June 12, 2010

I lost him once ... I can do it again

Posted by meli on Saturday, June 12, 2010 in , , , | 1 comment
photo taken 13 years ago in june 1997 ... newly dating & so much in love

I've already lost my husband once. 7 years ago. He went off to war and never came back. The shell of a man that took his place 7 years ago has tried to integrate into our family, but he doesn't fit. How could he? He's not him. He's not my husband. He's not the boys' father. Not in ways that matter anyway.

I slowly came to understand that the man I once loved. The man who possessed some of the most beautiful and genuine qualities I had ever witnessed in another person was gone. This new man; he was ... colder, darker, meaner. So difficult to grasp; the change. It was so drastic, so immediate, so complete. Changed as he was, he was still my husband (I double checked the legal documents just to be sure, haa), and I had made a commitment to myself, to him, to our children ... I wasn't going to give up on that. For better or worse. In sickness and in health. I meant those words when I said them ... BOTH times.

I have worked hard to remain patient. To remain hopeful and optimistic. To dig deep for the amount of compassion and understanding it takes to keep us afloat with this broken person who returned home to us. The only thing wrong is that the broken person who returned home to us doesn't give the same effort. He, infact, fights every step of the way. Could we make any progress? Yea right ... only if you count moving backward progress.

He assured me time and time again that he wanted this family to work. That he didn't want to lose us. That we meant the world to him. So, ok, I would dig even deeper, work even harder, pick up the slack that he was unable to carry. For better or worse. In sickness and in health. He was sick. Injured. Struggling to regain control of himself. I not only lost my husband. My kids not only lost their father. But he lost himself over there on the battlefield. Couldn't be easy to wake up everyday hating the person you had become. I know it had to be hard... impossible at times, but I also know that he wasn't the only one going through that level of pain. There were 4 other people going through it as well.

If we were able to grieve and move on as a family, we may have had a chance, may have had a leg to stand on. But we couldn't do it together.  The kids and I weren't able to really grieve our loss. We weren't able to really feel it, communicate it, and find some peace and closure in dealing with it. We were instead overooked, pushed to the back, benched.  All of that compassion, patience, and understanding that we were giving to him ... it wasn't being reciprocated. Our feelings weren't often able to be communicated without a fight. Without a guilt trip. Without things getting really bad really fast. We learned to hold back while with him. Danced around it. Stuffed it down.  Sure, there were times here and there where he'd calm down and really work at hearing us, at understanding our feelings. He would beg us to trust him with our grief ... he would be there to listen, to comfort, to understand. It just never lasted ... and in the end, anything and everything that was ever shared with him during those vulnerable moments were thrown back in our faces in an attempt to guilt us, to blame us, to attack us. He used our grief against us to better aid his self destructive defense.

For better or worse

In sickness and in health

I really did mean those words. With every fiber of my being I meant them!

Part of me feels like a quitter, like a failure, because he's still sick, times are still "worse", and I didn't finish what I started. I didn't see this thing through. I'm not 107 years old (yes, I plan to be 107!) holding the hand of the man I've called my husband for 89 years and counting ... looking at him and smiling; knowing we overcame the worst of times together, and built a beautiful life out of the rubble.

I believed for so long that that would happen. That that would be our outcome. I just knew it. I felt it.

I have to come to terms with the fact that our outcome will most likely look very different then that. Very very different.

I have to come to terms and really believe that I did do everything I could. I stayed true to my vows. I followed my commitment through until the end. No, not the end I had envisioned, not the end I wanted, but still an end. It takes 2 people to make a marriage work. Sure, there are times when one person will be carrying the brunt of the load for whatever reason, but eventually that slack needs to be evened out (until the next bout of turbulence). Both parties need to be willing participants. I know I was, and I know he wasn't ... not 100%. His words were there, his actions weren't, and his heart has bobbed in and out.  It wont ever work that way. It's been 7 years of it not working. I need to accept that and truly let go. I felt it was over 2 months ago, but I still held out hope. Hope for our love, for our family, for our future. It's time to take the fantasy blinders off.

I don't know what the future holds for us, but I do know that I lost my husband once. The love of my life. The greatest man I'd ever known. I've already lost him once and I survived. I do love this changed man, too. Maybe more. Maybe less. I don't really know. I do know that it's different ... but it's there, and it's strong. It'll be heartbreaking to lose him (if I ever really had him to begin with) ... but I'm a survivor, I think I can do it again.

1 comment:

  1. [...] point of non stop tears. It wasn’t true. That last blog post I wrote; it wasn’t true.  “I lost him once … I can do it again”. Lies. All lies. I didn’t lose him 7 years ago. Not in my mind, my heart, my soul anyway. I [...]