Last night: It’s late. I towel dry my hair. I walk toward Dave, he shuts the TV off and says, “Shall we go to bed?”
I lie next to him. He props his head up with his arm and looks at me. He fills me in about what happened between him and Beth earlier in the evening. I’m sleepy, but I try to pay attention. I perk up when he says, “Maybe I should be dead.”
Rewind–to my arrival from work earlier in the evening.
“Hey Beth. What are you doing?”
“Playing a game.”
“We had a fight, he went to your room.”
I go to the bedroom door–it’s locked.
I unlock it. Dave’s lying on his stomach on the bed. I kneel on the floor and shake his shoulder to wake him. “Dave, you and Beth had a fight?”
“Yeah. She told me she had a lot of homework this weekend so I told her to do her math. She ignored me and continued reading her kindle. So I took it from her. She said she wished I was dead, so I came in here.”
I go out to the living room to speak to Beth. “So you were upset that dad took the kindle?”
“I’m more than a third way through (the Mocking Jay). Someone’s just been eliminated.”
“So it was getting pretty exciting.”
“Yeah, and dad took it away.”
“That’s pretty upsetting.”
“So I called him an idiot. You said I could use that word.”
“Yeah that was in place of the F word, but we don’t use that word with your dad.”
“Can I get the kindle back, you gave it to me not dad?”
“Dad took it because he wanted you to do your math, so you need to finish your math, first.”
“He said I could finish five problems and get the kindle back, so can I after I finish five problems.”
“We have to check with dad first.” Beth starts her math.
Fast forward. Back to Dave talking to me in bed.
“How were you feeling when she said she wished you were dead?
“Maybe I should be dead.”
“I went to our room and locked the door. And fell asleep”
“What were you feeling?”
“She wishes me dead, I don’t care. It doesn’t matter to me.”
“Maybe you felt rejected by her?”
“No, I don’t care. I think of death as freedom from this world.”
“Dave when she’s telling you she wishes you were dead, it’s her way of telling you she’s upset at you. She still loves you, but she’s mad that you took the kindle. Even when we’re mad at you, that doesn’t mean we’ve stopped loving you.”
I woke up at 4 this morning. Thoughts swirling around Dave saying, “Maybe I should be dead.”
But on the other hand, he told me about it. He didn’t act on the thought. He took a nap. He talked to me about what happened, how he was frustrated with Beth. He also shared about the stress at his job and how he could tell he was stressed because he was snapping at some of his coworkers.
Stress at his job, plus home stress, makes him more vulnerable. I think he’s okay though. His tone was calm, warm, with inflection–which means he’s not tanking. Plus, he’s not keeping it in. He’s not walling me off. His voice tone hasn’t become the vacant, monotone which means he’s starting to disconnect from me, the world. I’ll keep talking to him and reminding him that Beth loves him and that I love him.