The weight of regret

10/21/2014 Entry

Since the last time I wrote, I’ve taken some new steps that will (hopefully) be good for me in the long run. I started seeing a therapist again. Her name is Wyette. I’ve only had two sessions with her so far, and I’m drawn to her like a moth to a bright, shiny light. It has always been difficult for me to talk to people about Brandon, about those deep, deep feelings that you know are there but you don’t dare voice them. Feelings of tremendous guilt, sadness, anger, regret. Feelings I can’t talk to anyone about, because they just don’t understand. Sure, the people in my life try to be there and to help, but unless one has lost a piece of their soul, they just don’t understand. So, because of that, I kept everything to myself. It’s different with Wyette. There is something about her, that when I’m in her presence, I feel safe and warm, and all these unspoken feelings bubble up to the surface and finally have a loud voice. She understands it. Completely. She’s had 2 people close to her commit suicide, so yes, she most certainly gets “it”. Maybe that’s why I’m so drawn to her; she’s experienced and felt the same horrors.

During our last session, I told her about the terrible, heavy guilt I feel about my actions the night I found Brandon dead. In my shocked state, I remember I kept looking at him on the floor, eyes partially open, staring into nothing, not moving, not breathing, blood snaking out of his nose and mouth. I remember feeling so damn scared.  I was terrified to touch him, I didn’t WANT to touch him. The 911 operator instructed me to perform chest compression and check for a pulse until the ambulance and police got there, and I did…I did as he told me. But I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to touch him. I was afraid. So damn afraid.

And when the cavalry finally arrived, a police officer took me outside, and I didn’t fight him. I didn’t fight to try and hold Brandon’s hand. I didn’t fight to give him one last kiss. I wanted to leave that terrible room. And I did. I just left him there, alone, surrounded by strangers. The last time I touched my love was to do chest compression; that’s my last memory of ever touching him. I should have held his hand, I should have touched his face, I should have kissed him. I should have done ANYTHING other than what I did, which was just leave. I was such a coward. I’ve hated myself for it. I even told Wyette that sometimes I’ve felt jealous of everyone else; they got a phone call telling them Brandon was dead, I got to see and experience it.

The weight of that regret has had me pinned for months. It was like this huge boulder that settled on my chest. It wouldn’t move, it wouldn’t let me take full breaths. I felt it every day. Wyette’s response to my terrible confession was like nothing I expected. She said, “I want you to look at it this way: you, the person he loved so much, was the person that found him. It was you who was by his side right as he passed from this world, and whatever was left of him probably felt you there. It was you who stayed by his side for the 10-15 minutes it took everyone to get there. That is a beautiful thing. This was the best way any of it could have happened: he got to spend his very last moments with YOU. Not a stranger. It would have been very different if someone else found him. It wouldn’t have meant the same. Do you see that?”

And that’s the thing: I was there when he actually died. The official time of death is 21:45, and I got home that night at 21:42. So yes, I was definitely there.

I felt the heavy boulder on my chest lighten. It never occurred to me to look at the events of that night like that, but what she said resonated with me. For the first time in 20 months, I have begun to look at things a little differently: I’m glad it was me…I hope he knew I was there, I hope he remembered my love, and I hope that comforted him in some way during his last moments.

As I write this, tears are flowing from my eyes. Even though I have managed to find a little shred of comfort and my regret lessened an inch, I am still not okay. I wish he wasn’t dead. I hate that he’s dead. I miss him. His death will never be okay.

I saw Brandon’s best friend yesterday, and something he said has saddened me. He said that he wished Brandon would have realized that things could have gotten better. His dad said that they should hire another person for their business, and he immediately thought that it would be a perfect job for Brandon, one he would love and enjoy. And of course that’s painful. Brandon will never see his life improve.

2 thoughts on “The weight of regret

  1. Hi Val. I know you don’t know me but my name is Allison. I have read a few of your blog postings and I want to say I have never felt every emotion possible all at once. Your writing is impactful and raw. My eyes were filled with tears of sadness, empathy, strength and hope; most of all hope. I don’t know you but I want say that you have more strength in you than you know. But I have a feeling you hale already found that out. You were a blessing to Brandon as he was to you. I hope and pray life brings you nothing but joy and happiness! You’re amazing!!

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