Monthly Archives: December 2015

reeling

Just over a week ago, one of the former step kids called. I’d just shared our spring break itinerary via email, so I figured the call was about plans. Boy, was I wrong! My ex’s dead body had been found in his apartment.

Let me backtrack a bit… I’d known this moment was coming since around a year ago, when I’d had a bizarre exchange with my ex that left me questioning his sanity. I remember wondering if he had early-onset dementia. Since then, his health has declined steadily; my daughter once had to call 911 after a fall and the last time the children had spent a weekend with him, he was emaciated, weak and visibly unwell. He suffered ulcers, internal bleeding and dangerously low hemoglobin.

For as long as this moment was anticipated and for as long as we’d been apart, I was completely shattered. I had to gather, tell and comfort my children, and then start telling others. I think I thought the worst would be supporting my children through their grief. Wave after wave of staggering grief washed over me. I reached out to friends, allies and colleagues, and lashed out at Brad, who responded (like everyone else) with grace, compassion and concern.

Those first days of taking the children to school late, checking them in at the office, talking to the counselor, answering the door for flower and food deliveries, telling colleagues I was unavailable… are a blur. Breathing was a struggle. For mothers who’ve just given birth, it’s like those first days of feeling completely upside down — my body felt as though it had been hit by a train, I was extraordinarily exhausted but couldn’t get enough sleep, time stretched out and compressed like an accordion, and could be measured only in “before” and “after.” For surfers, it’s like being pearled — underwater, disoriented, finally figuring out which way is up but not being able to reach the surface or catch your breath.

After a day and a half of weeping, I woke up, vomited up the previous night’s dinner and discovered I’d gotten my period. At that point, I knew things could only get better.

I have never been so grateful for the outpouring of support and love from friends, family members, co-workers, colleagues, my boss, neighbors, ex-boyfriends and, yes, even new beaus. Mr. Meltsmyheart checked in every single day. Brad has been kind, too. In the past, when others I know have lost loved ones, I’ve always felt my words, hugs, cards were feeble expressions — they never seemed enough somehow. But now I understand how much those small expressions of sympathy can mean.

I am now really, truly a full-time single parent. Full stop. This is certain to further complicate my future relationship prospects.

What’s next? Well, there are school trips to plan for, shots and doctors appointments with which to carry on, orthodontia, sports… good heavens! When am I going to schedule counseling sessions for these little ones? And how do I ensure the story they tell about their father serves them?

All this and more are yet to come. But for now, I’m still reeling.


licking my wounds

Brad’s sudden disappearance hurt both my heart and my ego. Let’s be honest: nothing sounds more hang dog and pathetic than to have been left by someone who, in all honesty, wasn’t quite in my league anyway. I don’t say so to be a pig…I was really ready to test drive “us” in a relationship. But he clearly was not equal to me emotionally, in communication skills or maturity, as demonstrated by his actions. (Jeez, that sounds self-righteous as shit, don’t it?!) And, as much as I liked the way I felt when I was with him, eventually we were going to run out of interesting conversation — he simply wasn’t all that intellectual. I find few characteristics less impressive than a person who doesn’t read.

So I got back on the horse. Right away. And I’ve had two first dates with two different gentlemen, and I have second dates scheduled with each. Both of these guys get yellow flags:  one for being divorced just two months; the other for having had a second, momentary marriage and divorce, then moving in with a girlfriend not too long afterward. I’m concerned he moves too fast and maybe isn’t measured in his thinking / planning. The first guy I connect with better, but I’m not interested in being a rebound, and I’m not sure he’s interested in marrying me, putting my kids through college, etc. Yes, that’s getting ahead of myself…but I’m going to be direct about what I ultimately want.

Oh, wait…this is supposed to be fun!

And I intend to have fun. Forever. With the right co-conspirator.

How else have I been dealing? I’ve been going out with friends, continuing to check out new restaurants, bars and haunts. I have petty moments of wanting to send photos of my outings to Brad, who loved my charming neighborhood, tap rooms and chef-driven restaurants…and I fantasize about including a certain gesture in each image. But that would be childish and desperate, and I won’t give him the satisfaction.

A few of my girlfriends have asked me if I’m absolutely, positively sure he wasn’t in some sort of horrific accident. And I confess:  every so often I do imagine him coming out of a coma, calling my name from his hospital bed. But I wouldn’t go back, because I can now see his lack of emotional connection for what it is.

Any anyway, the .001% chance of that having happened, well…

My final few heartbreak recovery tactics are these:

  • Reminding myself that I am whole and healed, and that I don’t need to be exactly perfect or ideal to deserve a relationship that’s ideal for me — just as I don’t expect another person to be perfect.
  • Knowing that, deep down, my chances of success in a relationship with Brad were slim, and believing that there is a much better something awaiting just around the corner.
  • Lots and lots of Beyonce and dancing.