When You Don’t Know What To Say


Since the day M took his own life, my world has once again become ground zero for the stages of grief.

I’m still in the angry stage–angry mostly that I’m asked to speak on behalf of M, or to know what exactly is going on. Truth is, I actually know a bit about what is going on because I still care. I care about M, I care about his family, I care about his friends. I care about my family, I care about my friends. I have some answers but like everyone else, I have a lot of questions that will never be answered. When I was with M, I knew his routine backwards and forwards. When he left, I lost all sense of that balance. So I do ask a lot of questions, some out loud, and most of them rhetorical — often just the impulse of a mind that is searching to put together pieces of a puzzle.

All I know (at this moment) is that 190 days ago M started making choices. Choices and decisions that would affect so many people in this small community that I’ve lost count. Choices and decisions that led to consequences for not only M but also her. I understand that her choices and decisions are solely hers, but the outcome affects me directly and has forever changed my life.  When it was just the infidelity and consequential divorce, there were no shortage of stories shared with me of common experiences, no shortage of people that were angry at M and angry at her, no shortage of people that would give me advice on how I needed to proceed during the divorce. However, add in suicide and the fact that all of this has happened in just 150 days, all of a sudden there aren’t so many shared stories, and not so much in the way of advice.

And this is why I say that when you don’t know what to say, it’s perfectly okay to say that. Please don’t try to find words to fill the silence. You should know that my mind takes care of that on its own. Squeeze my hand, hug me round the neck, tell me “yeah, this sucks,” or simply “I’m sorry, I don’t have any words.” Even a sad smiley emoticon can convey your heart.

But you should know that I like when you can relate. Your stories give me strength to move forward and follow your example.  When you can share a story that shows how you handled a hard time, that gives me hope. However, while not impossible, it’s highly probable that you don’t know how I feel, know what I’m going through, have been where I’m at, know just what I need to do, or can imagine what I’m experiencing. Most of the time, I’m not entirely sure myself.

My self talk is filled with doubts and shoulda/woulda/couldas. And yet, I know that there wasn’t anything I could do to change the course of events once M started down that path. I know that I’m not responsible for his actions. I know its not my fault. Remind me of these things–I need you to be positive and encouraging. I feel as if I am on the brink of my own sanity holding tightly to the edge as I watch my faith being challenged.

Yup, this does suck, no other way to say it… and I’m okay if you say it too.

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Legally Divorced, Emotionally Widowed


Legally divorced and emotionally widowed….there is no other way to say it.  It’s the only way to describe this chaotic, conflicting, non-sensical way I’m feeling.  I was barely getting used to not referring to M as my husband and now he’s gone.

Eight days ago, I was mentally & emotionally stable.  I was in a good place; happy with where I was at, the progress I was making, the fact that for once in a very long while, I was happy–maybe not all day every day, but every day, I was truly happy.

Because the divorce happened so quickly, its natural for people to think of M and then think of me. Now that he’s gone, I feel that people are looking to me to be the representation of him. I wonder if they think of me as shallow and hateful because I’m not visibly a puddle of tears wondering how I’m going to move forward.  What they don’t see is that behind closed doors or in the comfort of my closest friends, I am a mess–confused by the emotions that are within me.

I had been telling M goodbye for 4 months. I had been mourning the loss of my marriage for 4 months. I had realized that the person I loved stopped existing 5 1/2 months ago and I didn’t know this new person claiming to be M. I don’t know why he chose the path he did, why he started making the choices he did, I just know that four months ago, he told me about his affair and 9 days later he moved out.

And yet, here I am, once again, telling him goodbye. Here I am walking through the stages of grief once more. Here I am, replaying different scenarios over and over again in my mind. And mostly, here I am again … angry.

This time my anger is much different. I know that this time it’s a defensive anger – an anger that exists because even in death, I have heard more lies that M told. Really M?! Really?!  You had the nerve to tell co-workers that I wanted the divorce, that you still loved me and that I was the heartless one?! Again, I say Really?! I want to just plaster billboards all over town with the link to this blog. I’ve spent the past four months working out some hard emotions because you scoffed at the idea of reconciling or rebuilding our marriage.  I’m angry because it doesn’t matter now – I have no one with which to be angry, I have only the memory of you getting the last word.

As for “her”… I am conflicted because I want to say to her that she flatters herself if she thinks that what she did or said caused M to make the choice he did 7 days ago, but that’s not fair — I don’t know what she is feeling and its not my place to tell her how she should or shouldn’t feel.

Mostly I don’t want her to feel the pain or confusion as to why he did what he did. Three years ago when we lost a friend to suicide, M and I talked about his depression and the struggle he fights each day to stay this side of life. He talked about his past suicide attempt many, many years ago and how it had nothing to do with anyone else. It truly is that the person experiencing the anguish is at a point of seeing no other options.   I don’t know why, but I find that having that conversation in my heart brings me peace.

90 days ago, we were separating our stuff, making new lives for ourselves – now in a few days, his stuff will be distributed and donated and deemed worthy or unworthy of being retained by family members. Legally I have no say to anything regarding M or his property and yet I am probably the one that knew him best. Emotionally, I am having a hard time pulling my heart back into sync with my head and returning to my state of mind just eight days ago.

I feel like I’m more of a widow than a divorcee… 60 days to divorce and 62 days to a “forever-goodbye.”  Who the heck can even make sense of that?

Where Did You Go? pt. 2


My prior post can be interpreted a couple of different ways especially since the focus of my blog is my life and how it has evolved since D-Day.

Readers, sadly I share that I wrote that poem to M after learning that he took his own life in a very tragic and painful way.

I “lost” M 4 months ago….. I have been saying goodbye to him and I have been mourning the loss of a life that we shared. I have spent countless hours crying and trying to understand who this person was that existed since June — I don’t know him, I don’t know that man. What I do know is that M’s choices were M’s alone. I’m not ashamed to admit that it has taken many hours with a professional to come to that conclusion.

I am absolutely hurt that he is gone and I am crushed that he felt there were no other options. That he felt that he had no friends and that he was alone in this world. I (we) will never know where he was at with God when he chose this option. I witnessed him walking the aisle and being completely broken before the Lord and I take comfort in the thought that I believe he was saved. However, the enemy is going to take whatever stronghold it can and M let him take hold of his mind and as such his pride and then as such his judgment and ultimately his actions.

“My M” was my world for 11 years…. good bad ugly and beautiful. But I get to answer the same question each day that he did… Who am I going to live for today? And I choose Life. For better or worse in this rotten world that we live in, I choose Life and I TRUST that the only thing holding me now and keeping me from being crumpled up in a ball in the corner is the grace of my Heavenly Father who knows and understands the loss of his own Son.

M’s family and his friends can use our prayers and loving thoughts. They are left with many questions and are trying to fill in the gaps. But the answers that they are searching for are not going to be found.  It was not “one” thing that caused M to make this choice, there was no “nail in the coffin” sort of conversation. M was somewhere that very few people ever get to– utter despair and he went to a dark place.

Yes, the person I loved didn’t exist and that is no longer figuratively but literally. I weep now for the loss of a life, the loss of a friend.

Rest in Peace M, rest in peace (M. 1974-2014)

YAY! HE DID IT!


M finally lived up to my expectations.  I expected that Day 60 would come and go without a word from him or without repayment of what he owes me both in cash and property.

It has taken me some time to realize that its not my responsibility to remind him of what he owes me. It’s not my job to to make sure he is aware of the day or the details. We both received the same copy of the divorce decree. We both signed the same paperwork.

Worst part is that I’m a nice person — probably nicer than I should be where he is concerned. If he had communicated with me, I am fairly certain that while I wouldn’t have been happy about a delay in paying me back,  I would have been understanding.  But as my preacher said to me months ago… Lower your expectations. He said I hold M to a high standard and that’s why I’m so disappointed when he fails to come through. I said, I only hold him to the same standards I would hold myself to.  Preacher just gave me that knowing glance that conveyed without words that M will never live up to those standards.  And so I did lower my expectations and what do you know… M actually met them.

And honestly, it makes me sad. Sad that I still wanted to believe he had a bit of something in him that would cause him to do the right thing but at least I am not devastated by it. It sucks, don’t get me wrong. I could use that $170, after all, it is Christmas;  but in the grand scheme of it all, the fact that M can lay his head down and sleep at night says all I will ever need to know about him.

Recalculating


Life’s like a road that you travel on; When there’s one day here and the next day gone. Sometimes you bend, sometimes you stand; Sometimes you turn your back to the wind.
Tom Cochran, Life is a Highway

I haven’t posted in quite awhile because I am finding that my Mac is pretty much so outdated that adding a post is starting to become a bit of a challenge. A new laptop is just one more item that I recognize I need to add to my new life and I can’t help but recall that just two months before D-Day, my parents gave M a new ipad for his birthday and how I now know that FaceTime was just one of the ways he communicated with her thanks to that gift. He disgusts me.

Recently I had an opportunity to get “out of dodge.” I needed to go some place where no one knew me or my story and where I could just go and be without constantly wondering if that was his car or her car or if I would see them around town. My friend K made arrangements to get her parent’s timeshare and we were off to Myrtle Beach for the weekend. As I was planning to go, it occurred to me that I no longer had a GPS or luggage. M took all the luggage on his way out of the rental as well as the GPS. To be fair, he did ask me if he could take it and of course I said yes (smacking myself in the head now!)

Within two hours of arriving in South Carolina, we went to a local pawn shop and I sold my ring. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Make no mistake, sure I was sad and had moments of “wow, I can’t believe this is it” but for the most part, I really haven’t looked back. It probably also helps that I’m not going to be scoping out women’s hands looking to see if they are wearing that ring, nor am I wandering into a pawn shop here and seeing what my life is worth based on that ring.

As K and I drove around town and were talking, she filled me in on what the dating world is like these days. I’m not going to lie, I’m a bit scared. We had a great laugh over dinner as she shared with me some of the craziness that she is witness to when it comes to men and the way social media and texting play into it all now. It’s definitely going to be a challenge for me to get back out there and while I do miss the thought of someone to love, I’m definitely not ready to drink the Kool Aid just yet.

I shared with K some of my concerns about dating. I made the comment that I sure didn’t feel like I was a “catch” now… I’m 44, divorced, I have bad credit due to the chain of events that moved us from Arizona to Georgia 4 years ago, not to mention that I’m back living with my parents. But she said something to me that I have taken to heart over the days as I’ve let it sink in. She said “You are a catch. You know what you want and you know what you won’t settle for now.” She’s right– everyone has a story, and in mine I’m not going to relive my past mistakes. I’m working on becoming financially stable and right now that looks different for me than it might for someone else. I’m very aware of red flags and already more trusting of myself when I see them, even in people that I am just getting to know on a friendship level.

So, how’d I spend the money I got when I sold my ring? I bought a GPS. Sort of symbolic and ironic since I’m working on recalculating my own life, not only literally with a new budget and new adventures with old and new friends, but also emotionally and spiritually. I AM a catch and I work hard each day to remind myself of that–some days I’m not successful at it, but I keep trying.

For my friends reading this blog, should I start to get down about things and start to drift back into “romanticized”memories of my life with M, I’m counting on you to say to me “Recalculating” so that I know I’ve wandered into the past and its time to focus on the road to reality.

Control+Alt+Delete


What if it really was that easy? Before it was just a joke… a funny way to say I wish I could do that again, now it’s all for real. I’ve been single… well, let me re-phrase that, I’ve been divorced for 38 days. I still carry M with me– we are still “connected” for another 22 days.

Control: The divorce decree stated that he needed to pay me what he owed me no later than 60 days after the date of the divorce. In the past 38 days, I’ve seen M three times. Each time I believed I was getting what he owed me. $170, plus some personal items. And each time, I’ve been told one thing or another: “waiting for all the final bills to arrive”, “the bank is holding the check”, “he’ll pay me next payday“. And each time, I still believe his “reasons” until I step away and say to myself…”Seriously, Z, why are you still believing those stories?!”  And those are the times I wish I could rewind the conversation and tell him to give me what he owes me and to get his priorities straight.

I was foolish to believe him and yes, I do accept that.  A wise friend kindly reminded me that I needed to manage my expectations. Going by past behavior, its not likely I’ll see anything from him and if I do, it will be icing on the cake. But it doesn’t stop me from wanting him to recognize that he “o w e s” me…. Something … Anything … Everything! But I can accept, painfully, that I will likely get Nothing. I can’t control what he will do, but I can control my own expectations.

ALT: in those 38 days, I’ve managed to remember what it was like to be “me.” My first full paycheck, I bought glasses and contacts. The glasses I was wearing had been broken for 10 months but I wore them because there was always something else that needed to be purchased. I scheduled a haircut, got my nails done and had my eyebrows waxed. I bought mascara, a very simple luxury, but when having to make the choice between bananas and mascara, i recognized that bananas were the safer choice to come home with.

I went to the Opera for the first time. I chose Hansel and Gretel because at least I knew the story line. I took myself to the town theater production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella. I’ve dined alone simply to remind myself that I can sit there and look other folks in the eye and smile. I even went to a friend’s bonfire and mingled with an entire group of people that I didn’t know.  It’s been nice remembering “me”… doing things that I used to do.

DELETE: I’m selling my wedding ring. It doesn’t mean anything to me anymore, well it doesn’t mean much. I pulled it out of the jewelry box and like an idiot, slipped it back onto my finger…. and I cried. And just as easily as I slipped it on, I slipped it off. I’m taking it to the pawn shop tomorrow. I loved my ring, it was meant to be a “starter” ring that would get enhanced with a bigger ring at 5 years … instead, M bought a big screen TV and a PS3. He had the nerve to mention this when he was telling me that he felt like I wasn’t happy, and that he wasn’t good enough for me — that he never got me my ring or took me on a honeymoon etc.   But its time to say goodbye to it. There’s no reason I need to see it each morning in the jewelry box.

As far as my marriage, if given the chance to do it all again, would I? I don’t know. it seems silly to ponder those sorts of questions. I’d much rather ask myself… given what you know now, are you willing to try it again?

I think, yes.