There are no rules…and therefore, should be no expectations

How many times have you heard someone say they wished their ex-husband/boyfriend would drop dead? Just vanish off the face of the earth. That their lives would be so much easier if they no longer had to deal with that horrid EX.

I know I am guilty of thinking it a few times over the years. And I know I’m not alone. Unfortunately, most people say things without ever considering the reality of their words.

And now, I know that ‘easier’ is the last word I would use to describe it.

Six months ago today, my youngest Son still had his Father. None of us had any idea that over the next week our lives would change forever. Before all of this happened, I never would have dreamed it would affect me so much.

But six months later I still have to remind myself that he is not there. He was not there to see our Son graduate from high school. He won’t be there to see him get married. He will never meet his grandchildren.

Sometimes when I’m driving I will see a van that looks like his and will check to see if it is in fact him, driving. Then I remember. And I feel a tightening in my body.

Why does this bother me so?

I had never experienced anything like this before so I had no idea what it would be like, how I would feel. But yet, somehow I never thought it would feel like this.

Hallmark doesn’t make a sympathy card for the ex-wife.  I broke down the night we found him. I was a basket case. My Son, 17…who found his Father only moments before, had to hold me up and comfort me! I did not handle it very well. There was no precedent for how this should have rolled out. Who should have been crying, who should have been helping others. And it still hurts.

And the whole time, I hear a voice in my head saying, ‘Why do you care? You left him! You gave up your rights to be the grieving widow.’

We were never married, but lived together for 9 years as a family. We had one child together, and my other 2 children from my previous marriage. The first year of the 9 was the only happy one. He called himself my ‘White Knight’, in the beginning. Something happened after the first year and his personality changed drastically. He was extremely cruel to me and the children… emotionally/psychologically and he was very controlling.

It took me many years, 8 to be exact, to be strong enough ….mentally, financially and spiritually to get out of the relationship. It was not easy. Nothing about getting out of a relationship is easy for the woman. Trust me.

The insurance company wouldn’t even let me separate my van from his car insurance without his permission.

He got very angry and spiteful when I said I was leaving. But it was much, much worse when he realized I meant it.  ‘White’ followed me, watched who I was with and actually had people checking on me and letting him know what I was up to and where I had been. Then he would text/email me to give me a play-by-play of my entire day. It was very disconcerting. I began to have a hard time sleeping. I lost a lot of weight and became very paranoid.

‘White’ said he would make me pay for leaving. And the price would be dear. And it truly was. The cost was my Son. He used mind games and psychological warfare on myself and my Son that drove him away from me.

And now that ‘White’ has died, he has essentially left our Son an orphan. And for that, I feel I can never forgive him.

But why do I feel so sad?

Don’t you think that having someone that spiteful and vindictive out of your life forever would be a good thing? A relief, at least?

But no, I feel sadness. Grief. A heaviness in my chest.

‘White’ died on Easter weekend. He was at home alone. While I had all the children with me, celebrating our time together. We had a fire outside and I took pictures of Goose, the kids and our dog, Mollie. It was such a happy time. Everyone was getting along. It was a beautiful day.

But now every time I look at those pictures, all I can think of is…he was already dead and we had no idea, nor would we until the next evening. There we are smiling and enjoying ourselves….while Death took ‘White’ and we don’t even know. And I feel it through my entire body. This emptiness. At times I think, I will never get over it. But I don’t even know how I can deal with it. Who can I talk to? Who will understand?

Is my sadness for my Son and how it has affected his life? Is it for the loss of my chance at being his Mom?

I only hear from him occasionally and it breaks my heart. But… now I never have to go through ‘White’ to reach him again. And yet… it’s worse? How can that be?

Is it the fact that ‘White’ and I never got to that point where we were past the anger and resentment? I never got to tell him that I forgave him. And he never got to say that he was sorry.

Writing in the past has helped me to sort through and deal with many things in my life. This is the first time I have written about this. Will it help? I guess we will see.

Maybe it is fear. The knowledge that someone I spent a huge chunk of my life with will never take another breath. Sometimes I wake in the middle of the night and watch my Husband’s chest just to make sure he is still breathing.

I have lost my Mother and Father. I watched precious pets die. One of my old boyfriends from my early teen years took his life a few years ago. I am no stranger to heartache. Death has been to my door and I have had no choice but to let him in.

I know it is a reality of life. That we must eventually say goodbye. But there is something different about this one. ‘Whites’ death means something to me on a whole separate level. Once I lost one of my parents, I knew undoubtedly the possibility of losing the other.

Once my first Grandparent died, I valued every moment I had with my other three. When I experienced my first pet dying, it made me much more careful about choosing to get another. Why would I want to put myself through that pain again?

There is no chance of them not dying, after all. It will happen. And there is no way to avoid loving them to not be hurt. And would I want to not ever feel that love again? Of course not.

My Husband Goose, is the biggest reason I am considering myself sane today. He has helped me to remember who I am and what I am capable of. It has not been easy, but I value myself again. I finally have someone in my life who loves me exactly the way I am. He picks me up when I’m down and makes me laugh, even when I would rather blacken his eye.

My biggest fear when we first met and I started to fall in love with him, was that I would someday lose him. I was afraid to get hurt again. It didn’t take long for him to prove to me, he was going nowhere. I finally trusted and set my heart free.

To know that the only thing I will lose him to is time, is a blessing but also a curse.

But we’re young, so we have nothing to worry about. Right? ‘White’ was only seven years older than Goose. And he’s gone.

I knew the loss of a ‘Parent’. I knew the loss of a ‘Grandparent’. I also knew the loss of a Pet.

But now I had lost a ‘Husband’ type person (does that make sense?)

Is that why I am hurting so much? Because now I feel the reality of what it would be to lose a spouse? I have tried to imagine how it would have played out, had ‘White’ and I still been together when he died. But I could not do it.

My logical mind stated that, ‘Well, if we were still together he wouldn’t have died. He would have taken better care of himself. Otherwise you wouldn’t have stayed with him so long.’

Like I would have been able to help him quit his addictions once and for all. After nine years of not being able to do that? What would have changed?

When I think of that nine years stretched into nineteen, it makes my stomach turn.

So while I try and figure out the way of the world, the reasons for things that happen…I will do my best to focus on the good in my life. The loved ones that I still have. Cherish every moment I have with them. Because you really don’t know when that moment will be the last.

I’m sure my kids are sick of hearing, ‘I love you’, ‘Be safe’, ‘Text me when you get there so I know you’re okay’, ‘Drive safe’, and always wanting a hug before I or they leave.

Part of me says one day they will understand why I am like this.

But a bigger part of me hopes that they never do.

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