May 22nd was our 14th anniversary and 40 days since he left me. No, he didn't die, he didn't cheat and neither did I. I didn't think we had irreconcilable differences, issues yes, plenty, but nothing that couldn't be worked on with help. Pretty much, he just left. He has his reasons. Why it happened is his story to tell. Should we ever reconcile his reasons will become part of my story but for now, I will do my best to leave him out of this.
Is it possible? Can I leave the man I have loved for 14 years, the man I promised to honor until death we did part, the man I imagined growing old with, out of the story about him leaving? We shall see.
What I can speak to is how I'm feeling. First there can't be this magnitude of an event in my life and nothing written about it. I'm an artist, my medium is the written word. If ever there was a time to create, to give the world a piece of my soul, to put something on display for the sole purpose of eliciting raw emotion from others, this would be that time. The difference is this one isn't made up. This one is real. This character is me. It's one thing to share a made up piece of work with the world, it's a different matter to share myself. I did that once and it wrecked me, in fact, it is one of the unresolved issues between us. Since then I haven't written about me. True, a piece of my soul, my essence, goes into all my words but there is a difference. The thing is, all I want to do is write, not the book I'm supposed to be working on but of the road that lays before me. I stare out the window at work and weave words around a theme of lonely nights and no one to come home to. I sit in the car, at the store, staring at nothing for far too long, forming a sentence that describes the lump stuck in my throat as I choke back a sob. Then I realize I am too late, the words didn't come fast enough to stop the tears from pooling and dropping onto my no longer youthful hands that were supposed to be wrapped up in his for the rest of my life.
I am a writer. I write. And this is a story worth telling, even if it is only my own. You do not have to follow me on this road and I ask that if you follow only to criticize, don't come along. But if you're curious, or enchanted by the pull of my soul and the pictures my words paint… come into my world. The choice is yours. But, if you choose to come along please tread lightly on this soil, it is the fabric of my being. Criticize the syntax, the spelling, the grammar and even the structure but, I beg you, not the character, for she is me and I am a wounded soul trying to heal. My faith in Christ, my family and friends, and words are the salve that stops the sting.
This is my story of the leaving, the dealing and the healing. Take it or leave it…
Everything about who I am is wrapped up in his leaving. I cannot separate or compartmentalize it from the rest of me. It is. He left. Life will never be the same. That's the thing that gets me most. Life will never be the same. No matter how it all plays out, what was is no more. What we had will never be again. I could intellectualize that thought a week after he left but I realize it more and more every day. It crashes over me in waves. One minute I'll be fine and then a thought, an image, a smell will remind me of what is now history but was supposed to be our life story.
The waves crash over my being in torrents I can't contain. My breathing changes, my eyes water, my heart skips beats, the emotions are so raw my body cannot pretend they aren't there. I feel big feelings, I always have. The feelings pummel me and my reaction to them overwhelms the people caught up in the storm that is me. Like the writing and the leaving, the ADHD, the reason for such strong emotion, is part of the story. People laugh and make jokes to sympathize and deal with my “quirks” but unless you have it you don't understand how my brain processes feelings. For so long I was a slave to my emotions, so much so I went through the gamut of mental diagnoses, none of which quite fit… until… until I had a kid that was diagnosed with ADHD. I looked into how best to help him and a new universe unveiled itself to me. One where I wasn't bad or wrong or rude or flighty or spacy or intense or intimidating, one where I was just made different. It's a processing disorder. The chemical make up of my brain is different than most, the synapses fire differently. I am just different, or as the Bible says, and I prefer, I am uniquely and wonderfully made and I am known fully by my God. No better, no worse than any other human, just unique.
So here I am, an overly emotional 37 year old writer who has been left. I'm not divorced and I do not think I want to be. He was my lifelong plan. I didn't say til death do us part under duress, I meant it. I still think, with Christ all things are possible, and with professional help, we can fix it... but I can't make that decision. And there is no we anymore. I can't picture life without him. But… The thing is it's been so long that I don't think I want to be married anymore either. At least not with the leaving between us now. And truthfully, there are things and they may not have been a good reason to leave but now that we're here, they are enough to work on or stay apart. And that makes me believe it won't be fixed because one of my favorite things about him was his strong will. And he's determined to be gone.
Where does that leave me, if there is no us and I'm not divorced or married? That's where I get stuck. I feel bad being stuck here after only 40 days. It's only been 40 days and I don't even know how to process all of my feelings. At first, in a fit of rage I said, “I'd rather die alone than for him to see me with another man before he has another woman.” But that was when I thought he'd come back in a couple days. Now I'm like, dang… this could be a looooonnnng time. And let's get real here, I write romance, I like sex. I don't want my last time to already be in my past, that's just not cool. That's gonna upset the Christian ladies but it's the truth… and I can find biblical back up to say a young woman ought to get married and be occupied with a husband. Pretty sure ladies like me were the reason they put that in there. Of course they were talking about young widows because husbands aren't supposed to leave, but guess what?! Mine did and this is where I'm at and I don't want to be alone for the rest of my life.
And here's where my Christian world view make things difficult. I am comfortable and secure in my faith. The LORD is my hope and my salvation, I know what I was without Him and I don't like that person. I like my faith, I'm not trying to find a way to skirt the “rules” so I don't have to be alone. I genuinely want to do right by my God. I believe divorce happens and God allows it but I don't believe this is a situation where it is necessary, although I do feel it's allowable. And also I'm a romantic at heart. I want a fifty year anniversary, my chances of finding that happening are slim if we don't reconcile. I still believe things could get better. So that means I don't want to be the one to initiate a divorce... if it happens it happens, I just really don't want to be the one to do it. The question is: How long? How long until he serves me with papers to be officially done? What if he doesn't do anything and doesn't get another woman? Can I really, really be alone for the rest of my life? Ummmm, despite what I said, I pretty much doubt that, but I did say it and I kind of mean it. Again, I'd like to think we can work this out. I'd like to believe God will do a miracle. If not that then maybe I can go without a man until my man, the one I committed my life to really finishes this and moves on and isn't my man anymore. But I don't know if I want to wait for him anymore. And I don't know if I need to. God is gracious and forgiving. But I really want to do right by His word and so I think I'll wait as long as it takes or until he puts the nail in the coffin and buries what we were for good.
So here I am, in limbo. Six weeks down, Happy Anniversary to me. I miss him… not the way he left but him, his blue eyes, his big hands and heart, his creative ability and strong, thoughtful Mr. Darcy-ness. Despite the issues, there is so much good in him, in us. No matter how this all plays out I hope to maintain my love and honor of him and never become bitter, angry or unforgiving. But for now, I turn the page, and a new chapter begins.