Digging up the pain to feel something

03/31/2014 Entry

I jumped through the necessary hoops and got taxes done today. Yay me. One thing I learned is apparently Jackson Hewitt does your taxes for free if your husband/wife dies the year before…so, that was kind of a nice break.

I’ve been feeling numb and frozen emotionally, so I decided to peek into the dreaded brown paper bag that’s been hiding out in the depths of the closet since the day the police department gave it to me. My thinking was that maybe I’ll shake at least SOME emotion out…I was tired of the nothingness I’ve been feeling for months.

So I held the gun that Brandon killed himself with, felt its cool metal on my skin. Nothing. It was just a Glock 17. Heavy, black, cold. Lethal. I took the clip and put it in. Hearing the “click” of it going into place, I felt my eyes blur and a tear roll down my cheek. My mind immediately went back to March 1 last year, and I pictured my Brandon, in his very intoxicated state, going to the cabinet where he kept all his guns, picking this one up, sliding the clip in just like I did now, and walking back to his computer desk, sitting down. Did he sit there awhile? Did he look at it through his alcohol glazed eyes, knowing and understanding what he was doing? Or was he too far gone to really know what was happening? Was he following some repressed impulse? Did he think of me at all before pulling the trigger? Did he even understand, at all, what he was about to do, the amount of devastation he was going to rain down on everyone in his life? Or with an alcohol level of 0.23, was he not even aware of anything? I will never know the answers to these questions that plague me sometimes when it’s quiet all around me.

So, it seemed that I wasn’t as emotionally numb as I thought. Nothing was wrong with me, I still got upset when presented with the weapon that ended Brandon’s life.

Next, I moved onto his phone. It’s been uncharged for over a year, so I had to wait until it charged. After turning it on, I couldn’t stop looking through his last calls, his last texts. I saw that at 5:07 that night I called him. I remember this, I just got off work and would usually call him as I walked through the parking lot to my car. I remember nothing particular about our conversation, except at one point I said that I thought we didn’t tell each other “I love you” enough. To this, Brandon’s response was to excitedly say “I love you” over and over and over to me. I remember it made me laugh. I saw that he and his dad called each other a few times that night while I was at dinner. He replied to a couple of Craigslist postings he made that day about things he wanted to sell. He texted his brother and asked if he was going to be on Skype that night. His brother said that he probably would be after 10pm. To this, Brandon replied, “I will be asleep by then, maybe.” I thought, sadly, that no, you won’t be asleep. You’ll be dead, and I’ll be bent over your body giving you CPR while the 911 operator keeps telling me the ambulance is almost there, to keep going.

As I was reading all of this, a flood of repressed tears was finally escaping. I cried and cried. One of my cats even became very concerned. Everything points to this: Brandon did not wake up that morning wanting to kill himself. He was not thinking that even that night when I got home, because he walked me around outside and excitedly showed me all the yard work he had done while I was at work. He showed me the carpet and wall colors he thought we should use in the bedroom. He wasn’t thinking about death. He was responding to messages from people on Craigslist wanting to come by and look at things the next day. I wish to God I knew what the hell happened and changed between 8 and 9:45pm that night. Looking through his phone today made me realize that the decision he made to pull that trigger and end his life wasn’t premeditated, it was knee jerk and probably heavily influenced by alcohol. And that sucks. That sucks so much. It’s unfair. The life we were supposed to have together was destroyed with a drunk, knee jerk decision. Now it’s just me, with a memory of him, for the rest of my life. It sucks. I miss him.

It’s strange to feel so much conflicting emotion. While I miss Brandon and the life I had with him something fierce, I still love the life I have built for myself since then. I’m completely and deeply in love with Will, he’s a wonderful man. He makes me happy and I’m so glad to be with him, to share this life with him. Yet I still grieve for the life I had, for the best friend I had, for the husband I had. I still wonder what our life together would have been, what it could have been. It really does seem like two chapters: the life before, and the life after. They are separate, they are not the same. One cannot be compared to the other.

Since looking through the phone, I’ve been on the brink of tears all day. I still am. After the initial crying jag, I can now hold the gun and not feel much. It’s just a gun. I’ve always been a firm believer in the fact that guns don’t kill people, people with guns kill people. It’s just a tool. So, I no longer really feel much towards the gun. Yet the phone…the phone is a different story. The phone jabs a knife into my heart and makes it bleed. Lately it’s felt like the life I had with Brandon was just a dream, like it wasn’t even real, but this phone, it makes it real.

Who knew, the gun that ultimately killed Brandon doesn’t affect me as much as a simple cell phone he had in his pocket. Go figure.