2017 will written down in history as the worst and the best year of my 43 year old life. I’m writing this down while doing the laundry on New Years Eve, my wife is lying down having a migraine fit that usually hits her in times of stress. I can’t really remember the last New Years I’ve celebrated. My old alcoholic self would refer to it as “the night of the amateurs”.
A year ago today, I was in a relationship on the brink of turning into a complete nightmare. Though I didn’t know this at the time (though I should’ve felt it coming from a mile away if I had been in a better state of mind). We had an argument the night before, so I wasn’t sure what New Years would be like. I called my friend Thomas, who was one of the few people I had shared my problems with, who I had gone to AA meetings with, who got me to look up if I might have a diagnosis and get help through that, who I had for several years been trying to get back on feet together with. His struggle was a lot heavier than mine, but he always supported me. We talked about celebrating New Years Eve together, but I also wanted to make things ok with my then girlfriend, and I was also terrified being with him on such a stigmatized night as New Years, which would probably end up with us getting drunk or worse. I didn’t want to fall off the wagon. So I went with my girlfriend to this dinner, where she got mad at one of the guests, and we left the house at around 10.30PM to catch a bus into town. There in the rain, I spoke to Thomas for the second last time I would ever speak to him. He was home, bored and sober, watching TV. I often think of how nothing would have changed if I had spent that night with him, but I would have another memory of us together still. That night ended in a complete disaster for me, spending it most of a time in a park having an endless argument over absolutely nothing for hours and hours. 48 hours later I ended that relationship, and I was flooded with SMS’ that was basically a verbal murder on my person. I knew this person wasn’t well, and I told myself this would pass so I didn’t respond.
Two weeks later she’s at my doorstep telling me she is pregnant. As a father of two, I immediately felt I had to take responsibility. We patched things up and tried to get back to as if nothing had happened that awful New Years night. But the whole thing was an open wound. Soon afterwards, I get a phone call from one of our closest friends, that Thomas had passed away in an overdose, leaving two devastated children behind. Everything turned black. When shortly afterwards meeting up friends of Thomas to grieve, things took an ugly turn and I had to once and for all end that toxic relationship. Now the SMS terror was even uglier, I fell off the wagon, and I started to respond to the terror in equally toxic ways, not really helping any of it. After weeks and weeks of non stop terror, it all turned quiet. She was gone. But silence was even worse, since I had no idea what would happen to that baby that was supposed to be born in September.
In order to try to block this ordeal out, I focused on the Brewers Cup, went to Jönköping for the Swedish Nationals and competed. Made the first round to the finals, but it was held on the Friday, about the same time Thomas was buried, and there I was “playing coffee” when my friend was going into the ground. I couldn’t think straight and I failed miserably in the finals, took my bags and went home.
In order to escape the world of my own thoughts, I dared sticking out my head in the dating world, without any real hope of finding more than a few hours to not having to think of my situation; out of money, out of luck, stuck in a cell like apartment. And there she was; my southern belle. I had not planned on falling in love, but here was the most wonderful, kind, caring, understanding and beautiful person I had ever met, and she felt the same. From our very first date, we were never separated.
My living situation has been a disaster this whole year. I’ve counted to 8 different places I have called home, though some only briefly, the past 18 months. That is a nightmare if you have two kids. There’s this pyramid that needs to be whole if your life should be complete: regardless of what is the foundation or the top end, each side is your relations, your living space and your work/financial income. If one of these three are not fulfilled, your life is stressful. At one point, I had no pyramid at all. Now I had a fulfilling relationship, but no home and my financial situation looked very dire. I thought the solution was close at hand by shifting work, with great promises of a steady salary and benefits.
So I changed jobs, and I moved in with my girlfriend to save us both money, at the cost of one of my kids not being able to live with me at the moment due to the size of the apartment. In less than two months, I had my contract “renegotiated” (without my consent, and basically being stuck without being able to get out, trying to find jobs that didn’t come through) and we got thrown out of the apartment because the owner had to sell. In the midst of this, we had already planned and payed for to get married in Vegas. So life had gone from throwing us lemons to basically stoning us.
As it was, we finally landed a first hand contract for a 4 room apartment, to fit us and both kids. Two sides of the pyramid are fulfilled, and slowly hope is coming back to us. So besides finding the love of my life in 2017, this year has pretty much been shit. Each year I give resolutions what I should do next year with my life, but life has pretty much come in my way this year, and my hopes and dreams have all been put on hold. So here’s my wish list for 2018:
- find a job that allows me to budget my life out of debt, and that will be easier to solve the logistics of having care of a small child.
- stop smoking, stay away from alcohol and try to focus on health
- find strength to do the two things I have set out to do this year: get a band together and get that book going.
Until then, I’ll lead a simple life. Wondering off into the waste land, and learn to live again.
NP: Tragedy No Cemeteries Here