October 2, 2014

in sickness, health, and suicidal depression

I was fifteen years old when my mom died of cancer.
Two years later, my grief was still crippling. Tears were my constant companion. Hope was a foreign concept.
When I was seventeen, I made the best decision of my life and agreed to meet with a counselor.
We met weekly. I cried a lot. Healing came slowly.
The counseling started as grief-counseling. Two years later, my counselor felt that I needed to see a doctor for my depression. So I took a deep breath and made the appointment.

Medication did not help. My depression continued to get worse and worse.
Year after year, I struggled with bouts of depression. Even as my faith grew deeper and my heart grieved less intensely, the depression just grew more and more debilitating.

On May 19th in 2008, my heart exploded with joy when my good friend Jeremy asked me to date him. We had a wonderful two weeks of movie watching, hand holding, and late night conversations.
And then, another round of depression hit.

It was a muggy evening in June when we took a walk through his favorite childhood park.
Dandelions littered an open field. An old jungle gym stood in the distance. Traffic noises filled in the silence. He held my hand. We walked through the field. I cried silent tears.
I was so sad.

He broke the silence after a while. He said that he had been praying for weeks about whether he should continue to date me. He was struggling with thoughts of being with a woman who was suicidal. He wondered if the timing was right.

God had spoken to him, he told me. And God had asked him to commit to me now, no matter what may happen in the future. So he did.

Less than a year later, he asked me to be his wife in that same field.

In late summer, we stood before hundreds of friends and all of our family, and we made promises. To love, to cherish, to have and hold. In sickness and in health, we said. We promised. I choked back tears, and promised him Until we are parted by death. 

It's amazing how often death tries to part us, even when we are still walking on this earth.
We have fought for each other, clung to each other, held each other tight.
So many nights, I have wept in his arms. Panic, fear, hopelessness have threatened to choke the life, the faith, from my body. Jeremy has been there to loosen the binds.

I cannot imagine what it must be like to hear your best friend, the love of your life cry tears of sorrow, hear the hopelessness in her voice as she whispers, I just want to die...
The words have slipped from my lips more times than I can count.
My heart aches, thinking of the fear and desperation these words must have brought my husband.
But he did not waiver.

He has hoped for me when I couldn't muster the strength to dare to believe that things might ever get better. He has smiled when I could not.

He is not perfect. He is not God.
But in the darkness, the hopelessness, the depression and the sorrow, being held and cared for by my husband was the only thing that could convince me that maybe, just maybe, there was still a loving God.

[quote from Sara Groves, Different Kinds of Happy]

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