ERNIE AND ERNESTINA: Searching
Book Two, Chapter 28: Helpless
When did my craziness start? When did the sickness set in?
Growing up, I huddled in my closet whenever my feelings were hurt. I put a rosary in my hands and pretended that my mother or father would find me dead, the rosary still entwined in my fingers, and think: She’s dead now, but she was a good little girl.
I realize I hurt Ernie grievously by not loving him. I didn’t know I didn’t. That’s how off I was. I didn’t know I didn’t know how to nurture even myself. Now that I’m completely alone, I don’t want to keep myself alive. It’s too difficult.
I know too much. That’s my problem. Ernie used to say that I knew everything about him. “You know too much already,” he’d say, but I didn’t know the most important things about him or about myself. Now I do, and I can’t bear up under the heavy weight of this knowledge.
I try to talk myself into living. I don’t want my life to end this way. I didn’t see this coming, not until just recently. I’ve only known myself to be depressed once before, when Ernie and I lost money in the stock market, but I think now that I’ve always been depressed.
Early in our marriage, Ernie said: “We’re depressed and don’t know it.” I didn’t know what he was talking about. Now, my thoughts echo his blackest thinking. My feelings echo his deepest hurts.
I’ve resisted a lot in my life. Resistance and defiance and stubbornness defined me. Fear underneath it all. Now, I’m too scared to go on.
I scare myself. That’s scary, when I’ve lost trust in myself. That I know I will hurt even myself.