Some have said, “it wasn’t your fault, it was the choice that he made.” But are they really sure? I may not have pulled the trigger, but I know somewhere I had to be the one that pushed him. I was the one that forced him to see the doctor. I made him seek help. Maybe if I didn’t reach out to the department or his family, he would still be alive. I was just so afraid of losing him, I thought I was doing everything to protect him. I received another message the other day, it stated his death was all my fault. The one before that said they hope I can’t sleep at night, and the next one said I should take my own life. They are right. 

Today is Thanksgiving, our favorite holiday. For the first time in all my life, the smell of love cooking in the oven isn’t there. My children are wonderful, they showered me with love and compassion today. But I don’t deserve it because I am the one responsible for this pain. My thoughts are racing, and I can’t think straight. I can’t focus on anything but the pain I have caused them, and how I have forever destroyed this day. I said to them “I have to get out the house for a little while, I need to clear my mind. I love you, I’ll be back in a little while, make sure you turn on the porch light.”

I’m sitting in the car, here in the park, with a loaded gun in my hand.  The demons that comforted Omar that night, have all introduced themselves to me as my friend. For the first time since Omar died, everything they are whispering to me make sense. I don’t want to kill myself, but I am unworthy of life and right now I deserve to die. My children do not deserve a mother like me, and I am unworthy of their love. They don’t need me, they deserve better, and I will make sure they have it. God I can’t handle this pain, the weight on my chest is smothering me and I feel like its caving in. The burning in my heart feels like its leaking into my stomach and I just want to cut them both out. I can’t see myself living the rest of my life in this type of pain, even though I know It’s my punishment. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, I just keep repeating that dreadful day over and over again. Today is the day, that I accept my fate, and give my kids their freedom. So, if there is a God, because I question your existence right now, you have to step up and help me right now!

I’m parked in the most isolated area of the park, just waiting, waiting for these people to go home. Why are so many people at the park on Thanksgiving? In the meantime, I’ll just scream, and cry, as every memory replays over in my mind. The pain in my heart is overwhelming and I’m just waiting for the right time to die. Through all the negative thoughts that are cluttering my mind, there is a different voice reminding me to use my safety plan. My safety plan consists of a list of people to call if I should ever find myself in this dark place to long. What am I supposed to tell them, what am I supposed to say? Reaching out is completely out of my comfort zone, I don’t want to bother anyone, but I’ll try anyway. I call my friend, she’s the first person on my list. Unfortunately, she’s in the middle of dinner and will call me back later. Ok, I’ll try again. I call the next person on my list, no answer. I take this as confirmation that leaving this world is the right thing to do. 

I’m sitting here, staring at the lake, waiting for the next family to leave. What if someone notices me sitting here? I need to find a way to keep the attention off of me. If I’m on the phone, no one will ever notice. So, I call the last person on my call log.  She answered! I try to play it cool, as if everything is ok. She put two and two together and knew that I was in distress. She acknowledges that I am alone in a park, on Thanksgiving, just six months after my husband died by suicide. So, she stays with me on the phone. We talk over an hour, and now the park is completely dark, and all the people are gone. I don’t feel any better, in fact, I feel at ease with my decision. The noise in my mind is even louder this time and now I’m in position. At the exact moment that I’m squeezing the trigger, out of complete darkness, two children walk up and stand by my car window. They scared me! I look around and see their parents with a flashlight following right behind. I’m screaming and crying because I almost ruined another family’s life. Those babies would have saw everything! I cried myself to sleep, right here in the darkest, most isolated area of the park. I realize that I slept for over three hours, the longest that I have slept in days. I remove the mag from the gun, and that one bullet left in the chamber, I placed it in my pocket. Now it’s time to go home. Before I can step into my house, my little boy welcomes me with the tightest hug. He says, “mom thank you for coming home. I was scared you weren’t going to because your eyes look like my dad’s eyes. If you do that mom, then I’m going to do it too.” After holding him as tight as I could, we made a pinky promise to keep living.  

My family and I started therapy shortly after my husband, Deputy Homero Omar Calderon, died. I do believe that safety plan bought me some time. It’s been over two years since my experience in the park, and I can honestly say that it does get better. The journey is hard, and it does require some intentional hard work. The heaviness in my heart has lifted, and the weight on my shoulders is not quite as heavy. When you are in crisis everything that is wrong seems to be so right, and every negative thought feels valid. Do not give in to those thoughts. You will get through this moment, the pain will not last forever, it changes. You will also change. You are worthy of life and love. This journey is not meant for you to travel alone. Your healing will be one of the hardest things you will ever do for yourself. But you can and will get through it.  My family and I are still in therapy and I have found a renewed relationship with God. My faith and therapy have helped me throughout my journey, and you will find what helps you too. In the meantime, be kind to yourself, you are only human. Don’t give up, don’t give in, and most importantly, keep pushing through my friends.         

ShaRonda Young Calderon