There is a very famous song, covered by my favourite musician of all time, which in my mind, is the story of my life, the very definition of the emotion that runs through me, of the depression I suffer through on a daily basis. The song in question is Hurt by the legendary Johnny Cash.
The very first lyrics of this song “I hurt myself today, to see If I still feel, I focus on the pain, the only thing that’s real” for years was the very definition of what life was like for me, and what my outlook on life was for decades. I have been unfortunate enough to encounter a plethora of dark times in my life, each of them placing a scar upon my soul, scars which so far, have refused to heal. Three of these aforementioned dark times, sent me upon a descent towards depressive darkness that I am still yet to fully recover from.
Growing up, I had one close friend beyond all others, one who I spoke to on a daily basis, for hours on end, and received nothing but warmth, comfort and love from, he was my rock, and I loved him more than life itself, my faithful dog, my Sooty.
Whilst I realise that for most this might seem quite miniscule and foolish, please, allow me to elaborate as to why this placed me on a downwards spiral. My dog was the closest thing I had to a real friend when I was young. My grandparents brought him into their house when I was four years old, and he was only hours old, and we just instantly bonded from that moment on. We were completely inseparable, and there was no other soul within the entire world that I would want to spend a single moment with. It is hard to explain, but In a world of continuous anguish, wherein confusion reigns, having someone that loved you and was completely loyal to you without wavering for a single moment, was invaluable to me, and allowed me to develop emotionally as a child.
Five months after my sixteenth birthday, mere days before one of my scholastic examinations, my faithful friend, had to be put down, his brain tumour had returned with a vengeance, to the point where he was in constant agony, and did not even recognise those he loved. He was little over a month short of his twelfth birthday, and his death completely devastated me.
For the second time in my life, it became painfully clear that nothing lasts forever. This was brutal for me, I could not contemplate that my closest friend had been torn from me, and then the realisation hit, that once again, I was alone. I had other friends yes, a social group, but throughout the years I have been able to surround myself with a thousand souls, and yet still be completely alone, and thus was the case at this point in time.
Fast forward to seven months after my twenty seventh birthday, and again I found myself in a pit of despair. A love affair with a lady I was infatuated with, took a rather painful turn. During our time together (it was a long distance relationship) in her country, she had fallen pregnant with my child, something that she was initially overjoyed with… until she had spoken to her mother. That is when things changed, initially we had debated about what to do, in the end the agreement was that I would return home and she would follow me as soon as she had tied up loose ends at her home, which she said would take a couple of weeks.
What happened next however, I did not expect. Full of hope at the prospect of being a father once again, I arrived back home to receive a text message telling me that the child had been aborted whilst I was on the flight back home, for the first time in my entire life I was completely and utterly numb, speechless. I honestly had no idea how to react, except that I felt overwhelmed with sorrow and in agony. I asked what had changed her mind so suddenly, especially since I had said that I was willing to raise the child by myself if she so desired, and her answer was simply, that her mother was right.
This completely broke me, to the point where I lost all interest in the life that surrounded me, I even questioned my validity to my children as a parent. I completely ignored my physical appearance, and all aspects of life in itself, refusing to even eat, barely sleeping for days and living in a perpetual flux of emotional paralysis. The “relationship” in itself continued for a further two years, and it took me about three years in total to be able to process and deal with the abortion.
The hardest and darkest moment in my life to date, was the death of my unborn child in my wife’s womb. To find out that the pregnancy you were expecting has ended in miscarriage is one thing, to find out on the day of the twelve week scan, on a screen, as you desperately seek to see the heartbeat on the little baby, whilst your youngest sits on your knees however, is something else altogether.
To say that it completely devastated me is a massive understatement, yet at this point I was unable to grieve or shed a tear until the day of the cremation. The cremation was the most emotionally excruciating moment I have dealt with in my life so far. I had written a eulogy to read out but I was unable to and broke into a flood of tears. My daughter spoke a few brief words, and once the service had ended and the casket made its way towards the flames, my son and I broke in each others arms. Shortly after the service, my daughter began to cry, and again so did I.
The death of my unborn Angel is something that I am still struggling with on a daily basis. I have a locket with my Angel’s ashes inside which I kiss on a daily basis. It is hard to equate just how difficult this is for me. Not a day goes by wherein I don’t think about my unborn Angel, what he or she would have been like, the things we would have bought for him/her by now, whether Angel would have been a boy or a girl, the name we would have chosen and so on.
What makes it all the harder, is the fact that it evokes thoughts that it was a microcosm of how my life has been in general, a bright shining hope, snuffed out, bringing only darkness. Angel will be something that I shall carry with me for the rest of my days, and it hurts so much to know, that something so precious, was lost to me for the rest of my life.
The dark times are periods in my life wherein my struggle seems to be without hope, without possibility of relief, without release from the sadness that plagues me within. There are brighter days, but more often than not, they are merely lulls between the darkness, brief shelter from the storm that rages within, for each day brings a new battle with depression, and a new internal struggle for me to emotionally cope with. Sometimes, I consider it a victory, that I have been able to cope at all…
Until next time,
P.S: Included here is the song Hurt by Johnny Cash, to both highlight a great song, and just why the lyrics and the song itself, seems to fitting to my life story.