Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dark Nights of the Soul

Warning: This post may be unsettling to many. It was written 8 days ago.

I thought about it today.
And yesterday
And actually been thinking about it for 5 days straight.
Considering different ways to do it. Quick, painless ways to do it.

I’ve been thinking about killing myself.

The fact that I am writing about this means, I think….I am working past this feeling.

I hope.

This running of me, the running of my children’s lives, the running of my business, the worry of money, the worry of asking for help…..again. It’s stretched me beyond ….
I am so thin, wispy….. I can’t see myself.
Father’s Day, a school wide celebration called Moving Up Day, the death of the husband of a friend, the running out of money, the knowledge again, that there is no protecting my children, just shielding them from a few things and offering them tools to cope. Ha!

Tools to cope, where are mine?

I know suicide would be selfish.
I know that it is possible that my children would never understand.
And I know that I am in extraordinary pain.
And I know that dying would be quieter, easier and would end the pain. I know this is what my husband felt when during his battle with cancer he said to me “I’m just so tired. I just want to rest.”

I know that you, the reader may call me cowardly, a horrible selfish mother.

And you would be right and you would be wrong. The pain is so intense that I feel my kids would be better off without this monster mother I have become, roaming freely in the world, angry, mean, blowing up for no good reason at random.

I find myself looking at another shopping list, listening to another bickering session between my kids, packing another lunch, making another play date phone call, trying to stretch $1 into $2 and then going to bed and doing it all over again the next day. I find it all too much. And I ask,

“Is this all there is?”

After the intense loss, after learning how to be OK without him, after the grief has turned deep and mellow, is this all there is? Is this what I was fighting to get too?

I remember when Art and I would share the weekends. One morning one of us got to sleep in. For a few hours in a week, one of us got time to ourselves to do whatever we wanted to do. I remember we provided for each other with back-up, guidance, help, humor (I have forgotten what it feels like to have a really big belly laugh!) I remember feeling like I could fall down cause not only was there someone there to pick me up but to clean up the mess as well.

The wave of grief has me so far down that swimming to air, if I knew which way was up, feels like it would take too much energy. Energy I simply don’t have.

My friend said, “Imagine BP (the oil company) losing ½ their staff during this crisis. That’s what happened to you. You lost half your staff when Art died and you were in crisis and still are.”

That makes me smile. It puts an image to the burden I feel.

He follows with “You need a break.” And I want to smack him. How do you take a break from kids who can’t stand to have you go away?

Everyone says you need a break and yet no one helps you get one! I wrote this once before, it’s like the airplane thing when they say put the mask on yourself first. What if you mask is all tangled up, barely within reach, in knots.

What then? A break feels like that tangle knot. I simple don’t know where the energy to plan for break will come from. One “So sorry, Kim, I can’t.” from a friend who I ask for help would rip a whole in my already thin existence.



I did go to the beach today for one hour while the kids were in camp. And I slept. I slept for two hours before I was awakened by my alarm that said “Get up, get up. Time to be a mom.” And I got up and I picked up the kids and I fed them (a meal full of carbohydrates with a trace of vegetable called sauce.) and they are now in bed. It is all I can ask of myself right now and it has to be good enough. It just simply has to be.

Saturday, June 26, 2010
As I reread this to prepare it for posting, I realize the suicidal thoughts have diminished greatly. I have only been this depressed one other time in my life. The whole experience makes me shudder. The dark nights of my soul were so dark that it will take many nights of light till I feel normal again.

I credit one good friend, my therapist and a re-commitment to my spiritual practice for saving my life. “Walking into the fear, instead of running away from i,t is when it losses it’s power.” Kinda the "though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..." For me it was about walking into it, instead of trying to dodge it.

And, mostly I credit my kids, their hugs, their “Mom can I help you?” and their gentleness towards me during those really tough days. While they didn't know what I was thinking, they were hipped to the intense emotions. If Art hadn't died, if my kids hadn't seen me grieve and hadn't grieved themselves, I don't think they would ever have been able to offer up their support as beautifully and honestly as they did. They can drive me to the edge and it is with incredible gratitude I see they can also bring me back from it.


  1. Kim,
    This brought me back to that "dark place", too. I was there, in the shadows of the cave, for quite a while. I thought that I would never escape. Your words are my feelings.
    I'm glad I'm on the outside of that cave now.

  2. Kim,
    Thank you for sharing, honestly and truthfully, what I too feel. A feeling that you know you cannot share with a friend, or really anyone, because they will respond with panic when you really just want someone to listen to how dark and painful and lost you are. I lost my husband just a month after you lost Art. I get it.

  3. Kim... Thank you for baring your soul to us... You are quite courageous for sharing such raw emotion... emotion that each of us (unfortunately) can relate to. 'My Rick' died (of cancer) on May 22, 2009... I remember the PIT, DEPTHS, and ABYSS, of this same despair that you so eloquently write of... Now, when I look back on it, funny thing is, that it seems like an 'old friend'... reminding me of a love that was sooo great, and sooo deep, and sooo PERFECT, that I could completely understand NOT wanting to live without it... As John Lennon ('My Rick's' favorite "poet") said, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans"... and yes, 'Life' kept happening to me (even when I didn't want it to), and I am STILL (gratefully) living it! Blessings to you!

  4. I have been there too, Kim.

  5. I can relate to how you feel, as I am also a widow. But I have also experienced the pain from the other side of the coin. I am the spouse, w/ young children, left behind following suicide. If anyone really knew what suicide does to their surviving family, they would never consider it. Suicide traps the family left behind in a prison of pain with no route of escape. Don't do it. Hang on. If not for yourself, for the sanity of your family.

  6. good words, my friend. Odd to say maybe, but so is this life. Especially when thinking - really? God or whomever, THIS is what you have in mind for me? I rather think I was more useful, peaceful, trusting, kind, loving, soft, laughing a lot, before exactly 365 days ago today. I'd think I was far more useful as that me than this one.

  7. Wow. Thank you for such raw, honest sharing. I am a widow today because my husband, the love of my life, had too many of those dark nights of the soul... and finally gave in and ended his life on March 3, 2010. I could never even begin to understand how he suffered until after he was gone, leaving me to struggle through my own dark times. Many times I've felt that, if I thought I would always feel this bad, I couldn't go on living. Mostly I don't dare share those feelings with people because I don't want them to worry about me. I admire your courage in sharing here.