Tuesday, December 9, 2008

lost time

The sound of the helicopter landing outside was growing louder as all of us in the room scurried around. The man on the bed had woken up this morning the same way he always did, with no clue that the day would take the turn it did. In two minutes, we would load him into the chopper for the fifteen minute ride that would, hopefully, save his life. His wife stood watching, her fist pressed against her mouth. I gave her a map and directions to the hospital he was headed to, and suggested that she might want to get a jump start on him and leave, since it would take her considerably longer on the ground than it would take him in the air.

She leaned in toward him and said, "Don't leave me. Please. We have three boys. We aren't done yet, you and I."

My eyes filled with tears and I had to turn my head quickly to the back wall. It wasn't an unexpected reaction on my part. This job makes me tear up more than I like to admit. What was unexpected was my next response.

I was furious. In the unlikeliest of settings, I had accidentally stumbled onto what it is that is making me so "blue" at the moment.

I am really, really angry at the FX, and don't have any problems saying so. The reasons I'm angry at him are not, I'm sure, the reasons he would expect me to give, but I think we've proved repeatedly this year that he doesn't know me nearly as well as he always thought he did. How telling it is that he never thought I was worth the effort of figuring out. Just as telling is that I never trusted him enough to show him the real me. Should I be surprised that my reasons to be mad would be perceived differently?

Here's why I'm NOT angry:

I'm not angry that I'm not married to him anymore. I am - honest to god - more at peace with the world now than I've been in my entire adult life. It's like I'm me again. He's been out of the house for six months, and in that period of time I haven't missed him one single time. He's fine in small doses, but then he starts doing the things that always drove me crazy, and I'm thrilled that I don't HAVE to deal with them anymore. That's not anger. It's relief.

I'm not angry about his job success. Lately, he has had some accolades for a couple of the projects he's done recently. I have mixed feelings about this. The first thing that popped into my mind was "Oh, yeah. That film you're thinking is such a big deal? Wasn't that the same one I had to listen to you scream and yell about, about how much you hated doing it and that you were ready to quit? Who was it who held your hand and calmed you down enough to think rationally about what you were doing? Who was it who talked you into staying on this project? Huh?" But then my calmer side comes into play, and what I end up thinking is this. I'm happy for his success. Truly. I think that for a person who measures his worth as a human being based on how other people perceive him and his success, this is a very necessary thing. Imagine what it would be like if he threw everything else away and then didn't even have a career to fall back on.

I'm not angry that he continues to want to talk to me. He wants to chat, he wants to gossip, he wants to shoot the breeze. Why? Do you not have any other friends to play with? Why in the world would you ask my opinion about anything that doesn't involve the children? Why do you care what I think - now - when you never did before? What's the purpose? This one baffles me. I just don't get it. But it doesn't make me angry. It just makes me scratch my head.

And here's why I AM angry.

The kids.

The kids.

And the house.

There was a comment made here a couple of weeks ago that I've carried with me since. I think it was Frances who said it, and what she basically said was that the kids had a right to be angry, because their father had deliberately chosen his happiness over theirs. Short and sweet. Devastating. And so true. I watch them all, watch the way they deal with their hurt and their anger, and I wonder. Does he see it? Does he see all the ways they compensate with him to hide what they're really feeling? Surely he does with Sasquatch, because he has the subtlety of an onion sandwich. But the other two? Does he just think that because he's okay they're okay? Or worse yet, is he so caught up in his own world that these things never even occur to him?

The house speaks for itself, too. Tonight, my saviour Kevin came over and fixed my sink and my downstairs toilet. On a work night and with one day's notice. Toting a kid along with him while the rest of the family did some holiday stuff. And wanted to charge me a whopping $15, which was exactly what he paid for supplies. (Even called me a dumbass when I argued). When I thanked him profusely, he stopped me in my tracks. "Listen," he said, "we both know this is not how this was supposed to be. You would never have bought this house if you thought you'd be trying to do this all on your own." Short and sweet. Devastating. So true. And so anger inducing.

The woman today was speaking out of love for her husband, and how much their kids needed him.

For some reason it reminded me of one of our earlier blow-ups back when we were "trying to fix the marriage". I have to put my needs first, the FX told me. Well, I replied, I have to put the kids needs first. To myself I said, Wow. Someone's needs aren't being taken into account here.

I think I'm making up for lost time.


Maggie May said...

I felt sorry for that woman, RC and hope her husband "made it".

I am sorry that you had to go through your own grief while you were dealing with that woman and her husband, but I am pleased that it has brought out what it is that is really upsetting you. Now you can deal with it.
Sounds like your ex didn't know how your mind worked at all, and I don't think many men really do understand a woman, but it is always the children who seem to come off worst in a break up.
Six months isn't a very long time and you will all be having to adjust to a new life, your boys too.

Thank Goodness for great people like your plumber friend. He sounds a champion.

Hoping that things will improve in this difficult situation and sending out positive vibes to you. xoxoxox

ciara said...

ahhh the aggression. i know it all too well. it brings you to both a sad place, but then to a place of anger. i would think of how i missed the signs tho they were there, and then it would bring me to 'how could he do this to them (the kids)?' then he would play the emotional mind games on me and them. once i figured out why i still wanted the marriage, i was able to get over it. but you know, there are still days where it rears it's ugly head. some ppl think that if you remarry that those feelings should NEVER come up, but they do. i won't lie about it. right now he is being i-don't-even-know-what to all his older kids (his son from 1st ex & our two). he has always concentrated on one kid over the others even when i was with him. now he has the 1 yr old, and i think the older kids are tired of being 2nd fiddle. well, except my youngest cos she loves babies and she's so easy going. oldest daughter sees thru the b.s., and has known what is going on since she was 5(very intuitive) he doesn't call often & they don't call him either now. sad.

i'm glad you have good friends who can help you out. i had no one. friendless. still friendless lol

***big hugs***

p.s. that is sweet & sad @ the same time of what she said to her husband. i am truly hoping he makes it.

The Finely Tuned Woman said...

I think Maggie said a lot of the things I wanted to say.

I am kind of glad that you are angry, because it is such a normal and healthy emotion and so appropriate here. You are the one left with all the responsibility and he did walk out on everything. You have to be twice the person you were before and he? Well, it doesn't look like he is being anything special in the lives of the boys. He only has to be half the person he was before.

My ex comes by and shares his thoughts and feelings with me too. I don't advice him, I just listen. It is his life now and whatever he does, he has to bear the consequences. Luckily, we have no kids together. That sure simplifies things a lot. At least I don't have to be angry about that.

Good luck, girl. Go ahead and feel those emotions. Just don't let them make you feel crazy. There is nothing wrong with you.

-Ann said...

To name it is to own it, so good on you.

Frances said...

Yay, you.
Good strong protective mother

I understand what you are saying. I think this will chime with so many mothers who cannot understand how a father finds it impossible to make some grown up arrangement to have some time to himself if he needs to - without having to blow a family apart.
I guess those days of staying together for the kids have more or less gone?

You are doing a damn good job.
Just as your son has a right to feel mad at his dad on your behalf as well as his own, you have the right to be mad at him on the kids' behalf.

Never forget that at least half the kids' upset and disappointment in their Dad is how you have been left to deal with everything.
Love will see you through it all. Your anger will go - but FX will always be the person who made that selfish decision. Thank God for kind friends.

Don't let the anger eat you up. Now you've recognised it you can start leaving it behind -

And - it is always possible to tell the FX what you are thinking and your opinion once you are calm about it. Maybe he should face what he has actually done?
Hugs from here

Potty Mummy said...

God. (Some) people make me sick. 'MY NEEDS FIRST'? The selfish shxt. The children chose to be born, did they? Gosh, how clever of them. (Isn't it amazing what we tell ourselves to alleviate the guilt?)

Janie said...

You rock, girl.

Don't weaken. Keep strong. You're doing good!

Anonymous said...

too bad you just couldn't sell the house.

You can't change the fact that he has disappointed all,
but the house is just an expensive inanimate building.

You could make a home anywhere?

Katy said...

I think your feelings are almost universal amoung parents who find themselves alone with their children after thier other half has decided "The hell with all this!"

I could boar you with the details of when I realized why I was so angery, but it really just comes down to... I feel your pain.

Amy said...

Yes! Yes! Yes! You nailed it. I sincerely hope you find a way to put your needs first at least once in a while.

Kaycie said...

The kids are definitely the hardest part. I do not blame you at all for being angry with him. He has done things, positive things, that have surprised me, but the truth is, he put himself first.

When I divorced, my ex fought with me about money and possessions. He wanted every present he'd ever given me. He wanted my wedding rings back (after almost 10 years of marriage). He fought me tooth and nail for over two years and went through two attorneys. One day, I got angry with him, told my attorney to change the joint custody to sole custody and control for me. He never said a word about it. I had to fight him to actually use his visitation. On top of that, he currently owes an ungodly amount of back child support. He'll be paying me until the kids are well into their twenties. Things could be worse for you and the kids, sweetie.

My advice is to tell him how angry you are, and why. Get it off your chest. The sooner it's gone, the better you'll feel.

Devon said...

I am so frustrated with the culture of our society these days. It is all me, me,me!

Sorry for the rant, but what people often don't realize is that when they put others' happiness ahead of their own... and definitely that of their children, they will be much happier in the long run.

My neighbor left his wife and 3 boys, the youngest 3 mo. old. He wanted a coworker. His wife is beautiful inside and out. I listen to his boys crying behind the trees when he drops them off and drives away. I wish people could see how much pain they create.

I am not judging you, it just is so hard to see so much pain. I haven't a clue to the answer.

CrazyCath said...

Light bulb moment. I am actually so truly delighted - happy - whatever the word is - for you because there is nothing so frustrating as feeling something so strongly and not knowing WHY. Now you know why, you can deal with it. Not sweep it away or ignore it, but deal with it, live with it, use it if you need to.
I am happy for you. It is all part of the process of healing I think.

aims said...

Just throwing in a comment here along with all the others who have said it all RC.

Not having children - I can't put them first.

But! What you are feeling is so right on the mark for everyone. Even those without children. For the other to come 'first' - pfffft! What a kick in the face that always is! Especially when we give give give of ourselves to make others happy - but who gives to us? (not including The Man here)

So - hooray for you! I'm glad you are saying it. And - I love how you say it. Your words flow and capture and involve us all and we react. You could write a tremendous book that would kick his sorry little film out of the sky.

I guess we'll never know if that man made it - but what his wife said to him - ya - it teared me up too.

Sending you love and hugs and well wishes while I am gone (leaving today). I hope your holiday season is what it should be for you. Not for him. It's your life now sweetie. Remember that.

And yes - in the end - it's just a building - no matter how much we love it. We can learn to love another place. I thought the same about another house and look at what I ended up with!