What I’ve avoided telling you for some time now: Part 1

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What I’ve avoided telling you for some time now: Part 1

It was a Sunday, a nice sunny Sunday that was unusually warm for January. I had been living separately from Chris for about nine months. He had recognized his girlfriend was crazy and that maybe the fact that I was a good person but a terrible housekeeper wasn’t so bad. At least that was the surface story.
Earlier that week we had seen a mediator to try to sort out our goals for our future and the future of our three daughters. The separation was getting pretty real. Chris was so emotionally tired, I could see it in his face and his frighteningly thin body. He was coming untethered and I was his last remaining tie. When the mediator left the room, he laid his head on my shoulder, and I put my arm around him. He commented that people who were getting a divorce shouldn’t touch so lovingly.
Later that day he sent me a text saying all he wanted was for us to look at each other the way we had over a decade ago, to go back to being our nation of two, to lay down together and let the troubles of the world go away. But we were very far from that reality.
After a decade of struggling to make our round peg fit into the square hole of marriage, we had grown apart. Chris had had an affair, come back to me and then returned to her. He was struggling with depression, and alcoholism and for the first time in over a decade I was starting to get a clearer picture of who we were together. I loved Chris, I wanted our family to be whole, our daughters to have a nuclear family, but I could see that was my fantasy.
I am fully aware that I was not perfect, I was needy and jealous. I was bad at communicating my needs and standing my ground. I was an enabler. I wallowed in resentment sometimes and was silent when I needed to talk. I had growing to do.
I loved Chris because he was an over-achiever, with a broken heart, a good man with a drinking problem and a genius with a total inability to see himself for who he was. Chris could not come to terms with the fact that he was a flawed human, or in short, human. He had suffered with depression for most of his life and believed treating it would deny who he was. So instead he worked and he ran. He ran literally and metaphorically until he couldn’t run any more. That day was sometime in January 2012.
Three weeks earlier he had taken out a $90,000 second mortgage on the house. He took a trip to a tropical island, he closed accounts, deleted information from the hard drive of our computer, he returned broken cameras.
On that Sunday, January 29th he was recovering from a 24 hour call at the hospital. Apparently it was a fairly tolerable call and he had gotten some sleep. I worked at the Unitarian Universalist church at the time and had a meeting after. Chris offered to take the girls to a nearby park while I was in my meeting. The two younger girls accepted and M went to spend the afternoon with a friend. After the park, we all went to lunch.
The conversation was strange, and not just in retrospect. I kept seeing glimmers of something in Chris’ eyes. Something that betrayed the surface meaning of his questions. I didn’t know what it was at the time, but I felt an energy coming from him. It was needy and sad. He wasn’t just asking questions, he was seeking reassurance, closure.
We walked out to the parking lot. He put on his grey motorcycle jacket. He said, ” we should talk sometime.”
“About what?” I asked
” Just talk.” He replied
“Ok. We will”.
That was the last thing I ever said to him.

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6 responses »

  1. You are a string woman, A. You showed him beauty. You gave him beautiful children. You lifted him up as much as your human arms could bear, which was a mighty weight. If you were any different, the result would have been the same, but worse because you would not have been you. The death of the dream is sometimes harder than the death of the person. The separation was a little death of the dream of a perfect family, perfect life. His death was the finality of it. You miss him, but you miss the dream, too. Grief is a many-headed bastard. Hugs.

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