Happy image courtesy of: http://inspirobot.me/
Before I share this tale, I want to make it clear I’m not taking suicide lightly, nor have I ever been suicidal. I’m a naturally redheaded woman with sensitive skin, a sensitive brain, sensitive everything, really, diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and ADHD neurology.
Fortunately (and perhaps surprisingly) for me, depression has never been one of my issues. I’ve lost two uncles to suicide, but depression that severe doesn’t seem to be in my wheelhouse. I might be too stubborn to kill, honestly. You’ll pry this life from my bitter, freckled, ginger hands… as long as I don’t get distracted by something sparkly along the way.
With my non-suicidal tendencies in mind, please enjoy the story of how I caused my husband to race home from work to make sure I was alive.
It started when Facebook sent me a message to potentially forward to my someone in the event of my untimely death. (Are there such things as timely deaths?)
Facebook recommends a “legacy contact” for this purpose–someone who can be trusted with your password, and will even turn your Facebook profile into a memorial page if you pass. I have 2 friends currently whose pages have been turned into “Remembering… (insert name)” pages, rather than remaining frozen in time, with their last Facebook post about something trivial sitting there forever.
I have 3 other friends who died before the new memorial feature or without designating a legacy contact, and it’s quite jarring when their birthdays come up every year. I sometimes sadly peruse their pages to remember them, and yes, it always makes me think about which post could be my last.
I received this prompt from Facebook in my private messages in the form of a pre-written-by-them blurb to forward to my legacy contact:
“Hi, Facebook now lets people choose a legacy contact to manage their account if something happens to them: https://www.facebook.com/help/1568013990080948
Since you know me well and I trust you, I chose you. Please let me know if you want to talk about this.”
I thought to myself, Oh, hey, Self. That seems like a pretty good idea. I would actually rather tell my husband in person to remove my Facebook page completely because a memorial page will make my family sad, but it couldn’t hurt to make sure I choose him officially as the person to do this.
And then my mind wandered to the dark place.
The dark place my mind went to when my gynecologist found the lump in my left breast and doctors/insurance put me through the stress of a sonogram, an old school mammogram, and then finally a digital mammogram able to accurately see through dense breast tissue to determine if my lump was cancer or justacyst.
The dark place my mind went to when I was diagnosed with pneumonia at the Urgent Care and they sent my lung x-rays to be examined further without telling me, and I received a call out of the blue from what sounded like a bored teenager telling me, “We, um, need you to go get a, like, chest CT with contrast to make sure the spots all over your lungs aren’t lung cancer…” so I completely lost my shit and cried silently while my son played in the next room, called my husband to come home from work, and then we went for the CT where they told me the spots were justcalcifications from previous untreated pneumonias because I haven’t had health insurance most of my life.
The dark place my mind went to where I never woke from the second abdominal surgery to correct all of the adhesions caused by the first abdominal surgery because redheads are notorious for reacting oddly to anesthesia, but I woke up fine and it was justasurgery.
The dark place where my son grows up without a mother because my weak walking meat bag has failed me. That dark place. I hate that fucking place.
I thought about my husband getting this blunt, impersonal message, and assumed if I clicked send to designate him as my legacy contact, Facebook would store the message until needed somehow.
This was my big mistake… and also how I sent my husband into a terrified frenzy that could only be rectified by his seeing me physically okay and alive.
I don’t really know how I thought Facebook would know I was dead unless Facebook is plotting to kill me, which really wouldn’t surprise me since Facebook knows all and has apparently been watching us and selling our information or whatever. But I write. And my brain decided my husband should receive a nicer, more personal note with my “Surprise! You’re my ghoulish legacy contact which is code for you to please do something with my dumb Facebook page if I die suddenly! Lucky you!” message.
So I thought about what I’d say if, perhaps a car T-boned me and ended this trip, or something equally sudden and gross to think about. And then I added my oh-so-touching words to the blunt legacy contact message, thinking I was softening the blow or something.
I don’t know what I was thinking. Really, I wasn’t, because again, in my head, my husband was receiving the message I wrote post-my-mortem. Words from beyond the grave. I think Facebook said I could add to the message, and that’s where I got the idea that they’d store my note in case the legacy feature was activated, if that makes sense?
The other thing to understand before I share the message that shaved 5 years off my husband’s life is that I am uncomfortable with all things mushy and PDA. When couples constantly share gushy, kissy-face crap, I automatically assume they have relationship issues, one member of the couple is horrifically insecure and in need of constant public reassurance, or both. But even sex scenes in movies make me uncomfortable, like I’m watching someone’s private moment, so I’m willing to take some of the blame here.
ANYHOW, because of my issues, our “affectionate nicknames” for each other are Poop Face and Stink Butt. And below is the goodbye letter to my husband I imagined would be delivered via Facebook from the shit-show that is my brain:
“Hi D____, Facebook now lets people choose a legacy contact to manage their account if something happens to them: https://www.facebook.com/help/1568013990080948
Since you know me well and I trust you, I chose you. Please let me know if you want to talk about this.
If you’re ever in need of this, it means I’ve taken on a new form of energy within our universe, and I will love you and M____ for eternity in a different way than originally planned. Take good care of our son and yourself, and find love with someone gentle, patient, and calm as soon as you can, because life is short and precious.
Thank you for being a good person. Know that you gave me hope and showed me kindness beyond anything I’ve ever known. I love you and our son more than everything, and I always will, no matter what. Be there for him, hug him, and tell him you love him every chance you get, and please tell him I will love him forever, too.
My guardian angels will be watching over him now that I no longer need them, and they will surround him with the love and peace with which they protected me, so he doesn’t need to be afraid. Ever. I have incredible guardian angels. Total badasses. So I want you both to move forward and be happy as soon as you possibly can, because everything is going to be okay. It is. I promise.
Xoxoxoxoxoxo times infinity,
Awwwww. It’s like a goddamned Nicholas Sparks novel all up in here, right? Someone call Ryan Gosling and tell him we’ve got his next big role ready to go.
The first paragraph is a nod to the law of Conservation of Energy, which gives me great peace.
I also often think my son would have been better off with a different, calmer-brained mom, so my first order of ghostly business would be to haunt my husband until he finds a gentle mom for my son. That’s what the short, precious life business is about. Because mourning is a waste of time, life is for the living, and also, get my baby boy a new mom as fast as you can because he needs his good morning hug and kiss goodnight, damn it.
The second paragraph is gooey, so I’m a bit embarrassed to share it here, because of my aforementioned gushy-averse issues, but there it is. My husband has championed me and supported me where many a man has failed, and damn it, he deserves props because I’m not easy.
The part that makes me think about not being here to tell my son I love him makes me want to cry for the rest of the day, so there’s that. Ahem. Moving on.
And the last part is true, whether you believe it or not. I felt my guardian angel’s hands on my back as a kid when there was nobody in my room, and it filled me with warmth and peace. I turned around to see nobody there… and I wasn’t afraid. You can tell me it’s not real if you want, but I know I’ve got at least one really powerful angel looking out for me, because again, I’m not easy.
Now imagine my husband receiving this note in the middle of his work day, trying to call me, and me not answering because I loathe phones and leave my cellphone charging on the counter with the ringer off all day, no matter how much I’m nagged to check my damned phone by Mr. Stink Butt.
Imagine him calling. And calling. And calling 6 more times, with no answer. And texting, with no answer, after receiving what essentially reads like my suicide note delivered to him, strangely enough, through the Facebook Messenger app, which he knows I refused to put on my phone.
What happened is that I hit send, I shut down the laptop, continued to ignore my phone, and went to take a nap because I have adult rickets (extreme vitamin D deficiency) and hypothyroidism, both of which make me flu-level exhausted on the reg.
I was soon awakened by the garage door opening, and walked out of the bedroom to see my husband burst through the kitchen door with wide, scared eyes. He grabbed me and said, “Oh my god, you’re okay! You’re okay!” and I was like, “What the what? Of course I’m okay. What the hell is going o-oooooh… oh, shit. Oh, shit, I’m so sorry.” Because I pretty quickly figured it out.
I’m stupid is the short answer.
Because of course Facebook immediately sent my drippy little note along with the legacy contact designation. OF COURSE. And I don’t answer my phone ever.
My poor husband had to grip me by the shoulders to make sure I was still here.
My poor husband had to physically touch me before he could drive back to work with the post-adrenaline shakes.
My poor husband.
I’m trying, InspiroBot. I’m trying.