Getting Happy... when you wish you were dead

Day 92 – Sunday, 10 Feb

I cried over Maria today. I keep praying to have her back, but I’m afraid she is lost to me.

Dr. Glasser makes the point that we often do things we know are wrong for us – even though it seems like the best choice at the time. I’ve certainly done that, and I’m experiencing it with Maria as we go through this divorce. It really hurts that she had me arrested for telling her I love her and want to work things out, and even more to hear her lying in court. Then add on being in PADS, thinking I’ve lost her for good, and feeling generally bummed, I guess it’s no surprise I’m crying for losing her.

The last time I remember crying was a few days after the car accident in 1994.

September 23, 1994. I was on debarkation leave because my military unit was heading for The Former Republic of Yugoslavia. We had two weeks leave, and I was heading home to say goodbye to my parents.

We hadn’t spoken in a long time. I figured it would be good to say goodbye because my plan was to never return.

I was distracted, and was driving a road I had driven thousands of times while going to high school. It’s proper name is Ridge Road, but everyone calls it Snake Road. It follows an escarpment going left, right, up and down.

I was driving fast. The last time I looked at the speedometer I was doing 84 kph – that’s about 52 mph.

That glance at the speedometer came seconds after seeing a yellow, diamond shaped sign warning me of a hairpin turn. It suggested slowing to 20 kph. As luck would have it, rain had just started to fall.

I remember the sound of the car hitting something. Later, my warrant officer would explain the car hit a tree right at the driver’s door. It was bent into a horseshoe shape.

It took 10 ½ hours of surgery to put me back together.

The phone call my parents received was “Your son is in surgery, and we don’t expect him to come out.”

My mother took that call. She decided to wait until my father got home from work rather than call him because, as she explained to me, “there was nothing he could do anyway, so it made no sense to bother him at work.”

There are a lot of things I remember from that experience.

Waking up in the car being unable to breathe. Waking up during surgery to see a masked man with his fingers in the side of my chest and a plastic tube in his other hand. Waking up in ICU and scaring the daylights out a nurse.

Six days after the accident, I was alone in a hospital room. A nurse and orderly had just been there to see if I could stand and walk. It was after they left that I was lying in bed and cried.

It was brief. I think I was crying partly because I was glad to be alive, and partly because I wished I wasn’t.

When I cried over losing Maria, it was partly because I was losing another family – her and the kids. It was also sorrow over having made so many bad choices and having to live with the consequences.

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