My name is Melinda. I am more than a mother, wife, sister, aunt, or friend.
I am a survivor.
I still remember the day my husband and I married. We were there with three other couples in an LDS temple waiting to be called into the sealing room where our marriage would be performed. The other two couples looked like they were going to throw up. My almost husband and I were hand in hand with the biggest smiles plastered on our faces. We talked about that moment for years because we knew we were right for each other. On October 21, 2014 I had to face a new reality, and it changed my life forever. Standing on the porch was a police officer and two clergy. They had found my husband’s body. He had decided the pain he carried from depression was too much and that the burden he was on our family was more than he could bear. He killed himself, and I will never be the same.
Now I am a single mother to four children ages 14, 11, 9 and 3.
Standing on that porch and knowing that my husband would never come home again was the most heart wrenching moment of my life; an indescribable ache that leaves you unable to stand or move. Yet I had to move. I had to tell my children that their father had taken his own life. I had to stand up and care for them because I am their mother, and I am all they have left. I had a choice to make. I could choose despair or happiness. I chose and not for the first time, happiness.
How do I go on?
I go on because I live in the moment I am experiencing. I chose not to dwell on things I cannot change or alter. I chose to not move too far into the future because that could be painful with hopes and dreams dashed by my husband’s choice. Instead I choose to look into the dark chocolate eyes of my four beautiful children and focus on what I can accomplish now. I chose to watch sunsets, throw footballs, laugh with friends and hold my children close. Those things I can change and do, but the past and future for me are but elusive dreams. I let others help me. I tell people that I am having a bad day. I ask for help. I cry on shoulders. I invite myself over to other people’s homes. I accept service and as my heart heals I hope again to serve others with all the vim and vigor of my past. How do I go on? I know God loves me. I know that I am His daughter and therefore he has an infinite plan for me and I firmly believe that he wants me to be happy. Thus, my future will have sunshine. My belief in God and His eternal plan gives me hope. The belief reminds me that with perspective that someday this situation may make sense.
Why do I go on?
I go on because eventually I will understand and see the view. I will be awed by what I have accomplished and the joy in that moment will make up for the heartache I’ve had. Sometimes the WHY is more important than the HOW. We all find a way to go on, for some of us it takes longer to start on the path. Some of us have to take more breaks, and some of us are afraid and stop but eventually we get to the destination of our choice. For me, I want that vista, that view and the understanding that comes with it. I don’t know why God needs me to take this path. I’ve been trying to figure out what God wants me to learn from this. I have hurt. I have questioned my ability to make good choices. I have wanted to give up. I have cried so many tears; they don’t ever seem to dry up completely but someday I will understand. I am sure that the view will be majestic and worth the journey. My favorite quote and one that has hung on my fridge for years, giving me strength to endure hard things is from Gordon B. Hinckley.
“Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he’s been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to just be people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Life is like an old time rail journey…delays…sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling burst of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.”