Wasted Time…The trail of tears ends, part III

I feel like it’s universally acknowledged that, after you are done with being sad, you’re mad.  REALLY, really mad. Like, if it was a color, it would be a mix of fiery flaming red, bludgeoned livid purple, and vicious vivid maddened magenta, and black, so much BLACK there is no space for any light to enter…“well darkness has a hunger that’s insatiable and lightness has a call that’s hard to hear” and no truer words might have ever been written…One of my yoga teachers on Thursday said to me, ‘it’s terrible right now, but it won’t be terrible forever.‘ I know this is true. My mother hugged me and let me sob into her shoulder while I was consumed with grief the other day, and that I am almost 54 years-old and still have my mom to comfort me to let me cry, and tell me sincerely it’s all going to be okay, is something I will be forever grateful for…but for today I don’t feel very sad, and I don’t feel very grateful, I feel very mad…on a scale of one to 10, level 100 mad…

I feel like after you have cried your last tears, there is a whole new set of emotions to take their place, and today I woke up so full of rage that I feel like I am possessed…not my cheerful upbeat self, not the silver-lining-seeker I always claim to be, definitely not “fabulous” which is my most standard response to ‘how are you?’ I am not this morning at all full of empathy or sympathy for a man I loved so hard, for so long, and for whom I was sure I could love the pain of his past away…no, today I am angry, and I am so angry that I keep grinding my teeth, and that is not a habit that is normal for me, and I am hardly tasting my coffee as I sip and type…

Despite my efforts to make it so, you can’t turn off love like a light switch. Loss is loss and heartbreak is heartache, no matter how much I want it to stop…it is a slow process and one that I suppose I will work through until the hard work of healing is done. I still can’t believe that I met a man & literally fell in love with him, practically within hours and that I fully opened my home and my life and my heart to him, so sure was I that this was real love…I honestly felt like I had never felt before, and let’s face it, I was already in my mid forties and had grandchildren, I wasn’t some dopey starry eyed teenager…it felt like the most perfect person had finally come into my life and within days I was certain that my love could heal him and help him…in his defense; he made it abundantly clear to me from the very beginning that he had baggage…HEAVY, heavy, baggage, and a lifetime of hurt and trauma and broken dreams and busted plans, and what I found was that he had a positively unyielding sadness that he carried around with him like a shadow he wore like a cloak he could never toss aside…I learned much, but not all, about his past during our first weeks together, and he did not hold back on details, so I can’t claim I was not given fair warning, BUT his story is his to tell, not for me…What I can tell though is that now I understand with clarity that it is impossible to love someone’s pain away. Period. It is not at all a realistic expectation to believe that your love, along with your perfectly folded linens and your exquisite walnut floors, in your clean and tidy house, or your stable and organized life and balanced always to the penny checkbook register, or your joyful work ethic and easy smile and cheerful disposition is enough…none of it is enough, it can’t be enough, can’t even hope to be enough, to shelter a person from the pain of their past or save them from their own demons.

I worked very hard to help him to break away from the chains of his past, and I worked very hard to show him how easy it is to just be happy, just don’t dwell on the hurts of your past and just be happy in your life right here and right now…so simple really…I worked hard to show him how easily it can be done, but now that things have gone so wildly wrong, it seems clear to me now that he did not want to learn how to do it, he kept going back to dwelling on things that happened in the past and those thoughts kept pulling him back to a place of anger and kept him from being truly happy in his present tense. Looking on the bright side became an occasional habit for him rather than the only way to look at life, and now and I feel like I wasted so much of my time, so much of his time, wasted nine years of our lives, because we are not together, and can’t be together, and I don’t believe either of us is very happy at the moment, and I don’t know that I can ever forgive him for how he has hurt me…that fury is eating me up inside. Nine years of trying to care for him enough, TO BE ENOUGH FOR HIM, do enough for him, provide enough for him, fix all of the things I could fix for him that were broken…nine years down the toilet, and I am furious. Furious with him that all of my urging and prompting and demonstrating how to “have a wonderful life” was a complete and utter failure, and it feels like such wasted time. He’s left me with huge messes to clean up; financial messes, and garage messes, and attic and shed messes, left me floundering to clean up messes that I didn’t make, and we have nothing to show for nine years of love but for photographs and our memories. He is no better off for having known me. “well I’m here, to remind you, of the mess you left when you went away…” too many song lyrics for a sad and angry woman to handle on this Sunday morning…

Despite his asking for my help time after time, year after year, it seems clear to me now that he didn’t really care at all about how to make a better life for himself…I tried my hardest to give him, and his daughter, a more stable life than he alone had been able to create or provide for them, and for all these years I did the hard work of caring for others, putting the needs of others before my own, and he threw it all away over one short summer…like my time and caring was nothing but trash…like he just hit the delete button and all my time and all my care disappeared…we laughed earlier in the spring, that come July, which would have been our 9th “anniversary” that living in this house, the house that I built, and chose to open to him and share the space with him, was the longest time he had ever lived in one place other than when he was a child!!! He had laughed that day and said how funny it was that a first date could lead to the longest time he had ever lived anywhere, and at the time it seemed that he recognized that was something for him to celebrate, to feel lucky that we had met, or grateful that I cared to share this space that is so sacred to me, but instead he made so many, too many, horrific choices this summer, that all it was was like a slap in my face, when he chose to leave this house, leave this life, leave me…

He made choices this summer that were not good for him, not good for us, and rather than change the course he was on, he plowed ahead with an appetite for destruction…choices that he himself made this summer that tore our life together completely apart, in nearly every imaginable way, shows me in such glaring obviousness that I spent nine years of my life trying to help a man who ultimately did not really want to be helped at all… That hurts hard, it hurts bad, and it makes me angrier than I feel like I have ever been angry before.

He always talked about how hard life was for him to be without parents by the time he was only 17, that I have felt perplexed and totally baffled all summer long that he continually made choices that could have left his daughter without a father the summer before she herself was 17…did he EVER ONCE THINK ABOUT HER, OR ME, this summer at all??!! The very first time he made a bad choice, did he even one time think, “what on earth am I doing??!! I have a nice life, a secure job, a nice woman who cares about me and a smart & beautiful daughter who needs me??” Did he ever once think that he had nice clean sheets to come home to, did he ever once think about his perfectly folded clean laundry waiting for him in a tidy cared for house that was where he lived, that he called home???!!! did he ever think once about anybody but himself???!!! No, No, I don’t think he thought about any of us…his daughter, my daughter, the daughters of my daughter…people who loved him dearly, the family we blended together, and for whom he was an integral part of their lives, the man who taught the little blonde wonder how to tie her shoes and ride a bike, the man who taught them all how to surf and fish, and countless other things, a devoted dad to them all…did he think about them at all, even one time this summer when he chose to go the wrong way???!!! Did he one time think to himself, would I want a man to treat these girls this way?? Is this the kind of behavior from a man that I would want for them?? It’s so painful, accepting the reality that the only person he seemed to think about at all this summer was himself, and that evil shadow that hung on him and that seems to pull him down EVERY SINGLE TIME HE STARTS TO RISE UP …wise up, rise up, eyes up, be the best man you can be, celebrate your talent and your skills, be your best true self…and it seems to me like it whispers in his ear, “come back to the dark side…”

My rage and my fury and my hurt says no, NO he did not once think of any of us this horrible summer, he thought only of himself, and feeding whatever demon was inside of him, and what that demon wanted… He had countless opportunities to turn things around, to come home, to ask for help…help me, help me find someone to help me, help me find someone to help me help myself…he could have at any time, during any night of this horrible summer of horrible choices asked for help, and I would have stopped everything to help him…I would have moved mountains to help him to help himself…I loved him that much, so fully… I begged him to ‘just come home’ so many nights, and so many nights falling asleep wondering if he was dead, or where he was, or who he was with…no good woman should ever have to beg or wonder such things…If even just one time he had woefully said I am sorry, please help me, I would have spun my head in circles to look towards the future and make it as bright and clean and pure as possible for him, for us, for the family we had created…

The man I fell in love with all those years ago deserved my strength and my comfort, my forgiveness and my help…but that man never said he was sorry and did not ask for help, and when I offered help time and time again he refused it…sometime this summer the man I fell in love with lost his way, and some other man, an imposter, showed up here in his place and one day, by mid August, it seemed I did not know who this person was in my life, in my space…this person who had traded places with the man I so truly loved, and whose smile used to show me every time how much he really loved me…this imposter was not someone I cared to know, I did not respect him and he did not want any of my love or compassion or care or help, and he did not care for me, or about me, at all…

I feel like I wasted nine years of my life because the man I loved so much, and who made my toes tingle and my belly feel butterflies, and whose smile literally lit up my soul, well, that man left me this summer, and some other person showed up here in his place, uninvited and unwanted, and the man I loved was nowhere to be found…the man I found in my garage this summer was not the drummer boy with the grin and the laugh and the sparkling eyes that lit up his whole face and the whole room, who I had fallen so intensely in love with thousands of days ago… the eyes of the man I found in my garage this summer were not eyes that ever looked at me like they loved me, or cared about me, or even cared about himself, they were the eyes of a stranger.

The stranger I found in my life this summer was unknown to me, but wearing the body of the man I once loved so genuinely, and I swear loved with my whole heart…the man whose rage terrified me the last time I saw him was not the man I loved…I did not know that person…that was not a person I ever want to know or see again…he was completely absorbed by some force, some demon, an infection, a parasite, whatever words I can find to try to describe all of this awful summer, fail, and fail miserably, to adequately express the agony in my heart when I think about the last day I saw him…The person I saw last was a stranger, and all I could do was cry…I had lost the man that I loved…I fell in love with a drummer boy but said goodbye to a lost boy…a stranger who made me question myself for weeks, day in and day out, was I imagining that things were changing?? was I imagining that he was changing?? was I making something out of nothing?? was his behavior really that remarkably different?? Am I crazy?? Am I making a mountain out of a mole hill?? no, no, NO…my gut told me things were amiss, my gut told me to find out what on earth was going on, but by the time I discovered how amiss things were, and what in fact was going on, it was too late, he was too lost…he was gone…all those years of comfort and aid and assistance wasted…all that time invested on trying to help someone help himself, tossed away like rotted garbage.

It was the sweetest love for a long time…and all of me loved all of him, and I believed every word he said for almost all of the years that I called him my beloved…I used to so love that Jewish prayer; I am my beloved and my beloved is mine…but that is no more, and what once was can never be again, and after one short summer all I feel now is bewildered, betrayed, & utter disbelief and daily devastation that this sweet love turned so sour…how could two people who were so connected, so close, so in tune, god damn him!!! he truly had found the rhythm of my heart…how could two people go from that to THIS??!!

I imagine I will, in time, forgive him for how he has hurt me. I imagine I will, in time, stop thinking of it all as wasted time. I imagine I will, in time, stop feeling angry for how terribly he let down these precious and smart girls who loved him so. I imagine I will, in time, be able to remember the fun, and the laughter, and all the fantastic things we did together in this blended family we made with these three girls over those nine years…the anger I awoke with is already subsiding a bit, since I sat down to write actually…I do feel like I am healing a bit more every day, but it is going slowly and some days it is rather painful and pitiful, and those days I just will have to accept as harder to handle…

I am not going to speak of this last summer again. This is the end of the sorrow, this is the end of the ache, this is the end of the trail of tears…this is the end of the wondering how it could have gone so wrong so fast…it doesn’t matter now how it happened, it only matters that it did…I am not going to write again of my pain, or his pain, or the pain he has caused all of us who love him. He made his choices, and I imagine he will, in time, recognize that it was his choices alone that undid all that we had created together… I will accept any level of culpability that is mine, but for now, I believe the blame is squarely on him, and my forgiveness is far, far away, and my feeling like it was all wasted time is strong…

I have to move on to my next sentence, next paragraph, next page, next chapter…I have to close the book on the story that I was so devoted to and invested in over these past nine years, and I understand fully that the only person I can control is myself, the only person I can change for the better is me, and the only heart I can heal is mine. I hope and wish that someday, and maybe someday soon, I won’t be so angry & I won’t be so sad. I hope and wish that someday, and maybe someday soon, I will be able to look back with fondness to the times earlier in our relationship when I was just a bookish woman who so loved a drummer boy, and I hope and wish that my heart will heal and forgive him for this summer, but I know my heart will never be quite the same again. I hope and wish that someday, and maybe someday soon, we will find it wasn’t really wasted time…

The Truth Is Out There part II

When I think about the laughter and the fun times and the joys shared over nearly nine years, I feel deep sadness and a sense of loss that is so profound it feels more like a death than a break up…I am in every sense of the word “mourning,” but it really is, when I think about all of the lies of this summer, a loss of a dream…If a person says “I love you” but then on the same day, or in the same week, or during the same month, or over the worst summer of your life, lies to you, in person, right in front of you, to your face, looking right into your sad green eyes, which is the lie?? The love?? Was it ever true?? It’s all a loss of the imagining, the ideas of what we were creating together, and the thoughts we shared about the kind of future we thought we wanted together, the family we had blended, the bonds we had forged…It turns out it’s a loss of what never was…

If like me you are a very trusting person, to find out you have been lied to, right to your face, multiple times over many weeks or months, by someone you love, someone looking right into your teary green eyes, or via text message or over a phone call, the truth becomes something that you question so fully you start to wonder, “was that a lie too?” when thinking about past events, or frankly the whole past of the relationship…you start to question things that you never questioned before…it’s exhausting, and sad, and serves no purpose but to make you feel worse than you already do… I have begun to recognize there is a before and there is an after…simple as that. Before I was lied to and after I found out I was lied to…and the woman who experienced that betrayal, the woman who trusted fully with her whole heart and was deceived, is not the woman writing this evening. The woman writing this evening feels empty and angry and sometimes it is hard for her to imagine she could have been so misled, so fooled, so foolish…I want to think not…I want to think that it was only this terrible summer, this terrible summer of terrible choices and terrible decisions that the lies began, and the life we were imagining together started to unravel and spiral out of control. I want to think it was only this summer, but now I simply don’t know…

I would like to believe that the honesty and the trust that I thought we had for each other, and together, was sound and real for the thousands of days we were in love, before all of the mess. I started to make a timeline for myself last month, trying to find out when it started, the ending, the unraveling, but now I think it’s rather pointless, as is has not made me feel any better at all, because what I think now is that it does not matter when things turned so bad and so ugly and so full of lies, only that they did. Maybe I was too busy to notice, maybe it all started much earlier in the spring, maybe it’s been more than a year, maybe it’s been most of the relationship…maybe I was too naive and trusting to even realize things were going bad at all, and that things were happening right under my nose and under this roof and before my eyes, but I was not seeing what was real, I was seeing what I wanted to see.

I believed a truth, that we had a plan to share a life together, and were both working hard so that someday in the future we would not have to work so hard, and we could find a different place to live together, with lower property taxes and no greenheads. We talked a lot about it, that instead of having a B&B we would open a D&D and call it *dinners and dreams* and I would clean and he would cook and we could have a home and business on a lake somewhere…it was the conversation on countless nights when we sat down to amazing meals we prepared. So many times over many years, we talked of where we might want to go, someday…So sometime in the early summer one of us stopped thinking about THAT, and started to think instead only about himself, and what he wanted, and not about a future together at all…one of us began to behave as if there was no “us” at all and the only future ahead was one that did not include me, and did not include trust, and did not include shared goals or dreams, and certainly did not include plans of sharing a life together on a lake, in a tidy home with crisp white linens and a fabulous kitchen with a butler’s pantry…

There are many things that happened this summer that have shaken me up and spun me around and made me question so much of the last nine years that I sometimes have to just stop myself from thinking at all…why bother?? says the smart part of my brain…why bother dissecting the past, why bother dwelling on the big question, “HOW DID I NOT SEE THAT THIS WAS HAPPENING???” Because the truth of the matter is it did happen, the truth of the matter is I had it happen right under my nose, the truth of the matter is I no longer know what was true and what was real and what was a lie or what was made up…nothing is certain anymore, and yet for many years the one thing that I thought was the truest truth, was that we had total trust in one another, that we never had to wonder, that we were honest, of that we were once certain, or so I thought…that is all gone now, it is cloudy and cracked like an old broken mirror tossed in the dump…it was once crystal clear and bright and crisp, and reflected so much that was beautiful, and now it’s garbage…The truth is out there, but now I think I don’t even want to know…

Pleas of “please…” A/K/A Heartbroken part I

…and so this story is starting at the ending…

Am I heartbroken?  Heart sick??  Heart weary???

Yes, I am all of these things.

Am I sad?  Disappointed??  Confused???

Yes, I am all of these things.

Am I terribly angry, am I deeply betrayed, am I unquestionably deceived?

Yes, I am all of these things.

Just so you know, before you read any further, this will not end happily…This does not have a “When Harry Met Sally” grinning couple at the end talking about their wedding cake, or a “You’ve Got Mail”  *somewhere over the rainbow playing* ‘I wanted it to be you so badly’ ending.  This ending will break your heart.  This ending will make you cry. This writer is writing these words right now, crying, because she is living the ending as she types, but she will gather her thoughts to get back to the start to tell this story from the beginning, and share the unfolding, and the unraveling, and the undoing of what was, for a time, the greatest love she had known, until it wasn’t. 

Just so you know, I am writing a bit every day as a healing process. I am writing a bit every day because it is free and gets the hurts out of my head no differently than if I were speaking to a therapist. Just so you know, I will probably keep writing until my heart stops hurting and I do not know how long that might take…the way I hurt right now, this morning, I might write until I take my last breath on this earth, or perhaps for some inexplicable reason, I will one day soon wake up and feel better and know that I literally did everything I could and there is simply nothing within my power that could have made this ending a happy one.

When you fell in love quickly, looking back now it was obviously ridiculous, AND TOO QUICKLY, there is so much of the, “should I have paid more attention to the red flags?”  questioning and self-exploration as the relationship is ending, and ending badly, and sadly…should I have paid more attention to the red flags than I paid to his gorgeous boyish face??  Yes.  Was his face literally the most handsome one that had ever been in my face asking, “would it be okay if I kissed you?”  on the night we first met, yes.  Yes I should have paid more attention to many things, rather than paying attention to his face,  yes.  His face was the most beautiful face I had ever seen and it wanted my face, my attention, and my laughter, and wanted so much my love…until it didn’t.  It was the most fun relationship and the deepest love I had ever experienced in my life, until it wasn’t…

When you are first suffering from the initial shock of the breakup there is, in my case anyway, a great deal of crying…heaving sobs of sadness and confusion…how is THIS person, the person who not so long ago was MY person, becoming a person I no longer know, and how did things change so quickly???  Sometimes I feel so confident that I will just  get on with my day with my head held high and with the understanding that  this is much like a divorce, just with no wedding, but then I hear a song on the radio or think of a memory and I lose all my confidence that I will be able to take my next breath…but then I do.

As of this morning’s write we have been “broken up” for more than three weeks, but if I am honest with myself, AND when the goal is to be healed, being honest with oneself is absolutely necessary, and to be clear it is sometimes hard to do, what was “we” was “broken” much earlier in the summer, and despite my almost daily efforts to regroup and reboot and re-do all that was coming undone, my pleas of “please” fell on deaf ears…