The Death of an Old Friend

How should one react to the death of an old friend? Someone that you spent a lot of time around, laughing, joking and truly enjoying 20 years ago? Someone that may have asked you out once or twice, but timing and circumstances led you to decline? Someone whose face you are used to seeing around now and then but didn’t seek out anymore. Someone who you were still comfortable sitting down next to if you happened to be in the same establishment, sharing stories and laughing at jokes?

It hurt when I heard of his passing, and then I almost felt a little guilty because our friendship had passed into more of an acquaintance status and it seemed like I didn’t have the right to mourn his passing like those that were currently active in his life. Is there a correct way to grieve? Was it wrong of me to sit on my sofa and think of my friend, crying tears over the loss that I felt? Is it wrong that when I think of him now that I feel a little chunk of something missing from my heart. I probably only saw him once a month, yet I will still miss his face in the crowd.

I am not sure how I am supposed to feel. I think that each person grieves differently. I drew him a poster, when I was 18, a super-sized AC/DC Monsters of Rock poster off of a tiny little picture on the back of a movie cover. It wasn’t a perfect drawing. Still, on the day of his death, 23 years later, he had it hanging on his wall. The picture would mean nothing to anyone else, held no monetary value to anyone, but it meant something to him and it meant something to me. Maybe it was a connection? I don’t know. A friend that was helping settle the estate saved the poster for me and I now have it in my home. I am uncertain what I should do with it. Do I hang it up? I think I will, somewhere private, somewhere that visitors won’t see it but where every now and then I will be reminded of him.

I miss him.

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A Girl Out of Time

How does one know when it is time to say goodbye? Is it when you sit on the bottom step and cry because of some small thing that you have heard, seen or felt? Is it when your finger hovers over the delete button on one the contacts on your phone, knowing full well that it doesn’t matter because you have the number memorized? Is it when words speak louder than actions and you are left questioning your worth? Is it when your heart aches because of words unsaid? Is it when the table is tipped in your direction and you are feeling strong? Is it when a single text, phone call or email can either make or break your entire day? Should one allow that sort of power in their life?

The answer is that I don’t know. Certainly one person should never have that much control over you, even if the power they hold is not meant to hurt. How then, does one allow themselves to trust? How does one allow the person that they love into their life in a way that gives them your full trust, yet protects you from the havoc that they can create in your life if they destroy that trust? Certainly you can’t have it both ways. How do you look back at the things you have experienced and see so clearly what you could not find in the moment? Love IS blind, but how blind does it have to be?

I wish I had the answers to these questions, but no two situations are the same. Sometimes the shattered heart just can’t see beyond the present long enough to review the past and doubt the future. Sometimes destroyed trust can never be regained, but how do you know when you have reached that point? Why does life have to be so complicated and why does love have to be the most complicated of all?

Sometimes I think I have been born out of my time. Sometimes I feel that I am caught in a world full of technology when I long for the simplicity that came with working the land to put food on the table, hunting to sustain my family and where phones, computers and other devices were not yet plaguing the essence of my home and family.  There were times when you fell in love with someone that lived nearby and built a home and family with them, where temptation was far out of reach simply because the lack of such technology allowed people to pass in and out of your life without clouding the heart and mind.

Winter Has Come – Inside and Out.

He came to me last night, late. He came and rested next to me on my bed, pulling me close to him… he held me, so tight… He kissed me so tenderly, loved me in a manner that showed me what was in his heart. His actions spoke so very strongly. As always, he was gentle, considerate, his hands so gentle, fingertips skimming over my skin, making my body crave him.  He saw to my needs first, loving me in the way that makes me feel so beautiful, loved, cherished… and so very alive. No surprise there, his every touch has always stirred the fires within me, made my body hum in something that can only be described as a purr. Something that I have only felt this strongly with him. I attach my emotions to my physical actions, which to me, is why it is called “making love.” It isn’t all about desire or lust, it is about the depth of my emotions for him.

His back was hurting, so I spent hours massaging oils into his lower back, running my hands gently over the screws that I could feel beneath his skin at the site of his spinal fusion.  I massaged the pain away as he slept beside me, snoring softly. During the night he would rouse a little, place soft kisses on the top of my head, my lips. Just I have no doubt that he didn’t realize what he was doing, I have no doubt that he knew it was me that was in bed with him. He would open his eyes, a smile fleeting across his lips and pull me close to him. I didn’t go to sleep for a long time.  Instead I spent my time memorizing his face, his scent, the lines of his lips, lips that had travelled over my body only hours before.  Morning found us wrapped up in each other’s arms, with me feeling so safe, secure, and yes, loved.

He held me tight before he left, kissed my lips, whispered that he loved me. I hung on as tightly as I could, loved that his arms held me just as tightly against him in an unyielding grip. I promised myself that I wouldn’t cry, but the tears came. I fought them. I didn’t want him to feel bad for coming to say goodbye this time. I know he can’t stand to see me cry, which is why I believe he couldn’t face me to say goodbye before. We encircled his son into our embrace and stood, frozen in time. Only, time didn’t really freeze for us. The clock moved forward, and so it had to end. When he released me a sob caught in my throat and the tears started to stream faster down my cheeks. I brushed them away and hung my head. He pulled me close again and held me for a moment longer. He promised to come again, if he could, before he leaves later this week. Time pushed him and his son out the door, ripping at my heart as I listened to his car drive away.

Awhile later I walked back up into my bedroom and I stood there and stared at my empty bed.  I picked up the pillow and held it close to me, taking in his scent.  It is a warm, pleasant, masculine scent that instantly gives me a feeling of comfort, peace and safety. I dropped the pillow to the bed, and thought about going back to bed, but did not.  My bed is a cold and empty place right now. I have no desire to be there, so I sit here, at my keyboard and am not bothering to brush the tears from my face. There is nobody here to see them, to catch them as they fall. I write to work through my feelings, I write to push them out so that I can follow myself on this journey called life. I write because the written word brings a realization that thoughts cannot. When you see your very soul poured out into words things become more final. They make more sense. It gives me an outlet, a way to keep the emotions from overwhelming me to the point that leaves me curled up into a useless ball in the center of my bed, sobbing uncontrollably.

This time, he did it right. This time, he did not leave me with a lie upon his lips. This time he took a little more care with my heart. It makes a huge difference to me, because it has given me a small amount of peace. Peace that I haven’t felt for a very long time. It didn’t leave me with that awful feeling that something was terribly wrong with me and that I didn’t deserve the truth, it didn’t leave me feeling like the people in his life all mattered save for me.  This time he didn’t shut me out, ignore my needs, running from what he was doing to me.  But with it comes knowledge, knowledge that this is probably the end of the chapters in my life that were meant to have him in it. I will talk to him, text with him, but he won’t be able to come to me, won’t be able to pull me close at night when dreams plague my sleep, won’t be there to laugh and smile at me when I say something stupid, with an affection that makes sure I know he loves every moment of it.  I don’t live in some deluded world where I think he will ever find his way back to me, even if his words did tell me that it was a possibility in the future. Yes, I have this very dim hope of “what if” but that is all it is, a dim hope with nothing to support it other than the memory of his hands on my body, his lips on mine.

I can’t respect the fact that he left us, but I do understand his reason for running.  Life here has never been easy for him. I know he found happiness with us, but his past kept coming for him and he ran instead of trusting that, this time, the person that he was with would have walked to hell and back with him to fight his pain. I wish he would have had enough faith in me, enough courage to work it through it all, and the belief that I would have stood beside him to work through his internal demons, to fight the people that would try to destroy him no matter what. If he only knew, if he had only been able to believe that my words were not a lie. How could he when all he has ever heard from those that were supposed to love him was based on lies?

Just as I have my odd little quirks, little things that flare up memories of the past, so does he. I know he was abused as a child.  His mother tried to protect him, but he lived with a stepfather that sought out reasons to punish him. Eventually they escaped, but in the end it left him deeply scarred. His ex wife spent years telling him he was useless, nothing, worthless. For those words alone, I loathe her. I don’t even really know her, but I was witness to many of her verbally abusive attacks, many of them right in front of their son. He would take it, for the most part, shielding his son from the things that I know he would have liked to have said. To me, that made him more of a man than shouting back at her would have ever made him. I know how it makes you feel. I know how it is to be beat down to the point where you believe you are all of those awful things. Perhaps that is why he runs. I hope and pray that he finds inner peace.

He hasn’t written off our future together. Even if he hadn’t said the words, his actions showed me that he still holds me within his heart. But again, time pushes us forward and it won’t wait for his heart to heal. I think he is finally beginning to realize that my faith and belief in him has never faltered. He has hurt me, immensely. I have witnessed his dark side, how cold his words can be, how internally angry he is for things that were beyond his control. But through all of that, he has never once raised his voice to me in anger, touched me in any manner other than with consideration and love.  There is no evil within his heart, he is not the man that others would have him believe he is.

When he hurts, when he has made a mistake, or when he has hurt someone else he shuts down. He withdraws from us all. Perhaps that is his way of coping. If he doesn’t deal with something it will eventually dim into something lost, another skeleton in the closet. But at the same time, it is another reason for him to believe bad things about himself because he hasn’t worked through it. He has just buried it deeper into his psyche.

All of this is the very reason that I have told him that I do believe in him. This is one of the reasons that I have forgiven him when he has hurt me so terribly. You see, even though we may never be together, I will always believe in the man that I knew.  Just because he has made many mistakes with me doesn’t mean that I have to turn my back on a man  who fights many of the same inner battles that I deal with on a daily basis. He needs to know that he isn’t a bad person, isn’t evil. I can’t save him, I probably can’t even help him work through it. But what I can do, is to forgive him. No, he is not mine to love anymore but I am not ready to shut the door on another lost soul. I can offer him my forgiveness, my understanding, my friendship and the belief that I have in him. Maybe it will help him find peace in his future if he knows that somewhere out there in this cold world there is someone that doesn’t think he is any of the things that he has been told he is.

Plumb – Need you now.

This song has helped me more than once. I don’t preach religion, and I usually stray pretty far from religious music (except at church) but this song touches me because I think that there are times in every life where the need for help or to hold some sort of faith is recognized….. there are some days when I want to just scream out for help to that unseen force, sometimes those prayers are answered.

My tears, how much are they worth?

I don’t know why I am hurting today. Physically, yes, that I understand. I have chronic migraines, and on top of it have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which I thought was a huge joke until the days that I started to hurt everywhere, hardly able to walk, unable to move quickly. It is very real. Part of me wonders if it isn’t a side effect of one of the many medications that they have injected through my system. We are working on pain therapy. I will make it through. So, yes, today I have physical pain, but no different than I did yesterday or will have tomorrow. When people ask me how I am, I just smile and say, “I am good.” Some of them buy it, some of them accept it because they weren’t really wanting my life story and were just being polite, some of them see right through it but do not dig deeper because they know that there is nothing that can be said at this moment that will help. I must let the doctor play Frankenstein with my body and hope that he finds a solution. I have faith in him. The waiting is hard.

Today, I hurt inside. A heavy weight is resting on my chest. I feel a sense of impending doom, dread, sadness and I do not know why. Today is my father’s birthday. Tonight I will load the kids up and we will go to their home to celebrate over dinner. Our family always honors each other on their special days. It is a tradition, just like when I called my father this morning and the kids and I sang “Happy Birthday” to his voicemail. I know he smiled when he listened to our out of tune song, and probably thought that it was a good thing that none of us wanted to chase a singing career. Tonight will be fun. This is not why I hurt.

I think, maybe, I sit here hurting because I have been writing. I have been reliving. I have been dwelling on my past, on my pain.  I know it is a healing process. I know I need to get it out there, even if I am on a blog talking to people that I don’t really know, people that share my passion for writing and understand my pain better than a friend sitting beside me ever could.

I am lonely. I have my children, but I am not lonely as a mother. I am lonely as a woman. There is no comfort. There are no arms wrapping around me to help soothe my tears, or to pull me close when I wake up screaming from a nightmare. There is no voice on the other end of the phone when I need to call the one person that would listen even if they didn’t completely understand. There is no one to listen when life becomes difficult, when I am struggling, when I am exhausted between work, college, kids, home and life, there is nobody to step in and give me a break. There is nobody to fall back on. Do I need a man to survive? Of course not. I am not an extension of another, and I can go on forever alone. I just don’t want to. Every once in awhile I wish I could toss my independence into the wind and have someone step in and say, “Go relax. I got this.”

I had that once. I had all of that. I truly at one time believed that fate had smiled upon me, that I had found my prince, my fairy tale had come true. I thought that life had beat me down so badly but now was offering me my dream of the relationship I had always wanted, that I had paid my dues and was now receiving my reward. Life doesn’t work that way. It is not built on reward systems. You work hard and get what you worked for. Bad things happen to good people every day. There are no reasons.

I met him by chance. We talked for hours, he kissed me. We shared dreams, passions, goals… I loved, for the first time I actually loved a man, two years after I had run from a life of pain and torment. I fell hard, the relationship was a whirlwind of emotions, coming and going.  I actually craved his touch, his smell, the way his arms around me made me feel safer than anything I have ever felt. The dreams went away when he was with me, the hurt wasn’t so bad. His past came back to haunt him, and eventually it tore him away from me. He made his choice. I know this. He could have stayed, no matter how impossible things had become. But he didn’t. I am aware he made this choice, I know that “we” will never be. I forgive him, even now. His life hasn’t been easy either, abused badly as a child, abused again in a very angry marriage. I saw the scars in his past, I felt his pain… he couldn’t settle, he still hasn’t. He thinks he is the most awful person in the world, that can only bring pain and he travels in a hopeless circle. It was all he has ever been told, until me. I tried to save him, to let him see the joy he brought me. I could not. He needs to find his own way, make his own path. Our paths are not meant to intertwine.

There have been others, brief encounters. Even now, there is someone that I can turn to if arms are all that I seek. He would like more from me, yet when college occupied too much of my time he walked away. I do not trust him to stay when things get rough.  He is nice. He is honest. He is a hard worker. I do care for him. But my heart doesn’t flutter, my body doesn’t reach for him without me bidding it to do so, I don’t seek his touch, his words, his kiss.  He would be good to me, but would he ever really understand me? Why must my subconscious reject him? Why can’t it just see that this is possibly my future, that content may be all I ever find, maybe I am not meant to love, or to be loved. Why can’t I feel strongly for this honest soul? Why must it long for the nonexistent man that could make my heart spin and flip and throw itself at his feet, at his complete mercy? Why do I have to be such a damn foolish romantic?

Today I sit at my desk, in a darkened room. I wonder why I must cry alone. I wonder why, why did fate decided to twist and turn my life into a series of one painful moment followed by another? I wonder if I have committed some unforgivable crime that I am paying penance for. Then I become angry because I feel guilt, and I have nothing to feel guilty for.  There is nothing. I am kind, loving, compassionate and honest. I haven’t done anything to hurt a single soul in this world in all of my 38 years, not even when they have wronged me. I wonder why my heart has to ache EVERY SINGLE DAY. I wonder what mistakes I have been making that have brought me down this path. Dwelling on it will not help. Feeling sorry for myself will not help.

I wouldn’t change my journey, I wouldn’t make different choices, because I wouldn’t have my children, my sunshine, my hope. But why must I hurt? Why must I be viewed as a target? Not someone that you want to keep in your life, rather someone to hurt, abuse, and crush into tiny little bits only slightly resembling a woman that would have given you the entire world, her entire soul and her entire being just to be treated with kindness and love. But it doesn’t matter what I give. I give more than I have and all that I am and yet I am alone, crying my tears alone. How much are my tears worth? Are they worth a hug? A phone call? A kiss? A cuddle? Or are they worth nothing because nobody can see them?  Their only worth is the value I place in them. I must choose to dry my eyes and go about my day. Feeling sorry for myself and dwelling on a broken past will not help and it will not change anything. All I can do is look forward. All relationships take work, dedication, and honesty. They must be maintained, by both sides. I know this. I am not so foolish as to blindly believe that love always holds a “happily ever after” on the last page.

I will probably always crave affection. Real, genuine affection. I love with all of me, and somewhere, out there… there has to be someone that can see into my soul and breathe their own into me… isn’t there?

My greatest gift is really a curse…

Recently my mother told me, as I sat across from her at her desk crying my eyes out, “Honey, you are too trusting, too kind. What should be a wonderful personality trait, a wonderful gift, is also your biggest fault.”

She is right. I lack the capacity to understand why people are not who they say they are. I am a reasonably intelligent woman, but the effort that some people make to build a false front seems wasted to me. Eventually their real personality peeks it’s ugly (rarely beautiful) face out over their shoulder and shouts out to the entire world that the person before you is nothing but a lie.  Why not save the energy and be who you really are, without the false pretense designed to take from some innocent soul? Yes, the world is cruel and some hide themselves for safety, but many others do it to gain something. To take.

I want to believe you are who you say you are, and yes, I am shocked when I learn that you are not.  Sometimes I can just go with it, because calling you on it isn’t worth my time or effort. No big deal, I didn’t know you that well anyway, and now I won’t make the effort to get to know you at all because you started our friendship with a lie. You can’t always judge a book by it’s cover, but you can judge a person’s honesty with the lie that was in their very first “hello.” 

Once I believe in someone, once I give them the full gift of my trust then it stays and lingers.  Even when they have proven to me time and again that they are underserving, deep inside I can’t convince myself that they are not who they pretended to be.  I can’t seem to cross that bridge. I remain in constant turmoil, wanting to believe in the person that I thought they were but knowing deep down that no matter how devoted I am… that person does not really exist and my devotion means nothing to them. It is a belief that they have created in me to gain something of mine, whether it be my body, my heart or maybe my very soul.

Almost every romantic relationship comes with its baggage.  Everyone has a past.  Just because someone has made mistakes doesn’t mean that they are a bad person. We are all human. We all screw up.  We all get mad.  We all lose our temper, eventually.  We don’t all do it in the same manner. In the end, the world is full of people that have been kicked around, lied to, spit on, cheated on, and abused and somehow we have to see past those things and be brave enough to start a new future with someone… but each new start comes with one more sad heart, one more broken promise, one more little lie that shattered the person that we are. The new slate that comes with new found love is sometimes cracked and broken, and it takes time and patience to keep the chalk writing smoothly across its surface.

My greatest gift, unconditional love and trust.  My biggest curse, unconditional love and trust.  I give all that I have, everything that I am, I love them for who they are, not who I want them to be.  Only, when I find out that “who they are” doesn’t exist, that it was a false front, my emotions go on tilt. I can’t stop loving. I can’t just turn it off.  It will stay there, pressing into my chest like a heavy brick, dwelling in my mind for days, months, even years. I feel actual physical pain. My emotions are too raw, too close to the surface, I feel too much. I am a romantic fool.

So when he shows up on my doorstep and gives me that smile, when he pulls me up against him, my heart does a triple flip and a perfect landing right into his hands.  I instantly belong to him again, as if he had never left… I never really stopped belonging to him…  My heart overrides my brain and somehow manages to shove the memory of the pain he has caused me back into a dark little closet. It doesn’t disappear completely, it peeks around the corner to whisper in my ear that soon he will be gone, and leave me alone in my bed, crying, hurting, and suffering….

My greatest gift truly is a curse.  Once you have given someone everything that it is you, there is nothing left for you to hang on to anymore.  You become property, to be used and then discarded. A true love would not own you, instead they would cherish all that you are and leave every precious part of you safe by giving and sharing instead of just taking.

I need to gather the pieces of all that is me, everything he has shattered and find a way to put them together again.  Like that broken slate, they will never be the same, but eventually, maybe they will become something that resembles a real person again.

This gift will destroy me….