I get a little whiff of the suicidality again this morning, so I try to let it in. I know, or I think I know, where it is coming from. My ankle still hurts—although it is better at least right now—and I want Nata to come and take care of me. If not take care of me, then just hug me. A Nata hug would make everything okay. Maybe not great, but okay.
And she isn’t here and I can’t have one. I can do other things that help, but I can’t do that one thing I want most.
That is one piece.
The other piece is that the part of me who feels this way the most—that feels the suicidality—understands my efforts to comfort myself as communicating an idea that people are replaceable and interchangeable. They make it seem to this part that people can be reduced to set of behaviours or sensations or outputs, that they are machine-like, akin to coffee pots. The thing you want is the coffee, not the machine preparing it.
But, of course, I want Nata. Being hugged isn’t the problem. Her hug is the problem.
I don’t just want the comfort that she gave me. I don’t just want the hugs or the scent she had. I don’t even really want to hold onto her shirt buttons again. I want her. I hug blankets and smell shampoo-laced hankies because they take the edge off things, but they are not Nata. Nata is not even the person I remember or imagine in my head. That is a facsimile of her, a kind of mental reproduction. The real person is gone forever.
Perhaps because of the world I grew up in, it seems like no one understands that. The people I grew up around saw people as interchangeable parts, as machines which provided a service, not as unique individuals you form a unique and irreplaceable bond with.
They would say the despair I feel has to do with believing I cannot be loved again. Well, I probably can. Perhaps not like I was, but even that is beside the point. The loss of Natalya’s love is unique because she was unique. I’m not devastated because I lost love and warmth. That’s only part of it. That’s the easy part.
I am devastated because I lost her. She’s not a coffee maker. I am not missing coffee. I am missing her. And there was only one of her. There never will be another.
To this part that is feeling the suicidality, this is what needs to be heard. Don’t try to fix this. It cannot be fixed. Just hear it and understand. There was one of her. I miss her. And there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that can be done about that. She is dead. I don’t want comfort. I don’t want a substitute. I just want to be understood.
There is a third piece to this, which is that it seemed for a long time that this is what I heard—it might have been because that was the filter through which I heard things. Or it might have been because I kept surrounding myself with narcissists who did not attach properly to others and used those around them in utilitarian ways, as objects, and saw a utilitarian approach to other human beings as normal and desirable.
Whatever the reason, the idea that emerged out of that for me is that I cannot be happy again unless I also adopt that idea. But for it’s like hearing the only way to live is to live in a wasteland. The only possibilities from here on out amount to making a home out of a post-apocalyptic landscape, where everything has died.
It’s like saying not only did I lose her as a unique individual, but there is no longer any chance of having a relationship with any other unique individual either. There are no unique individuals. What you have left are coffee pots, and the only way to be happy is to start wanting coffee and not relationships.
And it’s awful.