A deep, dark hole surrounded Kathy Dellinger. For the first time, she knew how her husband lived many years of his life.
â€œI did get a taste of depression myself after my husband died, and I canâ€™t imagine living like that from day to day,â€ she said. â€œItâ€™s a dark place.â€
Zenius â€œBuckâ€ Dellinger, Kathyâ€™s husband and long-time coach and teacher, took his life on March 20, 2002. Though many mourned his death, most didnâ€™t know of his long battle with depression.
Outwardly, her husband was a warm, friendly and endearing man, Kathy said. But when depression would take over, he became detached and withdrawn.
He saw several doctors about the disease.
â€œI wish people were more understanding,â€ Kathy said. â€œMy husband was afraid to let anyone know he had these problems.â€
Kathy describes her husband as having been a private person. She said that recent news stories about depression have encouraged her to speak out â€” about her husbandâ€™s and her own battle with depression.
â€œMy husband was a wonderful teacher and a wonderful coach,â€ she said. â€œHe made a big impact on people. He just had a terrible disease.â€
Kathy said her own battle with depression was one of the hardest sheâ€™s ever faced.
Following her husbandâ€™s death, she sunk into a depression. Her daughter, Katie, was her driving force to continue on and seek help.
Dellinger saw a counselor and got on medication.
â€œI knew I had Katie and I had to go on, but I couldnâ€™t do it myself,â€ she said.
Her recovery has taken almost two years, but she feels stronger and more educated about the disease that haunted her husband for years.
All of the work sheâ€™s done to fight the depression has also helped her through her grief.
â€œThere are times (his death) seems like it was a million years ago. Other times it feels like it was yesterday,â€ she said.
Dellinger feels that if people would educate themselves about the disease, those suffering from it wouldnâ€™t feel the need to hide it. Subsequently, more people would seek help.
â€œPeople say just get over it. Itâ€™s just not possible, no more than you can get over diabetes without help,â€ she said.
â€œBuckâ€ Dellinger died at 51. He was a teacher and coach for 26 years and athletic director at West Lincoln Middle School.
His students often called the house years after graduation to ask advice. He took his time and their calls, Kathy said.
She says his spirit and presence can continue.â€œIf talking about this gives only one person the encouragement they need, then I feel like Buckâ€™s positive influence is still at work.â€by Diane Turbyfill