I didn’t think a year would go by so quickly. Maybe it’s because I can’t really remember the first 6 months or so after she passed away. Without question I am changed, hopefully for the better. Despite being known for being a tad cynical, i’ve always tried to make something positive out of even the shittiest of situations. The “learn from your mistakes” school of thought. Granted this wasn’t a mistake, it was a life altering atomic bomb that I had absolutely no idea of how to deal with or handle but that beig said, even right after it happened I wanted it to mean something. For it to make me, us, my family better in some way. You can let this destroy you or you can grab onto what little there is that makes sense and focus on that until the clouds start to disappear. Fumble around in the darkness that enveloped me and try to find a light. I’ve been told I did a good job. That I should be proud of how we dealt with this. That I’m a strong man for being able to get back up and keep it together. But I don’t feel like I had any other choice. As fucked up as I was/am I didn’t have a choice in how I proceeded with life. I had a four month old son to care for and a four year old daughter. They made this choice for me. I guess I could have given up, but could I have? Really? There was no way I would have let them down at the best of times and I certainly wasn’t going to fail them when now all they had was me. That just wasn’t an option. As painful and horrible as it was for them to lose their mother I knew the only thing worse would be for them to lose their father because he couldn’t stand on his own two feet. If there was any singular thought that I knew to be certain, it was that I had to be there for them. It would be the greatest insult and disservice to Melissa that I would take her death and let it be the cause of my failure.
So that’s what I kept at the forefront of my thoughts. In all the emotional and psychological trauma I was going through I kept going back to the fact I had to be a parent.
I don’t ask why me. I don’t look for reason in anything that happened. It’s pointless and always ends with the fact, “I’m still here and we have lives to live”.
It isn’t easy. It isn’t anywhere near easy, but it’s not impossible. I have around twenty thousand words written down about how hard it is and was.
Mel died in my arms. I watched her pass away as I tried to resuscitate her. I yelled at her not to die. That I loved her. Please do not die. That’s fucked up. That’s not anything I ever thought would happen. She was revived by the paramedics. Straight out of a movie. The defibulator shocking her, the checking her, the shocking again, and again until they said “she’s got a pulse”. And for a few days I thought she was going to be alright.
Then I had to make the call that it was going to end. I had to sit with her for a final time. Lay in bed with her and kiss her. Tell her how much she meant to us and to let her know we’re going to be alright. There are no words to convey how much I was wrapped around her soul on that last day. I played her videos of Levon laughing and Tuesday jumping and singing. Over and over. I thought that if she was traveling through to some other existence I wanted it to be one where she heard her kids laughing and having fun. Maybe somehow those sounds would resonate into the world she was going to. I don’t claim to have any idea of what happens to someone when they die. Nor do I feel it’s my place to tell anyone their thoughts on the matter are false. I just hope she still hears them.
I’ve seen a therapist. Something I had always thought was a sign of weakness or for people who just can’t get their shit together. I was wrong. There are people out there that know more then me, and I can accept that now.
I’ve been to a state of depression I never knew was real. I had always thought it was just someone’s way of whining or complaining. That all they needed was to cheer up and stop looking at things so negatively. It’s clear to me now, it’s not their fault. I always said suicide was such a selfish and weak thing to do. I get it now. I can attest to the fact that there can come a time where all you want is for the pain to end and make it all stop. I never truly thought of ending my life, but I can understand the feeling of being so down and in such a dark hole that you figure the world would be better off without me. Thankfully, Levon and Tuesday kept me from dwelling on those types of thoughts for more then a few moments. Also, i’m lucky enough not to have any chemical or brain imbalances that would have compounded the situation. There are people who are not so fortunate and it’s not anything they wish they had or can do anything about without help.
Mel’s passing has made me far more empathetic and sympathetic then I was ever before. She made me a better father and a better man. She has left me changed for the better. I only wish I hadn’t had to go through hell to learn those things.
During our “you’re too good of a friend, I don’t want to risk losing that” phase of our relationship Mel and I would occasionally go up to my friends place near Apex mountain for the weekend.
It’s a four hour trip and we’d just listen to music, talk and drive. These weekend trips would always end up in frustration because try as I might, I wasn’t able to convince her of my sincerity. So the drives back were generally just the driving and music. Very little talking. The silent treatment that I somehow thought was the smart way to go. I’d also put on sirius xm “outlaw Country” because if you’re not going to love me then I get to pick the music! Again, really mature.
There’s no cel coverage for a large part of the drive so we’d just sit there, uncomfortably staring out at the mountain road and letting the tension sit between us.
On one of our trips we had just come through fog on a steep uphill part of the drive and it opened up at the top into sunshine and the vast vista of mountains and trees all around us. It was breathtakingly beautiful. This song came on.
Neither of us had heard it before but when it was over, we started talking again. We both loved music because of they way it can sometimes say things you feel but can’t eloquently put into words. I have an endless playlist of songs that speak to her or from her.
Months later after we had gotten together I texted her a link to this song. Her reply was “the things you remember Mr.Tyson! I love you babes!”
Melissa’s love of music will constantly stir up memories and emotions for me. She had Mathew 6:21 tattooed on her back. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”
She has left me with two very special treasures and her heart is still with them.
We’re doing fine, thanks everyone.