June 10, 2015

Getting Big Enough on the Inside to Survive a Lost Relationship.


Sometimes it would just hit me.

It wasn’t like I planned on it or anything. It would just take me by surprise and I would sit there, tears streaming down my face while the handyman was up on the roof putting sunshades over the skylights to keep out the 110 degree Tucson sun. He would be back inside the house within 10 minutes and without even wanting to I would remember how simple a job it really was—not the wrenching, straining, frightening job that it had become for my husband—and it just hit me. That was how long it used to take my husband to do it. Ten minutes.

What I really wanted to do was to let go. To scream out that I wanted it back. I wanted my relationship back and I wanted my man back. The man who used to be able to go up on the roof without even thinking about it. The man who could cut all the wood for the fireplace. The man who could repair the leaking sink and the slamming screen door, who could shampoo his own hair for God’s sake, button his own shirts, kiss me, make love to me, hold me—I wanted it all back.

My grief rode like a boulder in my heaving belly. It threatened to overtake me but I couldn’t let go of it. I held onto it, struggling mightily to get control of it and sometimes I would. Sometimes I would manage to push an entire boulder down so that it wouldn’t show.

Of course I loved my husband the way he was. Of course I didn’t want to think about what he was not. Of course I saw that he was more than a person who merely used to be able to do chores, that he was still my man just the way he was. But there were those times when I wanted it all back, like those times when the handyman went up on the roof to cover the skylights.

I needed to find ways to keep the boulder from drowning me.

I would get a part time job so I could see over the edge of the small world I have been crammed into. I would ask the housekeeper to come an extra day a week to keep an eye on my husband. I would see a therapist so that I would have a place to vent and rage and cry over the once strong, healthy man who could no longer push the buttons on his phone by himself. I would join a support group, get massages, go to yoga.

And I would learn that in the end I had to give in to the grief. There was nothing else I could do. It was too big for me to keep trying to change it. In time, in its own time, the boulder in my belly became small as a stone and I would find that I was all the stronger, all the deeper, all the truer because of it.

Eventually, I could even have the skylights covered without thinking about how long it took or how long it used to take and, finally, I would find a place inside of me that had grown big enough to surround my grief, instead of my grief surrounding me.

Finally, I was able to let the boulder go.


Author: Carmelene Siani 

Editor: Caroline Beaton

Photo: Google images for reuse

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