I have spent almost 45 years trying to recover from my childhood.
Since my abusive childhood, during the time that has come after, things have not gone well in spite of all efforts to overcome. I have been married twice. I have held 7 major jobs, after working my way up from a slew of menial, mind-numbing assignments. Jobs lost due to the economy and greedy, unethical men who have no conscience, compassion, or mercy. No morals. I have become a Christian, having had a life-changing encounter with the living God. Started attending church, stopped, thought about starting again. I’ve had 4 dogs; buried 2, and cried broken-hearted tears over their loss. I’ve owned 3 houses, lost the last one that, though modest, was my dream home and meant to be where I retired. I’ve been in horrid debt. Now owe and own nothing much to speak of. Owned two new cars and now drive one that is 16 years old. Had adequate money; had no money. I’ve never been loved and wanted by my partner. I’ve never had plenty. It has never been easy. In fact, life has been terribly difficult.
During both marriages, my ex-husbands told me they didn’t love me. The first husband, who I married when I was 17, told me after 2 weeks of marriage that he wanted a divorce. The second told me during our first year of marriage that he didn’t love me. But because I was a Christian and didn’t believe divorce was an option…and I loved him totally…I stayed. Like a fool. Believing a miracle would occur and he would someday awake to realize he did love me after all.
Both of those ex-husbands didn’t really want to work. The first was a musician who wanted to make a go of it in the music business. I worked at places like garment factories, egg processing plants, and chicken processing plants to support us. We divorced after 3-1/2 years. It hurt like hell, but I got over it. I was young enough to believe I had a future. I still had hope.
The second ex wanted to be a fireman. When he couldn’t get hired on due to failure of some weird medical test, he worked menial minimum wage jobs during our entire marriage. He didn’t want responsibility and didn’t want things to be too difficult. I started at the bottom and worked hard. Worked my way up into management. Worked long hours. Hard days. Came home to his rejection and disgust every single one of those days for 22 years. Trying to support us so we wouldn’t be living hand to mouth and so we could enjoy a little security in life. A few splurges. Nothing fancy. But I wanted to do a little more than just pay the bills. We finally reached that place…where we could breathe a bit. Then he left me for another woman. A woman he fell in love with. Something he could never do with me, apparently. I was never worth his love. Never received his acceptance.
I was also trying to heal, particularly during the last 15 years. I was trying to heal from the parental abuse (sexual, physical, emotional) and neglect I experienced until I left home at age 17. Having been sexually abused by my father from approximately age 5 until I was 14, I had a few “issues.” I was broken. At times, I was a mess. Not being loved made that worse. It’s hard to heal when you’re still in a negative, unloving relationship. Hard to believe you have value when you’re continually being rejected. So I went to counseling, attended groups, read books, prayed, attended church, prayed some more, went to more counseling, enrolled in Celebrate Recovery…I pursued every avenue of healing I could afford and lay my hands on.
I lost jobs, dogs, houses, marriages, opportunities…I lost everything. I’m alone. I’ve been trying, at an age where most of my friends are retiring and starting to enjoy life, to find another job because I literally have nothing but my modest household goods, a 1999 car, and my dogs. I must work. Yet, I’ve applied for well over 400 jobs, many for which I am vastly overqualified, based on my skills and experience, and NOTHING has panned out. Nothing. My family is ready to boot me out the door and I don’t blame them. They’ve tried to help me. But nothing works out. Good things don’t come my way. Life hasn’t been a treasure. It hasn’t been precious. It could be worse. But it’s pretty awful and it has been that way for a very, very, very long time.
Which is why I asked the question, “Am I bad because I want to die?”
The only barrier to voluntarily hopping off the planet, the only thing keeping me alive, is my dogs. I love them dearly. I want to be the person who gets to love them. One of them is 8. The other is 3. I don’t want to leave them. Or cause them trauma. They tether me to the earth. But I don’t know if they are going to continue to be enough. Because things are so bad, I don’t know how much longer I can will myself to hang on. I don’t even know if I want to keep up the struggle. I’ve lost hope. The best I can believe for at this point is to find a way to get by. Can that be enough? Days without meaning. Arduous and tedious. Empty. I’m really, really, really, really tired of fighting this battle to survive. Really. Tired.
So, am I a bad person because I want to die?
I’ve tried EVERYTHING I can think of to the best of my ability. Is it worth soldiering on when everything has fallen apart and I continually come up empty handed and alone?
Now, I’m filling out forms to receive government assistance, government subsidized insurance, help with utilities. Which is utterly humiliating. I’m being told to go to Dairy Queen and get any job I can get there. Never mind that I should be able to do a little better. Or that standing all day causes my legs and feet to swell up so much I can’t wear my shoes and can’t even walk. I haven’t had a standing job since I was a teenager. I’ve been in human resources management for 25 years. I am old enough now that trying to acclimate to a physically demanding job feels impossible. I don’t even want to have to try it. I think I would rather die.
Except for my dogs. The conflict between wanting to stay so I can care for them and wanting to die is tearing me apart.
The best I can do is to want to want to live. I want to have the will and the strength. I want to have hope to fight and vision to believe. I want to want to. But I don’t want to.
I pray that’s enough. That there is yet something positive ahead of me. I guess time will tell. If I’m still here tomorrow.