Beyond the Snowy Field

When I finally located my husband’s car, it was the only car left in a dark and still Veterans Administration clinic parking log. The clinic was long closed. I know; I checked. And I was quite simply terrified to go look into his car… [excerpt from What About You blog post]

I had driven for at least two hours in slowly widening circles around the tiny dot on a map on my phone. Here at long last was his car, but the darkness prevented me from seeing inside from a distance. The slow, fearful walk began. My heart pounded in my ears, but the rest of the world was standing still, waiting in reverent respect.

Two of my husband’s brothers successfully committed suicide. His best friend committed suicide. Pills. Gunshot. Hanging. In that order. One by one these three men left us to wonder and grieve.  The horror is too deep and dark and bottomless to describe. Grasp frantically, with desperation into the dark, with moon-blind eyes wide open, but the space between us is cold and empty. The curtain has been drawn.  The folds not to part again until another passes through.

My breath visible as it left my mouth on this cold February evening, billowing before me into the dark night air, urging me forward. Rounding the back bumper, I walked past the back seat door. Looking at the back of the driver’s seat, I forced my way forward slowly. I have to know. I don’t want to know if it is what I fear it is. I was so afraid, and felt so completely alone. I was numb, which was in conflict with all of my senses; alert and scanning each detail. This moment was here and gone in the briefest flash of time. As brief as it was, I am sure it is forever embedded in my heart. The driver’s seat was empty.

Relief gave way to confusion. The new questions I had not considered flooded my mind one by one, keeping pace with my pounding heart.

Where is my husband?  

Where is his phone?  

Why does the app show his phone is here?  

The car door is locked.  Can I see his phone in the car? I cannot.

Standing alone, my eyes resting forward in the snowy field beyond the parking lot, I couldn’t make sense of it all. “Where is his phone?”, I asked myself.

Gaining my bearings, I noticed there, beyond the snowy field, was the town home community I had been circling. The stark contrast of the field (that was too dark to see), touching the edge of the brightly lit neighborhood, created a new question I couldn’t face alone. Had my husband wandered off into this field and killed himself? I quietly dialed 911.


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