I promise, this is the last one.
I returned home on Thursday to a half empty house. I knew it would be half empty, it wasn’t any sort of a surprise. I was grateful that I was way far away as they packed and moved. I even had the foresight to have friends to help me through my return home.
KC picked me up from the airport and kept me talking about non-Clayton topics so much that I couldn’t let the sadness surface. An eery calm washed over me when we walked through the door. I did get a little weepy as we toured the house. The ghost house. We walked into every changed room so I could talk about what used to be there. To say goodbye, I suppose.
I still am shocked when I open the left-hand closet door and see two completely empty closet rods. I no longer cry about it, though. I didn’t much that night, for which I was grateful even though I still don’t truly understand why. Penny arrived shortly after we got to the house and she finished Sheri duty while KC moved on to a family dinner. Us two besties had a long dinner in Midtown and I came home alone.
I climbed the stairs to my daughter’s bedroom (they were at their dad’s house, thankfully) and went to sleep in the only decent bed remaining in the house. When I woke the next morning I didn’t know where I was.
I still don’t really know where I am, but I’m getting through it.
I am processing through the stages of grief like a good little valedictorian of heartbreak. I’ve had a lot of help. I have a lot of friends. A LOT of friends. They love me and I love them. They are the reason I’ve survived this. I am the reason I have survived this.
Greg took me to lunch one day and came bearing two messages from his wife, “Moran said I should give you as many hugs as you need and also she made you cookies.” Tracey left me the best voicemail in the history of voicemails. If I can figure out how to excerpt some of it, I’ll post it here. She also has talked me off the edge more times than I can count. And makes sure that I laugh at least twice during each conversation. Lanie stayed by my side for as much as I needed in Austin. Her wife Dale has been sending her love, too. Jacob picked me up one morning and let me ride in his front seat to talk and and cry as he ran errands in another county. Penny lets me really dig in and psychologically analyze him and me and the former ‘us’. My dad and my uncle cut down the big dead tree in my front yard. KC and David sat with me for hours and hours as I completely lost my shit in their living room, and made sure I was eating on more than one occasion. KC pets my hair when I weep and texts me lots of love and light when I am struggling through dark minutes, hours or days. Zach mailed me a 3.5″ floppy disk with a funny message on it. Blake offered to pray for me and then later that day gave me all the drink tickets I could handle. An anonymous friend offered to run him over with their car. Another offered to slash his tires and/or hamstrings. Andy showed up on my doorstep unannounced with an orchid. Ryan sends me messages of perseverance. My ex-husband took the kids when I was non-functional and has been patient and supportive as my brain has slowly come back online. Kristy shares an empathic space because she’s been through a horrifying break up. Even some of his friends are reaching out or at least being kind and not talking about the elephant in the room when we happen to be at the same place at the same time. Dave shared his experiences with his own grief. Another Dave took me to lunch for 2+ hours to share his stories of love and loss. Yet another Dave joined me for a 3+ hour breakfast so we could figure out the world’s problems. Nathan and Brian offered me a place to sleep any time. James let me hijack a previously scheduled brunch to talk through my grief and after minced no words that he was available anytime for just about anything, including just sitting with me if I didn’t want to be alone. Keith has been holding my hand at work to be sure I’m moving forward with my job, even if its at a slower pace than normal. Tim and Katie bully me into going out on the town. Peter comes by one night to help me plan my exit from the ghost house. Kristy (a dear, mutual friend) reaches out regularly…which I deeply appreciate.
I could keep going. I’m leaving out at least 15 more people, not including friends who’ve posted to my blog or send me private messages on Facebook, but I think I’ve made my point. For me, it takes a village. I feel a deep sense of love and belonging, which has saved me through what was a devastating experience. I am grateful.
As I get further and further from this relationship, I can see patterns emerge. But there is no big piece of data that says “Oh, see there Sheri. You should have seen this coming like a freight train” or “How can you be so sad, you guys were so non-functional?” The truth is that what we had was the best thing that had ever happened to me with regards to love by a large margin. I thought it was forever. Everyone thought it was forever. We were aIl wrong. And I will take this experience of all the good, these patterns/clues about him, these patterns/clues about myself and the last 5 weeks of bad and do better next time. I will choose better, look for even the most subtle clues and will do better next time.
When I am ready.