Sick. Lonely. Heartbroken. A lovely puddle of snot and tears.
I've succumbed to the germs. I held them at bay for several days, but by Monday night I couldn't ignore it and by yesterday it was all I could do to get to 2:00 at work. Thank God my mom was here and able to take care of the boys because I came home and napped from 2-5. With a few interruptions notable because, really, why, why did my sister really need me to get up and print something for my mom to sign for her apartment lease so that I could then take a picture of it and send it back to her. Really, it couldn't wait? She said how sorry she was because she knew I was sick, but would she have asked someone else? Maybe I"m seeing everything as relevant now when it isn't all relevant.
Anyhow. I feel like crap. I do not have time for this. I have a whole house to pack up and move and clean in the next three weeks. And a massive remodel project going on at the new house. I feel like I don't have an hour to spare and yet, here I am. Stopped. Maybe this is my body's way of telling me to deal with some of these emotions.
I feel like I've been doing so well, and everyone looking in from the outside, including me is impressed at how I've rebounded. When people remark about it, I respond honestly, saying, "Yeah, I'm doing well, in fact if anyone would have told me a year ago where I'd be now, I wouldn't have believed it." And there's truth to it, but there's also more to the truth. It's complicated. I am doing well in so many ways, and the heartbreak is still right beneath the surface. It's a fragile scaffold. Like a butterfly I guess. I've emerged in some ways, but I'm still incredibly delicate. Though I don't think I look it from the outside. It doesn't take much to trigger tears though.
This evening at the end of work, my friend and colleague walked into my office and we were talking about things and one thing led to another and I shared with him that the dissolution was nearly finalized. That STBEX and I had replied to the mediator's draft with comments back and forth and we have come to agreement on everything it seems. And as I said it I started crying. And now I'm starting to again typing it. Why? Why does that make me so sad. What about finishing the mediation is making me sad? It's not that it finalizes the dissolution. Not only was there absolutely no chance that things were going to end in anything other than dissolution, but I don't even WANT them to end in anything but that now. So, why the tears? Why not relief that we have reached agreement (and I've largely gotten what I've argued for). Satisfaction? A sense of accomplishment? Victory? Nothing close. Just sadness. Grief. And while I've learned enough to stop myself from saying, "why don't I feel ____, I 'should' feel…," I still don't understand why I'm feeling it. And I get that I don't need to. I just am. I'm just sad. It doesn't have to be rationale. It's grief at the loss of the life I wanted. But naming it or even understanding it doesn't make it go away.
I am so filled with gratitude for my parents assistance on this house remodel. It's going to be fabulous, and I couldn't possibly manage it without them. They are beyond helpful and are working their tails off. I'm worried that they're working too hard actually. My dad pushes himself too much, works too long of days and takes on a lot of physical work like framing, and putting up sheetrock. We are all very excited about the house and even more so about the prospect of living together (when they are in town in the summer). And yet, part of what made me melt into a puddle this evening was coming home to this empty house of mine at 7:00. The boys are with their father and I worked until 6:30 and then my parents had already gone to their temporary home across town after working at the new house all day. And I felt overwhelmed with loneliness. This was the right choice. To come home and have a can of soup and go to bed early. No better choice. And yet it felt lonely. Even more so because they are here in town, but not here. And then I feel badly for feeling like they should have been there for me because oh my God, they were there working their nearly 70 year-old tails off for my benefit ALL DAY LONG. But, I'm learning not to tell myself that my feelings are wrong. Instead I can realize that while their choice was the right choice (this is not hard for me to accept), it's also ok that I was FEELING like I needed even more (that's the challenging part to accept). I have a rather insatiable need to be cared for right now, and that's ok. I might not get the amount of care I crave, and that may result in loneliness, but that's ok too. I don't need to feel guilty about that on top of it all.
And while I'm feeling all this authentic gratitude for my parents, they are also stressing me out. My sister and I have been mildly concerned for some time now about my mother's mental activity. She doesn't seem to really have anything to keep her mentally fit, and we have seen intermittent signs of forgetfulness or confusion. Nothing really serious, but enough that we've commented on it to each other a few times and wondered, unsure if this was something new or perhaps just the way she's always been. And then my father corners me the other day and says, "we need to talk." So, we've had several little conversations in stolen moments, a trip to the hardware store together, while doing some work at the new house when my mom was out on an errand, etc. He's frustrated and concerned. For some of the same reasons that my sister and I have been, but he's also frustrated because he is bored with her lack of mental vigor and feeling the need for space. I asked him if they've talked about all this. No, they haven't. He said it's too hard. The next day he approaches me again and among other things he uses the words, "it's gotten to the point that I'm not even sure what the point of being married is." I can't get his words out of my head. They just keep orbiting back into my thoughts. I haven't been alone with him yet again to ask him just how serious he was with a comment like that. Was this just a flippant way of describing the real frustration and concern he is feeling or is he seriously questioning his marriage. FUCK!!!!!!! I CANNOT DEAL WITH THIS!!!!!!! I told him that they have to talk, as hard as it may be. That this is not all that surprising given their age and the transition they are in the midst of. No wonder so many post-retirement is another peak time people get divorced. I can see their frustrations and how they drive each other crazy and I can also see just how they need to be more giving to each other. My mom is pretty good about giving my dad his space, but he needs even more. She needs to expect that she isn't going to get any more of him than when he was working all those years. He still needs to be using his brain in all the ways that he was before. So, a few hours a day is all she's going to get. And my dad needs to realize all the ways that my mom is helpful to him and all her labors of love, going and getting lunch, dealing with phone calls, organizing and managing everything with a smile. He belittles her impact. And yet, I know they love each other. There's been plenty of evidence of that over the years. But I don't think he's feeling that right now, and that scares the shit out of me. He is asking me for my help to solve this problem and I don't want this emotional burden. Do they need counseling? They definitely need to talk and have some hard conversations they have been ignoring. They need to remind each other why they love each other and do some reconnecting activities. They need to do the hard work. It doesn't end, even after 45.5 years of marriage. But is it my job to get them to do this? I just can't take on. And yet I have no choice. It was dumped in my lap. And now I have fear over my mom's health and my parents' marriage piled on top of my own grief and stress. My grandmother died of Alzheimer's at 80. I can't bear the thought of losing my mom in the next ten years. She's my best friend. And I can't even fathom the thought of my parent's marriage imploding. The death of my own marriage has nearly taken everything out of me. If my parents' fell apart it would be far far worse. They are all my hope. Their marriage isn't perfect. It's not a fairytale by any stretch of the imagination, but it's enough to keep me believing that marriage is possible. Even after infidelity, really rocky shit. When there's love and will.
So there I am. Jason Mraz's stupid song about not giving up comes on Pandora and I am reduced to a sobbing puddle of tears.
So much has happened recently and so much more is happening. I'm sitting on my bed. It's not even the same bed. The mattresses are the ones from the guest room. All the bedding is new since his departure. The beautiful cherry sleigh bed is gone. Night stands gone. Sold them all for a total of $400. Yeah. I wasn't about to bring my marriage bed (and coordinating furniture) into my new home. It really did feel like my marriage bed as we got it just a little before our wedding. A nice couple came and bought it. They left and I sat on the floor looking at the big empty space in the room. Heavy. "This shit is getting real," I texted a few girlfriends. I couldn't get up for nearly 30 minutes. Not exactly crying, just not really able to move from the spot.
How am I going to get all this done? All that's on my plate at work. All that needs to be done at the new house before moving? All the packing and preparing for leaving this house. On one hand I don't think I can make it. On the other hand, I don't see what choice I have. I guess sleep is probably a good idea. Imagine going to be before 11 two nights in a row. What a concept. I'll try it.