I feel like I’m being attacked from somebody that I thought understood me. Not everyone gets what I’ve been through. I have a lot of baggage to carry. Being widowed at 20 years old is one of them. Of course, I wasn’t married, but in my heart I am a widow. We were living together; in love. And his death was such a shock that it changed me forever. How can I be blamed for that? How can someone tell me that I shouldn’t still have resentments and anger and guilt, even though it’s been 8 years since his death?
I do have a hand in Josh’s death. And I don’t mean to say that I caused it. Technically, the doctors don’t even know the original cause. But there’s a theory I came up with long ago. Josh had Grave’s Disease. And a possible outcome of not taking your medication is having ‘heart conditions’. Josh died of a heart attack; the direct cause being a 70% blockage in the artery that feeds blood to the heart. So you know, it’s not a direct correlation, and I’m by no means a doctor, but this is where my anger resides. I feel a little guilty for forgetting that Josh even had Grave’s Disease, but we never discussed it. Out of sight, out of mind. But I am angry that he stopped taking his pills (before we met). I feel as though if he’d kept taking them, he would still be alive today. There’s no proof of course, but that’s what I think.
My hand in his death was the hand of unknowing ignorance. He was ill. Severely ill. And yet I did not take him to the hospital. We didn’t have any medical insurance, and we were barely scraping by financially. Unfortunately, that defective logic caused a delay in his treatment. I blame myself for it. He could have been saved had I acted sooner. Even if what he was going through was just food poisoning, which was my original assumption, getting him seen would have been better than waiting to see if it would resolve on its own. I was stupid.
Anyway, I’m getting a little off topic here. This guilt and blame that I feel does not eat me alive. It has been eight years. What happened has happened; there is nothing I can do to change it now. Yet I’m being told that I need to let this “anger and resentment go” over Josh’s death.
Of course this traumatic event has changed me fundamentally. It would for anyone. I’ve always been a worrier, and after Josh died, I began to get a heck of a lot more scared when someone close to me was sick. You could say I might freak out a bit, nagging them about going to get seen for their problem, or just sitting there and worrying about them in general. Thanks to my lack of a response to Josh’s illness, I never want to have that happen again. I refuse. It’s not as bad as I make it sound, though. I don’t nag people to be seen when they cough or sneeze. I’m not that horrible. But his death did change me in that way.
Yet that’s not his argument. He seems to think I’m holding onto all this. Wrapping it tightly within myself and releasing it in bursts of unexpected moments as if it’s some kind of bomb. He believes that some of the anger I feel in recent situations is caused by resentments of my past with Josh. Where he comes up with this shit, I haven’t a clue. He’s not a psychologist. He can’t psychoanalyze me. He goes to AA, ffs. Fine, yes, I guess AA teaches you not just how to cope without alcohol, but to cope with life in general. I don’t know. But I am not sitting here seething over my past with Josh. I am not screaming at the heavens about why he didn’t take his pills, or why I didn’t take him to the hospital sooner. I am not angry anymore that he was taken from me. Do I still blame myself a little? Sure. Because it is a simple fact that I contributed to his death, intentional or not. That’s just how it is. I have to live with that, and I do.
I’m not a psychologist either, but I do believe that I am progressing normally for such a traumatic event at such a young age. I have a friend whose mother’s husband died over 15 years ago. She still clings to his memory like a static lint sheet. I don’t know the specifics because I haven’t seen my friend’s mother in a while. Basically ever since she told my friend that I deserved what I got for sinning and “being with” Josh before we were married. So everything I know is second hand knowledge. But I do know that I’m not like her. I have my sentimental items of his: his keyboard, an outfit, a small piece of the huge knife/sword/weapon collection he owned, a very cool oriental coffee table, and pictures of course. And I remember him fondly now. It still hurts a little. The hole in my heart will never fully heal. But I have let go. I’ve accepted what has happened. That’s really all I can do.