I don’t remember much about the first few weeks after my wife devastated me with the revelation that she had never really been in love with me. I do remember being in daze for much it, moving mechanically to navigate the daily duties of job and parenting, with flashes of anger, paranoia, and profound sadness. It was surreal. Most of the time I felt like I was watching myself go through the banality of life while still trying to process what had happened. Fortunately, I kept a journal that I wrote in about three times a week.
And quite often I wrote about death.
There were several ways I had planned to do it. I’m fascinated with suicide, and unlike most people, I sometimes do think it is the best solution. My first plan was to jump into the Grand Canyon. I spent much of my youth in Arizona, and there’s a great song by Puscifer named after the big hole in the desert. Being a big fan of the band and lured by the idea of ending it all “back home” seemed romantic and dramatic. However, I ran through the logistics of it for a couple weeks and decided on something simpler.
The house I moved into has a single car garage just big enough for my Volkswagen. I know people used to be able to kill themselves by starting their car in their garage, rolling down the windows, and allowing the carbon monoxide to put them into the Dark Sleep. I would also combine this with a handful of anti-depressants and plenty of alcohol, just to make sure. But then I read that with all the safety and emissions features on newer cars, that it is now actually quite difficult to kill yourself that way, but that it can cause brain damage. I certainly didn’t want to end up a partially brain-dead vegetable who couldn’t even kill himself properly!
Fuck. So what to do?
I decided to go with the tried-and-true, “slitting the wrists in the hot bath” (again, combined with pills and vodka). I had recently taken up shaving with an old-fashioned double edged razor and had plenty of blades to work with. My fear with this method was would I have the nerve to pierce my skin with that deadly metal when the time came. I wanted alcohol in my bloodstream, both to act as a pain-killer and to thin my blood so as to bleed out faster. But too much alcohol could make me sloppy. And how many pills? Ten? Thirty? I had no clue.
Fortunately, no matter what excuses I made to not kill myself, what really kept me from doing it was my children. I wanted to punish my wife for destroying my life. I wanted to hurt her as badly as she hurt me. But the only thing I could think to do to hurt her deepest, would hurt my children even more.
So today, I am alive. But for about two months, to be divorced meant I wanted to die.