My exboyfriend arrived back in our town on Thursday. He rented an apartment less than two miles from my house. He was supposed to stop by with the dog around 5 pm, but texted me the move was taking longer than expected and he would either come later or over the weekend. I did not hear from him again until 9:30 pm. I was already in bed, so I put his call to voicemail. He immediately called back again and I answered.
“I think the dog is dead.”
I knew our dog was not doing well and was suffering. I had said my bittersweet goodbyes to her two weeks ago when he left and took her with him to visit his parents. I believed that she would live out her remaining days down there, in the sunshine and warmth of the South.
“What? Are you sure?”
I had been nervous about seeing him all day. I felt so many different emotions. Resentment for him moving so close to me without even asking how I felt about it. Worry about how his health is and that he hasn’t gotten any professional help yet. I missed him, I wanted to see him, I never wanted to see him again…I was all over the place. I sort of just needed to get the first time seeing him over with.
“I left for 20 minutes and when I got back she was lying against the door. She’s not moving. Her eyes are open.”
I took control. It is what I always did. It was why he called me. He knew I would know what to do. Regardless of what happened between us and my demand for more space and time from him, this was something I knew he couldn’t do alone. And I didn’t want him to. I called the emergency vet and arranged to bring her in.
“Get her to the truck and come pick me up…we will bring her in together.”
I got into his truck, the backseat was dark and I couldn’t see her lifeless body. I didn’t want to. He was trying to keep it together. He called his parents to tell them and failed to mention I was with him. I let that go- not important. They did not show much acknowledgment or appreciation for the 26 days of my devotion to him in the hospital (or the 8 years throughout our relationship), so I wouldn’t expect it now. It was so hard not to reach over and take his hand. I stuck mine deep into the sleeves of my sweatshirt and crossed my arms. We spoke very little on the way there.
We both got a chance to say goodbye to her in a private room. Even though my already broken heart shattered into more slivers as I kissed her nose and whispered into her soft ear, I was more worried about him. I left him so he could have some time alone with her. Walking out of the office, I turned to hug him in the parking lot. He was stiff and patted my back and I could tell he did not want to be touched. It felt like a rejection, but I know he was just trying to hold it together. When he dropped me off, I tried to get him to come in and talk and he refused, but I know that my ulterior motive was that I wanted to prevent him from drinking if he was planning to.
I couldn’t stop him from drinking when we lived together and I saw him every day. I certainly cannot control him now. I am just SO SAD all the time. It is like one thing after another. Just last week, my mother had a cat scan of her lungs and they found a nodule in each one. I can’t even think about it. It’s just too much. My therapist said that I am focusing on him so much so I don’t have to deal with how I feel and my own pain. It is just too overwhelming and I do not know how to even begin to process everything that happened. I am genuinely worried about him, too. I know I “shouldn’t” be and he “isn’t my problem anymore”, but how do I just stop? When he is sick or depressed, how do I not check on him? I feel angry and frustrated because after everything his body went through, he is not taking care of himself.
I am consumed by so much grief and so much loss.
“It takes a minute to have a crush on someone, an hour to like someone, and a day to love someone… but it takes a lifetime to forget someone.”
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, “Joy is greater thar sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.
Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.
– Khalil Gibran
Separation from him and time will give you space to heal your own wounds. Please give yourself these two things. I believe in you.
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He was such an inspirational writer. I appreciate your comment and I am trying really hard to do those two things. Thank you for your lovely response.
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