Dear Love #10: A History February 12, 2016

I’ve been taking more trips down memory lane since I got word that my ex almost died. Anyone who knows my story with him knows that our relationship was secretly volatile with every possible destructive force within the walls of our “home”. We had dependency, anger, resentment, secrets, lies, and a myriad of other soul destroying negativities. Many people have asked me over the years why I stayed as long as I did. People view me as a strong person, yet for a long time I was crippled with fears. Fear over being along, fear over how I would survive without the extra income, fear over being a divorce statistic, but I has a bigger fear that haunted me. The fear that my husband would die if I left. Not figuratively, in the “oh I can’t survive without you”. Literally, stone cold death. I can’t count the number of times I had come home from work, school, a conference, or just out on an errand to find him almost comatose covered in sweat and totally unresponsive. Furthermore, planning trips for conferences where a struggle to find balance. Who would be the emergency person to check on him if he wasn’t answering the phone for too long. I would spend time fantasizing about leaving him and being happy on my own, but then that thought would creep inside my skull like a poison. No one would be there to help him if he took too much insulin, or if he didn’t eat. Who would be there if he were trapped inside a low blood sugar combined with a night terror. It never ended. I finally had to accept that this isn’t my responsibility. His life was his to do with as he wishes. Similar to an addict still waiting for his next hit, I couldn’t force him to get help with his issues. But I still cared enough about him that I wanted him to WANT to be healthier. So the fear remained, and for a long while I did too. I comforted my unhappiness by reading, which isn’t a bad thing. But it was creating a fantasy far different from the reality of what I lived in on a daily basis. Slowly, I avoided going home like a plague. What would I find? Would we get into a screaming match? Fast forward to Spring of 2010 and I’d had enough. I decided to file for divorce and the proceeding events left such an putrid after taste that stayed in my mouth for years, tainting many experiences I had with men, even platonically. I resented seeing positive relationships, even as I yearned for my own. Slowly through therapy this feeling began to diminish, but still remained unattached, yet happier than I had been in a long while. I learned what made me happy, what gave me thrills, what I needed, and what I didn’t. The educator in me tells me that this learning process will be everlasting, and I am focusing on embracing this challenge. That it’s okay that I don’t know everything. Since my divorce, I’ve not had much contact. with my ex-husband. Until now. He messaged me with one of my worst nightmares. He almost died, and still could if things don’t turn around for his health. The message he wrote was brief, just that he is on a transplant list for a new kidney because he has stage 5 kidney failure. This has taken me a while to process, and I know I will continue to have mixed emotions for the coming days more than likely. He wanted to speak with me and apologize for the way our marriage ended after being together for over 10 years. When I got the chance to ponder this, I realized I would regret not giving him the time to say what he wanted to, that I would want to give him that peace of mind if something were to happen to him. In the end, the conversation was heartbreaking, scary, and in a way healing, all at the same time. He didn’t only apologize, he thanked me. Thanked me for being a part of his life and for trying to help him. And in return, I was able to more fully forgive him. I don’t know that we can ever be friends. I don’t think I want that in my life, but I can’t deny the importance he once played in my thoughts and plans for the future. Those youthful lovesick days where I thought the sun rose with him. However, I told him how I felt too. How he shaped my opinions on trust and that you need to earn my trust, and how I won’t just give it away for free. How I’ve come to terms with the very likely scenario that I may never get married again, not because I won’t find someone, but because I am not sure how long it will be until I fully settle from my nomadic lifestyle. I even told him that I am planning a baby in the next 2 years. He in turn told me how he spent a month in the hospital after being terribly ill. How his kidney function was deteriorating for years without any doctor noticing. How, although he was trying to curb it, he was gaining weight at a rapid pace. This ‘weight’ ended up being over 50 pounds of fluid that was crushing his internal organs causing him to have an enlarged heart requiring surgery and a future surgery to help repair more of the damage. Now he is on dialysis three times per week and is looking for a new kidney within 18 months. I logically realize there is nothing that I could have done, or can do now, to have foreseen this situation. That we’ve been separated for years and have barely spoken. How he’s been in a solid long-term relationship for over 2 years…..maybe more. But the niggling guilt is still there. I continue to think about my situation with love myself now. I think there will always be a part of me that will be truly in love with Thomas. I am coming to terms with that idea and that this is not necessarily a bad thing. He was the person to show me what love can be like. The work that comes behind the scenes and that its ok to be vulnerable. But I also know that he will not be the last person to help me in this learning, and I am okay with letting my heart grow for more than one person. I want to begin my new project this coming month, since the weather will hopefully be warming up a bit. It involves a lot of talking to strangers…..sorry mom! But I think it will be very beneficial for all involved and I can’t wait to share it~






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