Feeling Some Kind of Way

Melancholia stops by for a visit

Kathy Copeland Padden

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Me and John with our second child Chris. 2007. Photo by Kathy Copeland Padden

I dreamed about my husband who died in October again. I dream about him a lot. We have these long conversations that I wish I remembered. I wake up feeling at peace, so the conversations must be going well.

We had been apart many years when he died due to his alcoholism. I didn't want to leave him, but I was in fear for my life. Nice guy, nasty drunk. Unfortunately, by the late 80s, he was more drunk than sober, and by the 90s he was completely out of control. Almost everyone around him was enabling him, including my parents. I was the weirdo for not drinking. The more he drank, the less I drank, until I didn't drink at all. Still don’t.

The kids and I lost everything, including our home of 14 years. We went from having a nice suburban life to poverty. It was hellish, and it took a long time before I could forgive him. Guy was fucking messed up, and I’d done everything I could. Honestly, guys. I really had.

I find I’m reassuring myself constantly that I did all I could. Even then, I knew if I’d left before I’d tried everything the guilt would kill me when he died. Sad thing is, I feel guilty anyway. Good wives’ husbands don't die of cirrhosis and alcoholic dementia … maybe if I had been a better wife … I wasn't sunshine and roses myself.

Then I pause. I’ve got to stop gaslighting myself. I know exactly what happened, who did it, and what the repercussions were. They say it takes two to tango, but Hubs managed fine as a solo act. I'm not saying I didn't argue back until I realized it was pointless, but 99.5% of the time he was the one instigating discord, especially as time passed. I’m also not saying I’m not great at the tango myself. I have several dance partners that would back that up. I wasn't blameless.

But still, I’m devastated at his passing. Any animosity between us had been long put aside. When our parents died, the first people we called were each other. I enjoyed our occasional conversations until he got wet brain and couldn't hold a coherent conversation anymore. He got sicker and sicker. I had to admit to myself he wasn't getting better and would never get to be a Grandpa to our grandson.

They say grief is worse six months in than it is immediately after death. I have always found this to be true. It finally sinks in you’ll never see them again, ever, and that’s a whole different loss than their death. Harder in many ways. I can't imagine how our kids feel. That hurts me too.

I think I need to get out of the house today.

Anyway, there’s today's dose of anguish and regret. Just wanted to write that out of my system. Thanks for reading.

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Kathy Copeland Padden

is a music fanatic, classic film aficionado, and history buff surfing the End Times wave like a boss. Come along!