Sunday, March 18, 2012

Reading Between the Lines

It was a successful St. Patrick's Day as the day has ended and I was alive, I didn't get arrested or a get a DUI (not that I drove drunk, cause I didn't), I didn't drink so much that I puked or got sick and in general I didn't make an ass out of myself despite the quantity of liquor I consumed.  To me when St. Patrick's Day falls on a Saturday all those accomplishments are indications of a successful and fun day.

Today is now Sunday and to be honest I am not hungover or sick from drinking too much green beer or margaritas. My back and right leg are hurting like a son of a bitch.  I am trying to keep my neurosurgeon's words in mind.  His view is to look at things on a week to week basis and not on a day-to-day basis.  If I were looking at things on a day-to-day basis I would be very unhappy as the pain in my back and leg is about 10 times what it was yesterday.  My pain is what it is, so time to shut up about it and get on with the day.

What I have to write next is not easy and I really don't know how to write it.  It's something that I have struggled with for the last 4 years.  So I am just going to try and write it the best as I can and see how it comes out.

Ever since Patty got sick in 2006 I have been searching for a sense of normalcy.  Between March 8, 2006 and March 10, 2006 everything that had been the foundation of my life was changed.  Patty got sick with something (we didn't know what at that point) and the way we lived life changed literally overnight.  Everything that had been normal was literally swept away with one call from the doctor.  I remember so much of it so vividly.  The evening of March 9th I could sleep in bed with Patty and then the evening of March 10th once we knew her platelet count was so low - I never had the opportunity to sleep in the same bed with her again.  I took to sleeping on the couch as that way I wouldn't accidentally bump her in my sleep and cause her to have a massive bleeding problem.  I guess it was on that night my search for normalcy began.

For much of the time while Patty was in the hospital, I managed to hold onto normalcy by building a new sense of what was normal around her being in the hospital and achieving emotional sustenance from taking care of her.  But once she reached the point that she was incapable of communicating very well with me, I was grasping at straws.  I was alone in the midst of hell with no one to provide to me the emotional validation that I required.  I needed someone to provide me with some kind of comfort - some kind of reassurance that life would be OK and good again.  At that point I started to spin out of control.  From the outside I looked like I had it together as much as I ever had it together but I was going places emotionally and physically that I should have never even entertained.

The sad thing about all this is I wasn't even aware of what I was doing.  I was in survival mode.  I just needed to survive to the next day so that I could take care of Zack, Patty and Nancy.  At the same time I needed to maintain my job, take care of the house, see to our dogs and just keep shit together.  I had some support, but I didn't have the support that I really needed - which was the support of some one to say "how the hell is it going for you".  So yes - I kept going to my bad places with alcohol and a bad personal relationship.

After Patty's death I stayed in the same place.  I thought I had a plan.  I thought I was through the grief of Patty's death.  How wrong was I.  So slowly through life I meandered.  Everything from the outside looked great.  But on the inside it wasn't great and it was getting worse.  Then along came Shelly.  Ahhhh!!  She seemed to be everything for which I had hungered.  She seemed to bring back that sense of normalcy of the day-to-day life I had with Patty.  But within 3 months I found that normalcy with Shelly came at a price.  It was a very heavy price.  To have Shelly I had to surrender almost all control of everything to her.  The pace of our relationship, how we would live, how Zack would dress - she wanted to control pretty much everything.  It wasn't a good place to be.  But yet I continuously gave in to her.  Did I feel ready to get engaged - not really, but Shelly had a need to be engaged as her father was dying.  We had no common place in our relationship but Shelly was on a timeline and I gave in.

In the end I totally avoided all the red warning flags that I should have seen.  I gave everything in to her.  Why - because I wanted the dream of a family and a good life together again.  Jerry - you stupid, stupid, ass.  And then when she broke up with me in the spring of 2011, I had the opportunity to break free as the sweetest, most compassionate, most beautiful woman had been under my nose for months.  In the spring of 2011 I took the time to start growing a relationship with someone who really was good, who really understood that sense of normalcy of a family and been down the path in life that I had been down - her husband had died.  On top of all these assets she is strong as can be and has the determination and fortitude to be a marathon runner.

Then like an ass I responded to a text from Shelly.  The text wasn't sent out of concern for me, I believe it was sent to fulfill her own needs.  And then I was drawn back in again.  And what did I do - I walked away from this wonderful woman- B - with whom I was starting a relationship.  Dear god what was I thinking?  To go from the transcendental beauty of B's soul that was filled with compassion and understanding and go back to demands, a lack of compassion and little understanding of how to work in a long term relationship.  I was caught in a nightmare that was supposed to be a dream.  But my emotions craved for the "instantaneous" sense of family that I thought I would build with Shelly. My mind knew what I should do, but my emotions wanted to be sucked back in.  I was addicted I guess and couldn't that I was in a horrible position with Shelly.

In the short time from mid-August to late October, the dream once again turned into a nightmare, but I kept coming back. Despite all of the attributes that Shelly exhibited that were unpleasant, I still always saw goodness in her that made it almost impossible to leave.  It finally ended when things just got out of control and the venom aimed at me was just too much to bear.  It did not end well and we will never speak again.

But in the aftermath of going back to Shelly I left B alone.  I hurt her badly.  During one of the frequent times that Shelly stormed away from me B and I had a dinner together and talked.  She didn't paint any allusions for me.  She had moved on, she was dating someone else.  At the end of dinner, I walked her to her car and hugged her.  We held onto each other for a very long time.  I buried my face in her hair and drank in the wonderful smell that was her.  I locked it in my memory as B had been so very good to me and I never wanted to forget her.  And then she drove away.

Two more months passed after that final dinner with B and finally the relationship with Shelly came to an abrupt end.  I hung on to the dream of normalcy with her even after the fact - you all have read the story here.  I waited a month or so and then I dated another woman for a bit.  We had fun but we just were never made for each other - so we pleasantly parted company.

Along the way I got up the courage to send B an e-mail..  B was amazing because even after all that I did she didn't de-friend me on Facebook.  We stayed in as much contact as just being causal friends on Facebook allows you to be in contact.  B did respond to my message and eventually we exchanged text messages and then phone calls.  Finally we met again in person and it seemed that all the connection we had before was still there.  Except there was a giant wound in front us and 6 months of living different lives.  Those two things don't make for an easy reconciliation.  But at least I was single and so was she.

What we do have is a sense of commonality that I have never shared with anyone since Patty died and we both understand that feeling of normalcy that comes from having a partner in your life day-after-day.  B lost her spouse a number of years ago and has raised her kids totally on her own since then.  She has a remarkable sense of self-determination and integrity.  There isn't any romance between us at this point and there may never be romance again, but there is still a tremendous amount of romantic chemistry and feeling - so we will see where it goes.  But we talk, we hang out, we go out - somehow I am optimistic because what we feel for each is based upon an understanding of where we have been - not demands for the future that one person wants.  I can only hope that things with B will grow and develop as time goes on. Only time will tell.

This blog was a long time in the writing and a long time in me mentally challenging myself to figure it out.  I don't know where things will end up with my life but no matter what I want to get to a point where I am consistently happy and content with my life.  I am not quite there yet, but I have been on my own for many months and overall each day has it's ups and downs but the general trend seems to be going upward - I hope I can continue it.

Many of you might read this for the "soap" opera quality of my life.  The bottom line is I have made a lot of mistakes and screwed a lot of things up.  I will do things right.  I won't mess stuff up again because I can't continue to live like that.  I want my life to be free of drama, and I want to be happy and content.  On top of that I want to be able to deliver those same things to my partner.  I want her to be the happiness person in the world because I am a good partner to her.  And yes - I do hope that person who is my partner is B.  I've known her for 1 1/2 years and she continues to amaze me.  Stay tuned as I am sure I will write much more about this all of this in the future.

For all of you who don't live in the Denver area I suppose I should make a note of our weather.  For the last 5 days we have had beautiful weather with temperatures in the 60's and 70's.  Today things are changing and the wind has been howling all day.  As I sit here and type there are some horrific gusts hitting us.  Given the way the trees are moving and the loud howling, I am willing to bet that some of these wind gusts are between 40 and 50 miles per hour.  It's pretty darn amazing.  I hope all of you are experiencing good weather where every you are.

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Thanks for reading! ~J.

1 comment: said...

I read your latest entry but need to go through and read the whole thing but that one entry has me wanting to read more. Keep working toward the goal of being happy-for yourself first and then your family because if you are not happy, your family won't be.