This Sunday is an ordinary Sunday. It will start by hearing two little people talk and giggle as they wake up and crawl into each other’s beds, where they will lay there and read books for a while. The dog, downstairs, will take umbrage at the intrusion of the Sunday paper and the newsboy – forever terrified of the sound of the dog – will run after he stuffs the paper through the mail slot, unaware of the fact the nicest dog in the world isn’t grumpy with him, just with affront of the newspaper. Wood pigeons will start their cooing and I will wrap myself under the winter duvet for just five more minutes.
This Sunday is an ordinary Sunday – we will get the twins up and they will happily park themselves in front of CBeebies for a bit while we turn on the radio to BBC Radio 2 and listen to Steve Wright’s Sunday love songs and drink hot coffee. I will fry up bacon or sausages. There will certainly be eggs.
Gorby will be taken for a walk, probably with one little person, who will ask one billion questions about everything and nothing, including queries about electricity (Alastair’s forte) and feelings (mine). The ball will be chucked eleven hundred times for the dog, who will finally give up when his long tongue dangles about knee height. We will then walk back through the country lanes to the house, where the dog will gratefully retire to his bed for hours and dream about rabbits.
We will have swimming lessons we take the twins to. We call them lessons, it’s more like lessons of controlled not-drowning. They last half an hour and after every lap the twins will look over at me and await the thumbs-up signal that shows them I am watching and I approve. I do not let them down.
After we get home, the twins smelling of chlorine, the day is given over to tidying, working on whatever DIY project we have going, and likely a DVD we watch together. It will probably be “The Lorax”. It is often “The Lorax”.
Lunches will be had and as the sun sets two wiggly small people have a bath, a story, a cuddle, and bed. The house will smell of curry as Sundays are curry days in this house. A bottle of wine opened for the grown-ups. TV is a calm affair of a drama or docudrama, fitting for the start of the work week the next day. School clothes are sorted, whereabouts of the adults the next day discussed. I will check on the twins a dozen times while they sleep, as I always have and will continue to do for some time. I always check the covers, smooth their cheeks, and whisper to them that I love them. They never wake, but somehow I think they know what I am telling them.
This Sunday is an ordinary Sunday...it is also the 10-year-anniversay of the night I tried to kill myself, but failed.
I don’t really remember much about that night. There are fleeting images that come back to me, sensations really that always make me feel like I’m watching someone else’s life. In many ways I was. I remember a stomach hard and full of activated charcoal. I remember the searing pain that comes when you cut your leg shaving with a razor. I remember being more exhausted than I have ever been in my entire life. I hurt a lot of people that day, as I sent them a message that basically said “Thank you for being in my life, but you weren’t enough to make me want to live.” I can never erase that feeling for them, even when I try to share with them that when I did what I did, I wasn’t thinking about them. When I did what I did, I wasn’t thinking.
And dear God life has been hard sometimes. Life has been really, really shit. There are some points in my memory when I look back and think with wonder that there are so many hues of black that can cover our lives that it feels as though the light can never get in, that there may be no light. Someone has taken it away from us. Nothing good can be or can come because all there is, is darkness. There are some memories I have which are draped in ribbons of black sludge, which tint and tincture the memories until they are darker than the prison which I put myself in.
But the part you miss, the part you don’t believe when you’re in that hell, is that it always gets better. It does. It always gets better. It sometimes takes more time than we are willing to give, and it takes more faith than we are able to spare, but it gets better. It will.
The truth about suicide that you don’t think about unless you fail, like I did, is that you are robbing yourself of that getting better part. You paid your dues with the crap, now you get to have the light. It may be easier to just give up, but by giving up you are going to miss out on that moment where you realize it is, suddenly, getting better. By ending it, you pay such a high price and the sadness is the knowledge of the waste that happiness coming along, which is going to be missed.
Life can be pretty bloody hard. It’s easier to stop trying. It hurts less, sometimes, to just stop feeling. But you’re robbing yourself of the good and the bad if you do.
This Sunday is an ordinary Sunday.
I will wake up with the sound of small people laughing and shrieking. I will get frustrated that someone has made a mess in the kitchen. I will fall asleep watching “The Lorax” and wake to two sore arms around two little people as they sing “Let It Grow!”. I will chop vegetables.
But I will live, and I will quietly give thanks that I have done. I will never be that scared, suicidal girl again. I will live, not just for my family, but I will live for me. The little people I love need to see that life has its successes and its failures. They need to see that their mother faces both head on, accepting that life can be beautiful and it can be hard, and that neither need to break us and they need to see that so that someday, they can face the roller coaster themselves and be unafraid of it. I will live everyday because of the great – snow days, chocolate chip cookies, unexpected cuddles, laughter, friendship – and I will live everyday because of the bad. It makes you appreciate the good again. And it always gets better.
We don’t get to choose when we die. We don’t get to choose how. We do get to choose to live, though. And it is a choice, it’s a choice we have to make. We can be a spectator and not engage or we can live and all the mess, noise, joy, pain, laughter and tears that living entails.
This Sunday is an ordinary Sunday. And I am grateful for it and every other one I get to have.
I wish you peace for yours.
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