NOTE: This is a blog post originally written in May of this year but left unfinished. I have looked back at it numerous times and then decided to wait. Today, I feel compelled to see where it goes.
Do you remember those picture books with the flaps? The top flap had a character’s or animal’s face, the middle flap had their body, and the bottom flap showed the legs. Depending on how you turned each panel you could create some wonderful, delightfully bizarre hybrids. Creatures that had the general appearance of something familiar…but some rather peculiar issues.
It’s a bit like how it feels to view my wife these days. She looks, basically, like the same person I’ve known for more than half of my life. Better, actually, because she’s committed herself so avidly to self care and fitness. The longer I look, however, the more I sense that there are some out-of-place parts. Present pieces that don’t belong and former features that are now absent.
At the risk of sounding cavalier, I wonder if it may be similar to having someone who suffers from Alzheimers in your life. You have all the memories and points of reference for what your relationship has been…but they are a blank slate. As though those things never happened.
It has now, as I return to this blog post after leaving it for quite a while, been about 16 months since my wife moved out. Since she told me that she no longer loves me and has no desire to ever work on it again. It has been about 16 months since that complete image of who she is began to fall out of order.
I have tried so hard to move on…to look at who I am and who I am becoming and be okay with the idea that I no longer have a marriage. I do alright much of the time because I have been blessed with amazing friends and a loving family and children that make my life beautiful. Many days I feel like I can see some sense in looking to the future with the expectancy of falling in love with the woman who will share the rest of my life.
Today, though, I feel shattered. I feel lost. I feel like I wish I could put those picture panels back in the proper order and look up to find that this year and four months has been just an unpleasant illusion. I want the missing parts to be back where they belong.
I don’t know why I can’t move on, but I’m sure it has to do with the promise I made twenty years ago… I gave up part of my heart that day. I don’t know that I will ever recover it.
The consolation of “let’s be friends…” doesn’t satisfy a broken heart that is missing something so substantial.