A bit sad

1:00pm

I have felt a bit sad today. It’s a weird feeling. It’s vague hopelessness. Like a little voice saying to me, “nothing is good and it never will be”. I don’t have an effective outlet for this. They are ways to distract myself from the voice. They usually work and I end up forgetting it is there. But it’s still there…I just can’t hear it. It’s on repeat: one day they are going to grow up and leave, then what are you going to do? Keep going to work…for what? So you can accumulate more money? Then what are you going to do? You come home every night to an empty house. Do you think that is going to change? You have no one to hold at night. No one to tell you it is going to be okay. She left. You are alone.

What a difference

7:30am

What a difference a day makes. I have struggled for days with depression. I was texting with a friend last night trying to get my brain under control. I realized I hadn’t had a good, full night’s sleep in almost a week. I took some Advil PM and went to bed early last night. This morning I feel brand new. I slept through the night and didn’t dream about anything (especially Michelle). I still have a touch of fog on my brain from being tired but I’ll clear that up tonight by getting to bed early again.

I am so grateful this morning. I am grateful my mind is quiet. I am grateful I have the tools to do that for myself. I was starting to get worried and scared yesterday that something was wrong with me. I guess there is, I have anxiety. I was worried it was more than that. I spent the majority of Monday and Tuesday holding back tears. I cried driving in to work yesterday and I cried coming home that evening. I cried making dinner. I cried listening to a sad story on NPR. I was starting to feel overwhelmed by this grief that was all over my body. I had this sense of being completely alone and hopeless…like the sadness was just going to get worse or never stop.

This grief and depression is a problem with a simple solution. Take care of yourself physically and the mind will follow. I will continue to work the problem. Tonight I am going to exercise, spend time with my children, have a healthy dinner, read, and go to bed early.

9:30am

Chicago was a completely fucked weekend. I had a complete melt down that went into Monday back in Omaha. I was fucking miserable there. It was an unintended exercise in masochism. The only thing I enjoyed was my morning run through down town Chicago and seeing Hamilton. The rest of the time I was sad and lonely. I missed my kids and I missed Michelle.

To top it all off, I found out Friday night she is in a new relationship. She went to the Nebraska football game in Lincoln with him (which was odd as she despises football) and posted pics on Facebook. I went off the deep end and sent her a series of ill-conceived text messages.

Me:        You should probably update your relationship status to whoever that guy you’re with instead of me…don’t you think? It makes me sick how happily you discarded us. We were a family and you moved on like we meant nothing.

Since when do you go to fucking football games?

Your little hipster boy looks ridiculous. Let me guess…is he a vegan, barista at a coffee shop that only uses locally sourced coffee beans? You’re tragically and transparently hilarious.

She read the messages and took down the post immediately. Sunday morning I thought better of sending  it all and sent her the following message:

Me:        I know you won’t respond to this. I wanted to apologize for lashing out on Friday. I am sorry I said those things. I was only trying to be mean. It serves no purpose.

You look happy and content with your new life. I am glad for you. I am still working on my “moving on”. It is mostly going well with a few bumps (Friday would be one) along the way.

I still regret what happened to us and wish I could go back and change it but I know that isn’t what you want. Dennis and Brad still miss you being their step mother. So do I.

Again, I am sorry I lashed out Friday!

I know I sound like a crazy person for saying this but: I still love you so much! Take care of yourself.

I have been a mess since Friday night in Chicago. I feel like I am on the verge of tears 90% of the time. It feels like the work I did with Lisa and on my own has been erased. I feel like I am mid to late August with my emotionality. What the fuck?!?! I really felt good about things. I missed Michelle but it was fading. Writing this journal entry I have gotten weepy twice. This is bullshit!

Getting better

I wanted to change

for three. I should work for the

two who deserve it.


8:30am

I am surprised by the amount of boredom that comes with sobriety. I am bored…all the time! When I would normally stop off at a bar/friend’s house for a drink is just dead time. I can’t tell you how many times I say to myself, “now what?”  The better I am emotionally, mentally, and physically…the more energy I have. The more energy I have, the more I am bored. There is only so much laundry to be done, I can’t clean the house all the time, the dog won’t go on endless walks, there are only so many books to read, so many movies to see, I can’t play games on my phone endlessly, I can’t work out more than once a day, it’s too cold to play golf…I am just bored, a lot. Looking at this from the outside I can see someone posing the question, “does being bored make you want to drink?” It doesn’t. That’s good.

Of course I think about Michelle and what we would be doing together. I’m not sure why I’m bothering talking about that…silly.

My therapist thinks we have reached the end of her usefulness. She pointed out several things that are different since we first met:

  • Grief has moved (mostly) to acceptance
  • Stress and anxiety are way down
  • I am effectively using tools to manage the anxiety that remains
  • My desire/need for control has abated
  • I have been sober for 15 weeks

Consequently, I am happier than I have been in years…happiness is my “starting position”.

I have to agree with her on all fronts. I know I feel sad from time to time. I think about and miss Michelle in my life every day. Knowing she is happy and grateful to be free of the boys and me hurts and makes the “missing her” worse. That said, I wake up every morning feeling good. I don’t feel like a different person…just a better version. I started out doing this for Michelle (I could have become the embodiment of everything she wants and she still wouldn’t be with me. She left because she doesn’t want roots. She wants freedom.) This change is ending up being for my children and myself. I like this version. He is kinder, gentler, and more patient. The boys like it too.

 

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

4:00pm

I feel like Hedwig did in the last scene of Hedwig and the Angry Inch when he wanders out into an alley cold, alone, and naked. He is completely exposed and disoriented. He stumbles a bit but he keeps moving towards the end of the alley. In that moment, I feel hope for Hedwig. He is leaving this dark place and moving towards something better. Watching it, you get the sense that Hedwig is going to be okay.

I am nervous. I feel naked, exposed, and vulnerable. Even when I stumble, I want to keep moving forward. Luckily it is the only direction available to me.

It is okay to be selfish (sometimes)

9:00am

I had an interesting conversation with a friend at Brad’s soccer game. She is friens with Michelle and sees her from time to time. She is glad Michelle and I broke up. More accurately, she said she hopes we don’t get back together. I asked why. She said it wouldn’t be good for Michelle, me, or the boys. She said Michelle has so many ideas and plans for her future and she is obviously so very happy about having freedom. She doesn’t think Michelle regrets us breaking up…in fact she knows Michelle is truly grateful she isn’t limited by having a partner/spouse and children. She told me she imagines 10-15 years into the future with Michelle and I married. She can see Michelle wishing her life had been different than having a family and being bitter at me for that. I agree with Cindy. At the end of the day, Michelle liked being with me and the boys, she just doesn’t want the responsibility and obligation(s) that come with it. I’ve been thinking and saying this for months now. She validated it.

Michelle wanted to want to be a wife and (step)mother…but faced with the obligations and responsibilities, she hated it. We made her feel trapped. What I am about to say is a statement of fact, not judgement. Michelle is being a selfish person. It is normal for a person who does not have children to think and behave this way. She is not interested in suborning her needs for the needs of a/our family. My friend is right. If Michelle had stayed with me and the boys, she would have eventually been unhappy.

I wish Michelle could be okay being selfish. Instead she feels guilt. For her that manifests itself in anger and denial. It explains why she has been so hateful and cruel.

I feel sad. Last night I cried as I was processing this. This is cathartic. The catharsis comes when I think about dating. There is no chance Michelle and I will work our way back to each other so I don’t feel guilty as I imagine being with other women.

Monday

stars are out shone by

the sun as what’s wrong with us

should be by our love.


8:00am

I was super sad and lonely this weekend. I binge watched Netflix. Friday, I made a nice meal, put on a warm fire, and sat on the couch watching the show till just after midnight. Super sad.

Sadness comes and goes. I didn’t have the boys this weekend and I didn’t have much going on socially. Maybe next weekend will be different. I just need to remember the more time I put between my relationship with Michelle and now…the fewer bad days/weekends I will have.

It still seems unreal we aren’t together. It is just wrong the boys and I don’t have her in our life. Enough said about that…she is gone because she wants to be gone.

 

Strength

clarity is (comes

when it wants. rushed…you dilute

its poignancy) strength


7:30am

Wednesday…what to write about? I’m taking Friday off to spend some quality time with Dennis (he doesn’t have school). I’m excited about hanging out with just the two of us. He is at the age where he generally isn’t interested in doing that as much.

I feel great today. I keep doing the things that work when I get upset or sad about Michelle: exercise, read, take a bath, etc, etc. It helps with sleeping. I don’t have any repetitive, obsessive thoughts. This morning, Brad asked me about sleeping and if I am getting enough. I asked why he was asking. He said, “I don’t know…you don’t seem as tired in the mornings.” We talked about drinking and how some people use alcohol to help them get to sleep. I explained it actually makes for a very restless sleep. He asked me what people who can’t sleep should do. I told him use the techniques we’ve both learned to quiet our minds and eliminate the swirling, obsessive thoughts. He liked that.

The three of us had an interesting end to the night last night. We watched the “Nosedive” episode of Black Mirror. In it a character has an epic, public meltdown. When the show was over I asked the kids if they understood why she had her meltdown. They did…they could see her stress building and building to an explosion. I told them that is what happened to Michelle when she lost it in Arizona. I explained the way their Aunt Rae and Uncle Patrick (mostly Rae) had treated her and her efforts to ignore it caused so much stress those weeks she finally cracked under the strain. She didn’t have any control once she cracked. I think they finally understand what happened that evening back in July.

 

What works

I am Regret. I

force questions that do not have

answers. I loathe sleep.


9:00am

Monday morning I sent Michelle a photo of Brad and his soccer team after they won their tournament with a brief description of the weekend both boys had. I sent her the picture because I thought she loves my boys and would like to hear about them. On my drive home from work I received the following text from her:

Michelle: I don’t see the need for us to have any more contact. I will not be responding to any more messages.

I was so upset. I have been feeling so good about things. Thursday I get all weird and freaked out about going on a date with a different woman then this. What the fuck? I did what works. I had a brutal workout, spent quality time with my boys, cried a little bit, talked to my dog, took a long hot bath, and read my book. By the time I was in bed I felt better.

I had some choice things to say back to her immediately after she sent me the text.

Me: Yeah, I can see that from your perspective. Why keep in contact with people you really never cared for to begin with. You are a cruel, unforgiving, and vindictive person. You kept that hidden for over three years. I don’t know if that is admirable or terrifying. You always said the song “Just My Imagination” by the Temptations was our song as a couple. Talk about foreshadowing huh?

About 5 minutes after I sent that I thought maybe I shouldn’t have. Now, I don’t have any regrets. Fuck Michelle and the space she keeps taking up in my head and my heart!! She IS cruel, unforgiving and vindictive. I am sending her the following text and then I am blocking her number from my cell phone as well.

Me: Yesterday, for about 30 minutes, I felt bad I sent that text. That was it. I stand by it. You ARE cruel, unforgiving, and vindictive. I should have included selfish, naïve, and immature as well. You’ve allowed one moment to define everything. You can’t allow I am capable of change because you are NOT capable of change. You have told me to “go fuck yourself” and that “you ruined my life and I fucking hate you.” I wish I had it in me to respond in kind…I don’t.

I’ll leave you with this: your actions the last 13 weeks and 2 days has as much to do with us being apart as anything I have done. One day, you will look back on our life together (our family) and you will regret leaving. You will miss us.

I sent this as a text and as an email. I have blocked her on my phone and email.

 

Love is a behavior

8:00am

Real love is a behavior not an emotion. It doesn’t matter how we “feel” if we have no action or “works”. An abusive spouse may feel they love their partner but the abuse says otherwise. A cheating wife may feel she loves her husband but the infidelity says otherwise…and so on and so on. Since our break up, I have tried so hard to make myself a better person. I can look back on the last 12 weeks and really say this has been a demonstration of my love for my children and Michelle.

Michelle doesn’t love me. It’s that simple. It is so clear looking at it through the prism of “love is a behavior not an emotion”. In fact, reflecting on our relationship, it makes me question if she ever did. I think she loved the idea I represented and the comfort my money provided. I say this because when we came to our first, real crisis she ran like a prisoner who sees freedom for the first time in 3 1/2 years. She has never looked back. Since then she has: misrepresented my actions, twisted my words, insulted my integrity, maligned me as a father, consistently said horribly cruel things (with the sole intention of hurting me), tried to manipulate my emotions for her financial benefit (health care), lied/went behind my back to try and maintain a relationship with my kids, and who knows what else. I guess the last one would be an example (all be it a misguided one) of her loving the boys. Her actions speak volumes about how she feels. She doesn’t love me. The only regrets she has with our relationship failing is losing Dennis and Brad and the material benefits that come with being with me. My “demonstrations of love” since our breakup have been a spectacular waste of time. I need to focus on loving just my boys.