Yesterday, I was talking to a friend of mine. She is someone who could not be more different than me and yet, somewhere in the years of knowing each other, we bonded. I distinctly remember facetiming her just a day after PC left, and I distinctly remember standing in her kitchen days later as she said to me, this could be us next week, in reference to her and her husband.
As the story would unfold, she did in fact split ties with her husband who, much like PC and I, had been her significant other for 17 years. Unlike me, who will basically tell my life story to a cashier if given the chance, this friend spent a year beating around the bush with me, alluding to a marriage gone south without ever really explaining what, or why. She spoke of being a terrible person, a bad mother, a bad wife.
When all of the truths came out, it became evident that there were two sides to her story and she now finds herself in a very similar position as me: battling a devil who was once her soulmate. Dealing with a father who uses his children as pawns. Missing our babies so badly when they are not with us. Trying to establish new relationships at 40 with other broken people.
I would not wish this on anyone but there is something to be said for solidarity. There is something to be said for being able to talk to someone who gets it. Someone who is right where you are, or where you’ve recently been, clawing at the sides of the trenches and wondering when enough is enough.
Someone who gets how bleak it is when the person who you made two children with is actually an alcoholic monster who is intent on punishing you. Someone who understands how it feels to look forward to Christmas morning–one of the major highlights of parenting–and know that you won’t be with a family under a tree. That you might not, in fact, have your children with you. Someone who understands how heartbreaking it is to realize the life you wanted to give your kids is not even close to the one you are giving them.
My family can sit and listen to me for hours, days, years. They can tell me to do this, to do that. They can advise, they can tell me to buck up, accept it, move on. But what they can’t do, what a lot of people can’t do, is empathize with what it feels like to be alone. And in my case: alone and financially destitute. Money never becomes more important then when you don’t have it.
And the resounding advice that will come from their mouths, from friends mouths, from the world at large: you aren’t alone. You have us! You have your friends! You have your children. But as The Plumber once said to me, its easy for people who go home to wives and husbands to say such things. And guess what? I don’t always have my kids.
The week coming up, starting tomorrow, is going to be thus far the most difficult week of my life. For 7 days, my kids will be with PC and his Trollup. For 7 days I will not see or touch them, I won’t hug them, I won’t wash their clothes, I won’t eat with them, I won’t say goodnight and I love you a million each evening as I tuck them in. I won’t have my daughter plastered to me every night as we watch television, and I won’t be listening to my son’s endless descriptions of the books he’s reading. And I don’t care if you once took a trip to Jamaica and left the kids behind with your parents or you once had to travel for work for a week…it is not the same thing as sending your children thousands of miles away on a plane with a psychopath and his mistress.
The anxiety for this has been creeping, creeping, creeping. On top of that, my financial situation is dire and continues to get worse. I have zero clue what I want to do with my life or my future and the whole taking a step back with The Plumber still torments me because, well, I miss him. I miss seeing him every day. It was one big, bright shining light in all of this.
And in the midst of it all, yet another expensive appliance breaking is enough to knock me down. Being told “that’s life” is not helpful. Being told “everyone deals with stuff like that” is not helpful. And its not true. Being told go watch your kid’s music program and forget about stuff is not helpful, because its not possible. And forgetting about my problems will not make them go away.
But texting this friend, who not only agrees with my bleakness but commiserates and empathizes and lets me wallow a bit and jokes what happened to our souls? And who laughs at the following quote instead of saying you know, maybe you should consider getting back on meds. I’m worried about you.
I understand that people are well-meaning. I understand that those who have been through what I’ve been through, this hard season of my life, are to be regarded with wisdom when they assure you that things will turn around. I appreciate encouragement and I appreciate help. But sometimes you just want someone to say, Jesus Christ, yes! Life fucking sucks right now! I had a rough day yesterday…I spoke to a lot of people. My two best friends, my sister and my mom, The Plumber, my ex-boss. The above-mentioned friend, who will joke that she has a cold, black heart, is the only one who got it.
The funny thing about her though. She will joke that she’s jaded, soulless, bitter, pessimistic. That she isn’t warm and fuzzy, that she’s not a good person or a good mother. None of these things are true, by the way. But she said something very profound without meaning to yesterday. I stated that this is just how we are now in reference to our attitudes about lives that seem to be a constant cycle of extreme duress. She agreed and then said,
We just can’t unpack here indefinitely.
So you see, my friend: everyone else can tell me to stop wallowing, appreciate the good, acknowledge that others have it worse, and the popular change your attitude! But you: hearing that from you, someone who just flat out accepts what I say and knows that I own it because you own it to…that, more than anything yesterday, gave me a bit of a push to battle through my day and be somewhat okay at the end of it. Because if you, with your little black heart (kidding) can see a silver lining, then I should be able to as well.
Until then, here’s a solid nod to the universe for reminding me that, despite what it may seem at times, the right people will always fall into your path, for a reason, at the right time. And here’s also a solid nod to my friend, who despite our parallel lives and mirroring shitstorms, still inspires me. We all have our own trials and tribulations, but knowing that someone else truly gets the depths of hell you experience and yet still manages to continue on with life?