It’s easy to talk about bad years if they are past.
But when you have to say who you are right at this very moment,
it’s hard to get more out than an uneasy silence.
Herta Muller from the Appointment
I know my last post came out a little on the dark side. There are points in life that seem black, but when you take a little time and sort things out the black becomes a little grey and then little pin holes of light come through. With some helpful conversations with some good friends and a few wise comments from some compassionate bloggers, I now see the shadowed edges of the tunnel forming. I just needed to some more perspective and little more light to see my way forward.
Last week I got some very bad news. My wife of 27 years told me that she no longer wanted to be married to me, and since then we have been trying to figure out what that means for our lives. After many gut wrenching and demoralizing discussions involving the ways in which she felt I had not listened to her or supported her. I had a slightly different take on these, but I could see her point of view (I can be very dense especially when I am under stress). From my point of view, I was making sacrifices to keep our family afloat and help her with her goals. My wife is a very take charge, proactive, organizer by nature, whereas I am a free flow, day-dreaming, stress avoiding type. Therefore, I always let her manage our finances and long term logistics, because I knew if I did it A) I would probably screw up left and right and B) she would be telling me how to do it right. She is an amazing and wonderful person and mostly responsible for our children making it to adulthood in pretty good shape. I have to say I have been a pretty good father too, but I am, as I said before, challenged in proactive department especially when things get busy or complicated. She was almost always half way to solving whatever problem at the same time I became aware that there was a problem to solve. I am in the end a overly sensitive and mostly inept man, who loves her a lot. I can see how she might want to see what her life could be without dragging me along. It just hurts like hell to see it that way.
We still love each other, but in her words “Things have to change”. She wants to live separately for a while, and I am slowly coming to terms with this. I can definitely see the validity of most of her point of view. My problems come from the lack of conversation, maybe I just wasn’t listening until she stated the situation in clear terms ( like I said before, dense) but, as I pointed out to her, we might have at least tried some counseling. Instead she enlisted a therapist in order to clarify things for herself. Obviously she is more clear on what she wants, but I think that after 27 years, there might be some point in figuring a way forward that involves both of us. I am beginning to feel a little optimistic that this will happen, though our relationship will have to go through some deep redefining rehab along the way. This terrifies and intrigues me. I have no idea what we will come up with in the end.
The situation I was reacting to seemed worse than the situation that actually existed, but that does not negate the question. I had to write about it to ease the stress and pain a little, and to get a realistic idea of how to proceed from that dark place. The Question I posed in the last post was kind of, but not completely, personal.The part about the pain was real enough, but it was also more generally about how amazing it is that people are able to face dark situations that threaten to envelop their whole existence in misery. When faced with overwhelming loss even though mostly I am frozen in the dark, my brain and body keep moving on autopilot while the emotional me figures out how to cope. When all of the atoms of my universe feel as if they are blown into violent flux, surprisingly, I continue as a cohesive organism. I may yet dissolve, but I most likely I will stabilize into some new pattern and move on into a less painful chaos.
When you are alive you must experience change. There is nothing you can completely count on except around the next corner there is something obvious you are not seeing, and it is holding a big cream pie. Or somebody will let go of the rope and a piano will come crashing down. You will probably live through it whether you want to or not. Maybe in a little while you might be able laugh. I am looking forward to that time.