, and by no means am I professing to be an expert, but I know what I know, and frankly, I’ve BEEN down that dark road Zachariah never made it off of. I’m GOING to help people understand!