I’m not altogether sure how to start this thing.
It’s been said it’s best to start at the beginning…but that’s a lot to cover in a single shot here…so I’ll start in the now…
Today is 39 days from the day that my wife Monalisa Schlieper left this plane of existence…planet…mortal coil…or however you choose to define what exactly our physical presence IS in the “real”.
It’s been 39 days of ups and downs.
39 days of moments of gratitude contrasting with absolutely unbearable episodes of despair, regret, guilt, and doubt.
This battle is really about my cognitive and my emotional states beating each other into submission.
The cognitive knows that we did everything we could. We had amazing treatment. We had amazing results. We had a lot more time than many people in the same situation had. We didn’t make mistakes. I know that…in my heart of hearts I know that…and yet my heart is betrayed by the emotions that bubble to the surface…
What if we had tried some other treatments?
Why did you lose your temper that one day?
Why weren’t you around even more than you already were?
Why did you fail Ryan?
Why couldn’t you save your wife?
Why couldn’t you take her place?
Why weren’t you stronger for her?
Each one of those thoughts razer sharp and narrow, easily sliding through the joints of my cognitive armor cutting the exposed raw emotions underneath allowing doubt to ooze out and fester…turning to guilt…..
Guilt for being the one left here.
Guilt for being the one that gets to “go on”.
Guilt for being the lone parent to the daughter we created and brought into this world together.
Guilt for the one that has a chance to pursue those goals WE set together…that now seem unattainable.
And do I even want to attain them without her by my side?
Do I even have a right to?
And the battle swings again as thoughts of what she would tell me if she were here come into focus…
You didn’t fail Ryan.
You heard the nurses…you were amazing.
You heard the doctors…this wasn’t something that could be beaten in the end. We were buying time. We were buying memories. We were taught that the future is not certain and that moments are truly what mattered.
You heard the people as you became my ears when I couldn’t hear anymore…my hands when I couldn’t use my fingers well anymore…my voice when speaking was simply too much for me to bear.
You know this you dumbass. You’re so stubborn you just can’t see it. You won’t allow yourself to feel it because you feel you failed me…but you didn’t…I told you this time and time again…
You gave me a daughter. You showed me love and never left my side. You were the knight by my side and never my squire that you always said you were.
This was your fight as much as mine. And now it is yours and our daughters.
You have to go on now for both of us.
You can. I believe in you. You’re stronger than you know.
She believed in me.
When I had no belief in myself.
She valued me.
She forced me to value myself.
She made me see the world through drastically different eyes.
I don’t know if I can do this without that constant belief being reinforced with her voice.
But I do know I have to move on…I can’t stay here.
Here is impossible.
Here is unbearable.
Here is relentless.
I don’t know how to do this.
I don’t know how I CAN do this.
I don’t know WHERE I’m going.
So for now…
It’s wherever from here.