Warning: this post might sound crazy. i might be crazy. or i might be going sane.
last friday i thought i was going to die. i can’t remember how many times i’ve thought i was going to die, but last friday was a different kind than i’d felt before, but every time is different from every other time since every experience adds to the circle of experiences informing our perspective. regardless, i thought i wouldn’t live into a tomorrow and there was only one thing for me to do before i ran out of time…call the ex-wife.
i knew she wouldn’t answer the phone because she was at work and because i was the one calling. i knew i would get her voicemail. i hadn’t heard her voice in more than a year. she sounded more vulnerable and softer than i remembered on her outgoing message. hearing her voice brought an instant of happiness until i took a breath and remembered why i had called. i called to say “i need you to know that i’m sorry.” i called to give specific apologies: “i’m sorry for leaving. i’m sorry i couldn’t stay. i’m sorry i abandoned you. i’m sorry i couldn’t show up and explain why i had to go.” i told her that i loved her. i told her that i was afraid of dying and i didn’t want to die and that i probably wouldn’t die because i’m doing everything i can to stay alive but in case i don’t survive i need her to know i’m sorry and i’m also sorry for calling and sounding dramatic and leaving a voicemail that could be interpreted as emotional blackmail but i don’t intend to hurt her and that’s why i’m asking her not to call back.
then i hung up. i made another phone call to someone else, asking for help. he didn’t help. i should have known that he couldn’t help, but i’ve repeated that mistake my whole life, which made the habit inevitable in the midst of attempting to save my life. i made another phone call and asked for help from someone who could help, who can help, who did help. as long as i’m alive, i have opportunities to practice asking for help and to learn who can help and who can’t.
five days later, i’m alive. i don’t think i’m going to die today or any day soon. i think i’ll be around for a long time. maybe that’s true or maybe that’s hubris. none of us knows how much time we have or when we will die, which is why i’m asking you to please make the phone call you’d make if you thought you were dying. say what you need to say. in the end, in the beginning, and in the middle, the most important things in my life i’ve said are “i’m sorry, i love you, i forgive you, thank you.”