Loving and letting go

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Throughout this past month, I kept updating my opinion on what was the “hardest part”.  First it was when you were in the coma, then it was when I found those text messages, then it was all the medical complications, then it was the week you woke up and struggled with sedation, then it was the day I had to tell you I knew the truth and our relationship was over, then it was the days afterward when I did not hear from you or see you.  But now that it is “over”, I know without a doubt the past 24 hours were the hardest part.

I knew when you were discharged from the hospital you would be coming to the house, both to see the dog and to get your belongings I packed for you.  I was so anxious…I had no idea what was going to happen.  You could have literally picked everything up and left in ten minutes.  The minute you walked in the door, all my anxiety melted away.  You looked so feeble and weak, moving so slowly.  You hugged me and my face pressed against your neck, just like it did the other day, except this time it was your skin and not your central line I felt.  All I wanted was to be with you and take care of you.  I know those feelings were supposed to be “wrong”, but throughout this whole nightmare, I have followed my heart with no regrets.  I knew you needed me more than I needed to be angry with you.  I can say it is the first time in my life that I know I had to be and was completely selfless.  Nothing mattered more than you surviving and getting better.

You staying overnight just felt natural.  I thought it would be awkward, but it wasn’t.  Even though it was maybe not the smartest move in the world for us, it just felt right.  I think we held each other more in 24 hours than we did in the entire previous year.  We have both always wanted our space in bed when sleeping, but I don’t think there was a time the entire night that we didn’t touch each other.  It was not sexual at all, it was just so comforting.  I woke up before you and just stared at your face.  I wanted to memorize every single thing, to burn the image into my brain.  I have always loved your nose and the shape of your lips.  My favorite part of your face is under you eyes by the bridge of your nose.

My heart sank when your parents arrived an hour early- I felt robbed of 60 more minutes of being with you, of us being together.  That last hour was so rushed.  I made sure to take some time to take the dog into the other room alone so I could say goodbye to her.  Every time I walk into the house now, it feels so weird to not have her there by the door.  I kept thinking today I needed to run home to let her out and then would remember with a sinking heart that she was no longer there.  I don’t know how I managed to say goodbye to you without collapsing.  I had to lie on the bed after I came back inside the house.  Your car was still in front of the house.  My tears were silent so I could hear the exact moment you drove away.  It reminded me of when we were dating long distance and you would leave at the end of the weekend and I would feel my heart sink knowing I would not see you for a full week.  This was that times one million.

I am aware of the fact that I am mourning our relationship and focusing only on the things I will miss.  I will miss you so much.  I start to feel normal, forget for one split second, and then it is like a wave washes over me and I remember you are gone.  Really, really gone.  I realize right now that I am only thinking about the good parts of our relationship and the fact that you are a truly a good person with a very bad problem. I know that I am going to have to go through all the different emotions at some point.  I deserve to feel the anger about your betrayal.  There’s a part of me that is relieved that my life will not be affected every day by your drinking.  I wish I had a crystal ball to see into the future- to see if you are going to be sober, to find out if you will be a part of my life again.  However, I know with complete certainty that I love you, and yet I also know with equal confidence that I had to let you go.  For you and for me.

I haven’t even begun to process the trauma, the hurt, the heartbreak, the loss from this past month.  I tried to stay busy all day so I didn’t think about how every minute, you were another mile farther away.  We talked on the phone and at the end of the conversation you said “I love you” and I said “I love you, too”.  It did not feel like simply habit, although we always said that when we hung up the phone.  I know the love we have for each other is genuine and I am not going to deny my feelings for you because of the negative things that have happened.  I just know that love is not enough and some things are just not meant to be.  I am letting you go because this is a journey you have to take yourself and I need to carve a new path for myself, too.  I spend too much time wishing that none of this ever happened and torturing myself about what I could have done differently.  But deep down, I knew that my love would never be enough and that you have to learn to love yourself first.  And I have to start putting myself first and that begins with letting you go.

Check-in time

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I stayed in a hotel by myself last night.  I felt like such a big girl 😉  This doesn’t feel like a monumental accomplishment, however my anxiety has been pretty bad lately.  In fact, staying at the hotel was a way to ease my travel anxiety.  I attended a two day training about an hour and a half away from my house and I knew there would be traffic on the drive home. I decided to stay overnight in the area to help alleviate the concern of getting stuck in traffic.  I actually was not nervous about staying alone overnight, but I wanted to take a drive to a neighboring, popular town I have never visited.  By the end of the first day of training, which included leaving my house at 6 am, navigating to the location I was unfamiliar with, sitting through the lecture-style format training which was SO boring, finding the hotel and checking in, I was emotionally exhausted.  I admit I took Xanax throughout the day, which I normally try to avoid, but it did help a little.  I was disappointed but decided to nix the drive to the other town and went to a restaurant as close to the hotel as possible.  It is funny- I do not really have as much anxiety about doing things alone. My friend who also suffers from anxiety said she would never be able to stay alone in a hotel overnight and my boyfriend feels really uncomfortable eating in a restaurant by himself.  Those things don’t bother me that much.  After I ate, it was still pretty early and it was post-rush hour traffic and I spontaneously decided to take the drive to the town I wanted to visit and I did! I felt those tingles of anxiety as I drove, but I really tried to fight through it and I did!

It is so easy to look back on this little two day excursion and focus on the negatives and failures.  I felt anxious pretty much the whole time I was in the car.  As soon as I arrived at the training, I wanted to turn around and immediately go home.  I felt disappointed with myself for deciding not to visit the other town. When I did go to the other town, it was raining a bit and so I never parked and explored.  I took more Xanax than I normally would.  “I want to go home” flitted through my brain about 200 times throughout the first day of training.  It is hard not to focus so much on the weaknesses I have and the things I feel like I can’t do.

But I am going to try to focus on the things I did do- the successes.  They may seem minor to other people.  I am sure most people would not congratulate themselves for driving an extra 20 minutes out of their way or staying at a hotel by themselves.  I am not patting myself on the back, but I do feel like I am often way too hard on myself and I need to be a better friend to myself instead of falling into the habit of being my own worst enemy.  I didn’t fly across the country, but I did break out of my comfort zone, so I am going to chalk that up as a win.

Long distance no longer!

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My boyfriend is moving in on Tuesday. In other words: I am going to be living with a man next week!!! It is a little bittersweet for me and I am feeling a lot of different emotions about it. Let me start with the good:

1. I have been living alone for over 5 years now. Even though I am (only?!) 35, I have become a little set in my ways. I think learning to compromise by living with someone again is a good thing for me.

2. Even though I am very independent and probably handier than most of my guy friends, there is something comforting about having a man around. My boyfriend is very helpful and will happily help me shovel or mow the lawn. As much as I am proud of myself for being a single homeowner all these years, I will happily hand over the shovel!! Also, there are still nights where I wake up because I hear a sound or get scared that someone is breaking in. Even though I have an alarm and I know I am safe, there is something very reassuring about having a strong guy around to protect me 🙂

3. My bf and I have been in a long distance relationship for several years and I always feel like I am missing out on things when I am by him for the weekend (we are 2 hours apart and alternate weekends)- I also miss my house and my cats when I am away. My sister has been wonderful and takes care of things while I am gone, but I’m glad to relieve her of that duty 🙂 It is nice to think that he and I will be able to spend more time together with friends and family.

4. I love my boyfriend and he is a really great guy. He is willingly leaving his job and life where he lives just to come and be with me and I appreciate that sacrifice. We have been through a lot together and I am very grateful to have him. For the past couple of years, we have gotten more serious in our relationship, yet our future together has seemed a little in limbo because of being separated most of the time.

Okay, so the “not so good”:

1. I really like living alone. I have not always liked my living situation or felt comfortable where I was living. I lived with my alcoholic father all throughout my teen years, then lived in a college dorm for four years, then lived with my best friend for several years (which was great, but sometimes it affected our friendship) and then with my husband while I was married (which eventually turned into a horrible living situation). These years on my own have been wonderful. At times I get lonely, but my house is calm and quiet.

2. I am worried about my boyfriend’s drinking. His behavior does not change much when he drinks, but what bothers me more is actually seeing him drink a lot. Because we are apart during the week, I don’t exactly know how much he drinks during the week. As you read above, my dad is an alcoholic, so I am completely aware of the signs. It is something my boyfriend and I talk about a lot and are very honest with each other about. I am giving him the benefit of the doubt, but I also don’t want to ignore red flags.

3. I own my house and it has been a source of pride for me, financially and emotionally. I am a little territorial and I want to make sure he feels like this is his home, too. But I worry about what will happen down the road, when he gets tired of just giving me money every month to live here, but isn’t on the mortgage. I am really attached to my house and after going through my divorce, I want to protect myself if things do not work out with my boyfriend down the road.

Lots going on in my head, but overall I am just really excited for us to be together!! I think he understands a lot of my fears and I am sure he is coming here with his own set of concerns. I know it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it on Sunday nights when instead of packing up his stuff in his truck to go back to his apartment 120 miles away, he is still here!