On Days When I Am Ready to Die

Today is one of those days – the days where the darkness is covering the horizon, the voices in my head telling me I am not good enough are drowning out everything else, my many failures in life are on endless loop in my brain, the soul-sucking loneliness is trying to crush me, the pain prevents me from getting out of bed – all I can think is, “wouldn’t it be so freeing just to die?”

If I were dead, I wouldn’t have to think about the fact that our lease is up next month and I can’t find a house that will take me, my son, and our four dogs, that we can actually afford. I wouldn’t have to think about the fact that I have no money saved for a deposit on a house – being unemployed for almost 4 months wiped out any savings I had. Years of living in poverty prior to becoming a teacher means my credit score is shot (mostly because of the last 18 months of medical bills trying to get diagnosed), so I cannot get a home loan, either.

If I were dead, I wouldn’t have to think about the fact that I am in pain all. the. time. There is no such thing as a comfortable position. There are no drugs in existence that can make me completely pain free. And doctors are even less likely to assist me with my pain because of the current hysteria over prescription pain medications. I wouldn’t have to think about the fact that it is just going to get worse as this incurable disease runs its course.

Most of all, I wouldn’t have to think about the fact that I have completely failed my son and my dogs – the ones who are completely dependent on me for everything. I wouldn’t have to think about the fact that I can’t teach any more because of the pain, making those college degrees and $160K of student loan debt into nothing more than a waste of time and money. I wouldn’t have to think about the fact that I am always going to be struggling like this. I wouldn’t have to think about the fact that there’s no food in the house. I wouldn’t have to think about the fact that I have more bills than I have coming in every month. I wouldn’t have to keep thinking – “living is a luxury.”

But because I am an introvert who spends way to much time in her head, I DO think. I think about a lot of things. And mainly, here lately, I have been thinking about all the reasons why I simply CANNOT die right now.

Why I cannot die today:

  • I am worth even less to my son dead than I am alive. If I had found some way to die while I was still teaching, he could have gotten a nice life insurance payment. But now, I don’t have that.
  • My son would only have more bills if I died. Even a simple cremation costs around $500-$1,000. Then there’s the cost of living. He just turned 18, so he couldn’t even count on the state to help him keep a roof over his head and food in his belly. He has never met (and doesn’t want to meet) his biological father, so that isn’t an option, either.
  • My rescue dogs would be in need of rescuing again. All four of them are damaged in some way. They don’t take well to strangers, so they would not be adopted easily. More than likely, they would either be put down, or left to die on the streets, where I found most of them. I can’t send them back there.
  • I was 23 years old when I had to sit and watch my mother die of lung cancer. I remember struggling as a young mother (my son was 2 years old), trying to be strong for her. I remember helping her plan her funeral, get her legal affairs in order. I remember being devastated when she died, yet happy that she would not be in pain anymore. But most of all, I remember the aching realization that I could never talk to her or ask her advice again. Sixteen years later, I still miss her with every fiber of my being. I cannot make my son begin his adult life by losing his mother. I cannot willingly leave him to struggle on his own the way I did.
  • Although both my parents are dead, I have a fairly large collection of “family” made up of friends who – for some reason I still haven’t figured out – love me. I don’t want to hurt them by leaving. I don’t want to leave them feeling confused and angry that I didn’t reach out to them for help. (But I also cannot reach out to them for help, because although I consider them family, there’s this little voice in my head that keeps telling me they won’t love me anymore if I bother them too much.)

This list has been on endless loop in my head for years. Sometimes, I have to repeat it to myself several times in the same day. Sometimes, I don’t have to remind myself for weeks. Here lately, I’ve said them to myself hourly, eyes closed, lips moving slightly as I go through my reasons, my own personal Rosary. I know that a day will eventually come when I stop reminding myself why I cannot die. I just know that today is not that day.

george in bed
If I died today, George would be back on the street, instead of trying to steal my spot in bed. 
mom and jodi grave
If I died today, I couldn’t tell my son stories about these two wonderful, courageous women. He would lose out on the family history about his aunt and his grandmother. Both lost their lives to two different types of cancer.
jamie shoes
If I died today, I couldn’t continue to watch this wonderful boy grow into a more amazing young man. He may be 18 now, but in my mind, this is what I see when I look at him.
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