Not Even Unto Death Do Us Part

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[TW for brief mentions of suicidal ideation.]

I can’t sleep right now.

This song keeps playing over and over in my head, and its melancholic melody keeps making me think of my love.

I’m not sure when this post will go up (I’m actually using these latest ones to cheat at NaNoWriMo – don’t tell anyone!), but as I’m writing it it’s less than twenty two hours before I will be on a flight home.

Of course, I’m up at 4:19 a.m. with horrible anxiety about the whole thing.

One of the things that happens in these states of mine is that I start imagining the absolute worst-case scenarios about literally anything and everything.

I’m sure it’s a horrible situation for my poor husband-to-be, for he has to deal with my anxious meltdowns and talk me down from the ledge at the same time.

It’s happened more than enough times in the past few weeks alone, and thankfully now it’s progressed to the point where I’m too scared to get upset at him anymore. I just sit and wallow in fear and worry until the doomed time approaches.

Wow, that was a long tangent. Anyway, the point of all that was to explain exactly why that song was going through my head. It felt like it was giving voice to my fears. Unfortunately, giving them voice means being subjected to their screams reverberating throughout my head.

And by far the loudest scream I’m hearing over and over inside my mind tonight is this:

Somehow, for some reason, I’m not going to make it home.

The most obvious way for something of that caliber to occur would be if the plane fell right out of the sky somewhere on my journey. Now I know this isn’t likely to happen; but I’m flying into a country to which I’ve never been and in which I feel very uncomfortable being, on an airline that I’ve never flown before and whose rules and regulations I do not know. What’s more, I’m flying out of an airport I’ve never been to, and flying into a U.S. state that I’ve never been to either. All of the things that normally would have helped to curb my anxiety – knowing the airport, the route to get there, how much things cost, the language of the country I’ll be flying to – and made me feel more prepared and therefore more calm, have now become unmeasurable unknowns, and they’ve only served to inflate my anxious state even further.

So, given all of the unknowns of the situation, I am seized with the very basic fear that I will not have a safe journey home, because aspects of this trip are simply out of my control.

And from that place of surrender and vulnerability comes that ringing message: I will not make it safely home.

And what, then, should my fiancé do, if I don’t?

I told him this fear of mine, and could not help the elated smile that spread across my face at his response:

I’ll follow quickly after

Now, this is something we’ve talked about before. If one of us were to die, what would the other one do? Mainly we’ve discussed this because I’ve had slightly-more-than-infrequent thoughts of suicide, and death has become something we’ve had to confront a little more seriously than we would have liked at those times. And in every instance, TM has replied to me with the same refrain: If something were to happen to you, I couldn’t live anymore. If you die, I’m coming soon after.

I admit it’s quite a romantic notion. It’s also extremely frightening. I’m terrified of death, and the afterlife (or lack thereof). It’s the unknown that scares me; there’s that lack of control again. I can’t believe that TM would be so foolhardy as to rush in to that dark night without knowing what lies on the other side. Could his love for me really be that enduring?

Me, on the other hand, I’m not sure what I would do. I can see both the romantic and the “practical” sides of the coin. In the romantic sense, TM is the one I choose to be my soulmate. Whether they actually exist or not, we made a commitment to go through this life together. How could I just throw all that away because he is physically not here anymore? Besides, I think that our long experience with long distance would come in handy here. I know what it’s like to not have sex, to not kiss or hug or be held by him, to sleep alone for months at a time, to spend my days yearning for the time we’ll be together again. And it was fucking painful; but I also wouldn’t have had it any other way. If I would have, then I wouldn’t still be with him, would I? I was reading a thread about it, and many people seemed adamant that it would be selfish to expect your partner to not remarry after your death. But I also saw some selfishness in wanting to remarry; many of the reasons given for why someone would want to remarry after their significant other passed away simply boiled down to one thing: “I don’t want to be alone.”

That brings me to the practical sense. TM and I are only 23. We’re not married yet, and we don’t have any children. Let’s say that we were to live to the ripe old age of 92 (god wouldn’t that be a miracle). If one of us were to die tomorrow – or hell, even today – how could we expect the other to spend the next sixty-nine years of their life pining after what they’d lost and what they hadn’t yet got a chance to have? How could we tell them to give up their chance at future happiness, a family that loves and cares for them, children that adore them, just so we can feel safe and content in ourselves?

Someone on the thread said that it sounded like a “twisted form of jealousy.” Many others chided it as “girly” and “a schoolgirl’s fantasy” (which I find horribly sexist, but that’s a post for another day). And it may be. But if it works for those people’s relationships, who are you to chastise them for their choice?

Still, it’s a very interesting topic to me, and in the further interest of underscoring just how personal and difficult the decision could be, I’m going to list out the selfish and selfless reasons for either wanting your partner to or not to remarry after your death. Doing so will help me understand the scope and possibilities of the issue more deeply, as well as examine my own reasons for not wanting TM to remarry if I were to die, while simultaneously feeling controlled by his desire for me to do the same.

It’s time for a bullet-pointed table! (God, I love bullet-pointed tables. <3)

After my death… I Want My Spouse To Remarry I DON’T Want My Spouse To Remarry
Selfish ·         I don’t want to be alone for the rest of my life, so I say it’s okay for them in the hopes that they also say it’s okay for me

·         I don’t want to be seen as selfish/narcissistic for saying I don’t want them to remarry

·         I want to know that I was their One

·         I can’t stand the thought of them loving/fucking anyone else

·         I would feel like my spouse never truly loved me if they could marry someone else after I was gone

Selfless ·         I want them to be able to find the love and happiness we shared once again

·         I don’t want them to be alone for the rest of their life

·         I don’t want to control what my spouse does after my death

·         I know it won’t make them happy anyway

·         I know they would rather spend the rest of their days cherishing my memory/waiting to join me in the afterlife

·         I don’t want them to feel guilty for doing so

As you can see, there is one less “selfish reason for wanting my spouse to remarry” than for all of the other categories. It truly does seem to be a selfless opinion to hold. However, it is still just that: an opinion, and we all have different ones, and as long as it works for the two of you, then whatever you agree upon is okay.

Lastly, I want to quickly touch on his response to my message: “I’ll follow quickly after.” This is something I might write a more in-depth post on later, but for now I want to ruminate on it a bit. I don’t have to guess at what this means, because TM has made it pretty clear to me what it means, even if he couldn’t say it in so many words. If something were to happen to me – if I were to die – then TM wouldn’t be alive for much long after either.

I’m not sure how I feel about this, for several reasons. Firstly, because I don’t want anything bad to happen to him. I don’t want him to get hurt, and I don’t ever want him to die. I certainly don’t want him to commit suicide, either because he finds life so difficult to live without me, or because he’s so eager to join me in the afterlife and is completely uninterested in a life without me. Secondly, because I’m not sure if I could do the same. If he were to die tomorrow, would I follow him, too? Part of me knows that I am perfectly capable of living out the rest of my days without him. In fact, I might even prefer to do that and wait for the day I can join him naturally instead of taking my life myself. And not because I don’t love him enough to do so, but because I am so much more afraid of what if he’s not there because there’s nothing there after all that I don’t believe I could do it.

But, we never know what we are capable of until the situation demands it of us. Who knows, maybe TM will find life completely unbearable on his own and succumb to the succulent tendrils of remarriage temptation long after I’m gone. Maybe I will find myself completely uninterested in a life in which he does not exist, and happily follow him to the grave, afterlife be damned.

All I can say is there is something deathly comforting about hearing those words, forever and always and eternity, and knowing the other means it. Whatever beating of my heart that starts up when the anxiety starts creeping in, I hear him saying those words, and I imagine the two of us together in eternity, our souls clung together even in the afterlife, and such an amazing sense of calm settles over me that I am amazed I could ever fear death in the first place.

So, even as I sit here worried that my plane will fall out of the sky and I won’t make it home, I’m also unnaturally still, because I know that, no matter where – or when – I go, my home will find its way to me.

In this life and the next.

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