People are reading my book as of late and that has lead to several discussions about my late husband, Jeff. Several people have been saddened or even angered by the choices he made and what I had to go through in my marriage. I am here to tell you today that Jeff did the best he could with the tools he had for this life. In retrospect, he would have been hard pressed to do better without allowing Jesus to intervene, Sadly, he did not choose to allow the Lord to help him. This is still an unanswered question as to why. I will leave that to God.
Jeff came from an abusive home early on, thus teaching him abuse and control "work." To cope with this environment he developed Borderline Personality. Borderlines are themselves abusive, manipulative, and can use these behaviors to exert control over their environment - something they did not have as children. Jeff was also dealing with what I know now to be Bipolar II disorder - intense mania followed by deep depression when they "come down". These untreated mental illnesses coupled with police work was a double hit to Jeff's ability to cope with life. Jeff chose not to treat his mental illness - he was too ashamed and too proud. I can only imagine what a day in his head was like for him. Jeff was, in fact, two people. The one who loved me and loved life and the one who hated me and hated life. Many times I have cried over the thought of how he must have suffered. I understand why he took his own life now. Jeff was tired. He was tired of being two people. He was tired of hurting the people he loved. I can't be angry at him for this - he fought this battle everyday to try and have peace and to find his real self.
I can say with confidence that despite all these things, the good, the bad and the ugly - Jeff still knew Jesus. I can say with confidence that despite completing suicide, he stands with Jesus today and was welcomed into His rest. Jesus knew he did the best he could in this life too. He loved the best way he knew how and he coped as best he could. I am thankful he is with Jesus because he is whole - his chaotic mind could not follow him there. He is at peace and he knows peace - something that evaded him here. He knows who he is now.
I have not said all this to say that Jeff was not responsible for his actions. He alone was responsible for every decision he made. I am also not saying that it is okay to be abused or stay in an abusive situation because a person struggles with mental illness. You get to a safe place, then you or someone else can help them if they want to be helped. No matter what Jeff's issue was, he had no right to be abusive, violate boundaries, and hurt others.
What I want my readers to take away from my book and this blog is this: sometimes people are doing the best they can do, even if it is a horrible job at life. They have no other tools in their life tool kit. They have no other revelation or were never shown any other way to live. They don't know what they don't know and they don't know what else to do. Does this make sense?
I hope you will read my book and my blogs and hear my heart for him. I trully did love him; he could not love me on this side like he wanted to. I look forward to seeing him again someday. He will know me and he will not know his pain. I can't wait to see his smile!
I love you Jeff. You did the best you could!
Until we meet again.
**To know more of my story, see my book The Road Less Traveled: A Story of Love, Pain, Hope and Everything In-Between.