Till death do us part.
But what if one parts before then?
Do you die, so you can make it right? So you don’t have to break a vow?
Life goes on—that’s the brutal fact you just can never get around, not alive anyway. It did for me, no matter how long I grieved. It went on around me, while I felt dead. I wanted to be dead. Still, it went on.
I lived, and found out one can’t live and not be alive. Least I can’t. So, I began to live, tired of dying.
I didn’t replace you. I found a new life, a new love. Something more than what I was missing, and finally I didn’t miss it anymore. I didn’t miss you. I didn’t want what I’d had.
What I had missed was what I’d thought we’d had, cruelly ripped away from me with a scar put in it’s place. A scar everyone could see. A scar of ugly self hate, slow to heal at all, festering with the delusion that I was deserving of the abuse you gave. But what we really had was just a chapter in a story—your story, made up along the way to fit your needs. Your needs, disguised as ours. You lied about that more than anything else, and you lied about almost everything.
You left me with a sawed off stump, my amputated ego hanging by shreds of aching skin.
In the words of an old song we’ve both heard, “I Wouldn’t Treat a Dog” the way you treated me.
The magnitude of raw hurt I felt for years may have made it difficult for me to trust again, to really love and give myself to anyone. But it didn’t mean I wouldn’t, eventually. I did.
Till death do us part.
But you see, that died; I died, who you were to me died. I grieved, died, lost another chunk of myself here and there as time went on—the old rotting illusion of our marriage would shrivel and fall away, just drop off in chunks whenever I least expected. New little deaths, over and over. And by the time they finally all fell off I was so sick of the disease of them that I wanted them to go, even while it was still painful to let them go. And it usually was. Pieces of my identity went along. My belief system went along. My hope went along. And my ability to fall in love went along as well. So I imagined.
But know something here; I wasn’t really dead. Only pieces and parts of me, the pieces that you could still touch, the pieces you’d told me were me. Well, they’re not me.
I’ve spent some time backtracking, walking parallels of paths I took after you left me broken and bleeding. I didn’t set out to follow these old times, more they came to me, and called me out. Only after the fact can I see that they did so because I was finally ready to give all of myself to someone. It was necessary to see where I’d been since you changed how I saw love. And it was shocking how many wrong turns I made just trying to distance myself from what happened. Just trying to heal.
I visited those old spaces, places, loves, and found quickly that whatever stray parts of me were still laying about lost fit handily in a basket, nothing more than I could carry, although the basket seemed really large at the time. Later when I picked up the basket, it felt small and looked hardly a thing to hold so much woe, yet it was the same basket. And it was easily set down.
Finally one day all those stray, misshapen, fallen apart pieces, they were all gone. The little basket was just empty. I felt naked, and surprisingly light. Uncertain, too young to be the age that I am, I stepped up to my life. And love was waiting for me. I didn’t know I was waiting for it too. Sometimes we have to die a little, in order to really live. Life goes on. Life begins anew.