It's been fifteen years since I've had a puppy, a Chihuahua I named Maya. I loved her so much, that when she turned two, I went back to the breeder and got her a little brother, named Rascal. Never more than four and seven pounds respectively, they were my forever puppies, my babies even until adulthood and eventual crossing of that rainbow bridge. Rascal's passing just a mere six months ago was more than my heart could bear and I didn't think I would ever have another dog, at least not for a very long time. I felt he deserved a proper mourning period and honestly, I wasn't sure if my heart had the capacity to love so perfectly again. Well, I was wrong.
Real Simple magazine once asked what should be a really simple question, what was the happiest moment of your life? Well, was denotes the past, already happened, over. The tapestry of life is woven thick with happy moments: playing outside ‘til dusk with your best friends, first kiss, first car, college, marriage, or divorce perhaps, the birth of children, graduations, landing the job, all too easy and generic. The single happiest moment of your life? What if it hasn’t happened yet? What if you are still waiting for your moment?
Do you ever have one of those happy moments that are really, really good? You just want to linger there in that sacred moment for the rest of your numbered days? No? Yeah... me neither... kidding! I'm kidding. I will say as a person whose natural habitat is depression, it is remarkable when you can ride the coattails of happiness until that fabric is tattered and threadbare. I call them God moments because they are the exact opposite of the drab, colorless upside-down intervals in hell.
Much like Hagrid's aversion to saying Voldemort's name, suicide is a hard word to vocalize for me, like something evil you dare not speak into existence. It's not a word that should be glamorized or romanticized and though, "I'm going to kill myself," is probably a catch-phrase that everyone has used in some ironic jest at life. Suicide is in no way humorous. The first time I ever said it, I was 11. As I floated face down in the family pool, I could hear mother's mocking tone to my brother, "Look, she's going to kill herself"—and they kept walking. I survived, clearly, and I understand why she ignored my cry for attention, but what if I had died. Maybe I did. Maybe this life is a reboot. Like Groundhog Day, I'm sure I have lived this life before. I've heard that some Eastern religions believe that if you take your own life, you are destined to repeat it, bound to the same, until you get it right. Only then can your soul grow, to move on toward enlightenment. Well, I'm sure that somewhere along the timeline of my life, or lives past, my end was met by suicide.
Have you ever made a life choice that went south faster than a six second Vine? I'm not talking about eating gas station sushi, or getting a Japanese character tattoo. I'm talking about gambling on happily ever after with your childhood crush and having it turn into a six-year dance with the devil. Gaslighting was a term I became familiar with only after the uncoupling, and in hindsight, was more insidious than the alcoholism, financial abuse, and opioid addiction that accompanied it. What follows is an abridged telling of a much longer tale.