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The Phrase That Let Me Know My Husband Was Coming Back From Depression


Love you. Love you a lot. Love you forever.

It’s a phrase that just started one day in my house, and was bestowed upon my children by their father, my husband. Despite my daughter having a speech disorder (apraxia) and struggling her first four years of life to even repeat “I love you,” the phrase had become commonplace and well-rehearsed at bedtime. The kids, my kids, my heart, enjoyed saying it to their dad and giggled in glee when he would repeat it back or complete the phrase. I would smile at their secret dialogue. I was never included. This was something special between them and their dad and I was 100 percent totally OK and happy with it.

I love words. I’m a writer. Words have always made sense, and sometimes, certain words are only saved for someone special. Words mean something and I knew these words symbolized a unique and special bond between my children and their father.

That is, until depression hit. Depression. Such an unwelcome, unwanted, uncontrollable cloud that comes to visit. Depression is not welcome by anyone, including the one it decides to reside in. Depression chose my husband as its home this past year. My husband reminded me the other day no one would “choose this,” meaning no one would ever invite depression in.

My husband’s eyes went blank and his body was merely a shell. My kids, not understanding depression, tried for a couple weeks in vain. On autopilot my husband would say “I love you” and they would eagerly respond, “Love you a lot” and wait with baited breath for him to finish and say, “love you forever,” but depression stole their dad away. Depression didn’t know the secret words. Those words were lost in a foggy cloud as he would stare right through them or play games on his phone.

Soon after, the words were forgotten. “I love you” was ever barely spoken. Hugs stopped being given. Have you ever hugged a shell? There isn’t much satisfaction or connection. At times, you may press it to your ears and imagine words and sounds, but in the end, you are left with a hard case and only your imagination.

We found a new doctor for my husband. He changed the meds. I waited for two weeks determined not to get my hopes up.  I couldn’t handle them being crushed again. I started to hear something peculiar. I started to hear a phrase I just slightly remembered.

I love you. I love you a lot. I love you forever.

I think my mind dismissed it at first. I can’t hear that. It’s too painful. I must be hoping so hard to have him back I am imagining my kids saying it again. They had long forgotten it.

But then, again.

I love you. I love you a lot. I love you forever.

There was this moment, as sure as the moment when I knew I had lost him… I realized I had found him again. He had found a way to send depression packing and the sweetest words I think I have ever and will ever heard, came from the smiles of my children as they told him goodnight.

I love you. I love you a lot. I love you forever.

Goodbye depression. Oh, and I hope that door hits you on the way out.

Getty Images Photo via KatarzynaBialasiewicz