Love and Loss

It’s been over a month and I still can’t figure out how to put this down in writing. On March 17, I found out that my first love, G, who I’ve written about several times, had died. His body couldn’t withstand the years of alcohol abuse. Words to describe how I feel about this are jumbled in my head. Devastated. sad, guilty, heartbroken, empty, angry, disappointed…I’ve run the gauntlet of emotions. Apparently this is normal when you lose someone you love.

This is my first up close and personal experience with loss. Two of my grandparents have passed away, and I miss them greatly, but we are usually prepared for that loss. The sudden loss of someone young and with so much life ahead of him is not something I know how to deal with. I get to a point where I think I’ve accepted it and then it comes out of nowhere and hits me like a ton of bricks. The grief, all over again. The disbelief. The feeling that I’m having a nightmare that I can’t wake up from. Because, G can’t be gone. He just…can’t. There are things I still needed to say and words I needed to hear. Forgiveness to give and apologies to offer. Love. Anger. Laughter. Tears. There is just so much left. I’m not ready to say goodbye.

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After I got the news, I went up to the lake. I needed to walk in the sand. It was March 17, and the first semi-nice spring day we’d had. The sand was wet. And cold. But, there were things I needed to say, and that was the only way I could of think to do it. To try to find a way that maybe he could hear me.

I told him how sorry I am. Sorry for not being a better friend. Sorry for not being there when he needed me. Sorry for not being more patient. Sorry for treating his alcoholism as something he could control. Sorry for not trying harder to get him help. Because I am just so sorry. For everything.

I also told him I forgive him. For being an alcoholic. For not being strong enough to get help. For all the times he hurt me, or disappointed me. I forgave him for everything.

I told him I love him. That I will always love him. That he was my first and only true love. I told him that I know he loved me. And that I know he would have been a better boyfriend, if he could have been.

These are things we should have said while he was still alive but I waited too long. At the time of his death, we hadn’t spoken in about 6 months. After my last visit, his behavior became more and more erratic. His texts began to resemble the ones he used to send after we broke up, ten years ago. Back then, I was still reeling from the hurt and pain of our relationship, and he wouldn’t let me move on. I finally resorted to having my phone # changed. Back then, and now, he just couldn’t seem to understand how inappropriate his behavior was. So, finally, I blocked him. He couldn’t call or write me. I thought about him a lot, and considered unblocking him several times. I wondered if enough time had passed that he would be able to handle our friendship. Each time I considered it, I decided I wasn’t ready to go there quite yet.

So, I’ll never know how many times he might have tried to reach out to me. Near the end of his life, he was mostly alone. He alienated or pushed away most of his friends. His mom was the only person he remained close with (and he lived with her.) She tells me he called a rehab facility twice in the last year of his life. He never followed through though. I can’t help but wonder if I had been there, to support and encourage him, maybe he could have found the strength to try. These are burdens I will carry for the rest of my life.

Our romantic relationship ended a long time ago, but I never stopped loving G. I never stopped hoping he would find a way to get better, and to find peace within himself. At his memorial service, his mom and I talked. She said she believes that he is finally at peace. That in death he is able to find the peace he couldn’t while alive. At the time, I didn’t agree. The idea of him dying, alone, and thinking that I hated him, couldn’t possibly have brought him peace. But, she told me that he knew I didn’t hate him. He knew how much I loved him. And that he loved me very much. As I keep replaying that conversation in my head, I think about the line from the movie, ‘The Notebook’ that says,11071608_10205535486120040_4395214951610705403_o

I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul, and to me, this has always been enough.

I don’t think any love can ever really duplicate your first love but I hope that someday, I find someone who who I can love fully, and who can love me fully. But if I don’t, I will be comforted in knowing that I have loved someone with all my heart and soul, and I have been loved by another’s heart and soul. And that will have to be enough.

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Past meets Present

Well, I went to visit the ex last weekend. It’s taken me several days to try to wrap my head around how I feel before I could write about it. He’s changed. I’ve changed. But, in some ways, we are still the same 22 year olds who fell in love so long ago. Except we aren’t 22 anymore. We are 33. And our lives are different in so many ways. We did have a good conversation about some of the things that went wrong in our relationship. Those things will always hurt me. But I have forgiven him and I think it was good for him to hear that from me. But also good for him to see that the hurt is still there for me. I hope it was a reminder for him that the decisions you make can have a long-term impact on other people’s lives. I told him that I moved to Germany mostly to get away from him and the memory of him. I think that shocked him. At that point, I’m sure he thought I had completely moved on. And I had, for the most part. But getting away from his memory was a huge factor in my decision to move.

I guess I can back up a bit and explain more about why we broke up. I’ll have to if I want anyone to understand my conflicting feelings now. G was my first love. My first butterflies in my stomach, couldn’t think about anything else, silly grins on my face when he was around kind of  love. We were young and a lot of our social life consisted of bars and drinking. He worked in a restaurant/bar. Our lifestyle allowed me to overlook the fact that he drank way too much. Drinking was social for me, but he drank most of the time. Over time, the drinking got worse. And then he started to change. He came home later at night. He began to exclude me from his social life. Where before we would meet at our local bar after work for a drink, I would now find myself sitting at home while he drank after work with people I didn’t know. We got these new neighbors, and G started a job at a new restaurant. Those two things combined were basically a disaster waiting to happen. He came  home later, he lied about where he was. Several times I realized he was upstairs hanging out with the neighbors when he was telling me he was still at work. I found cocaine in his pockets. He lied some more. I heard around town that his new restaurant was booming and the servers were making a fortune. He was coming home telling me he had a horrible night and made no money. We fought. It snowballed. He spent our money, that should have been for things like rent. He took money out of our savings account that I earned and saved. He lied some more.

Why didn’t I just end it? I don’t know. Because I felt like the man I loved was still in there somewhere. He didn’t act like that man anymore. He didn’t treat me the way that man treated me. But I loved that man. And I just wanted him BACK. So I yelled. I cried. I issued ultimatums. I kicked him out. I let him come back. I lost a little bit of myself. And a little bit more. Until finally one day I had enough. There was an incident. It wasn’t really that much different than any of the others but for some reason, this time was the straw. The last one. And I ended it. He probably thought I’d change my mind. My friends and family didn’t really believe me at first. But somehow I just knew. This time I meant it. And so it ended.

And then a new nightmare began. I tried to move on. I tried to find a bit of myself again. And G couldn’t, wouldn’t let me. He began what I can only describe as stalking me. He would call 20 times in a row. At one time he sent me over 100 text messages in ONE day. He threatened to kill himself. He called me and told me he was having chest pains and going to the hospital. He read my emails. He must have followed me, or had friends all over town following me. He knew who I was with and when I was with them. I had new guy friends and he couldn’t handle it. I stayed over at a friends house one night after drinking. He knew where I was and called my phone so many times I had to turn it off. When I arrived home in the morning I discovered my bedroom window had been pushed in. He tried to break into my home. I can’t describe the feelings I had during this time. I felt so violated.

Here was someone who had already broken my heart. He betrayed my trust, he let me down in more ways than I could count. And all I wanted was to move on. But he wouldn’t let me. The feeling was worse than when we were together. I felt so trapped by him. I was so angry. He was so selfish. He couldn’t accept how much he had screwed up his life. But he was determined to still control mine. Finally I had my phone # changed. I deleted his emails without reading them. I slowly got my life back. But, everywhere I went was full of his memory. Eventually I moved to Germany. I moved on. He moved on.

Like I said, I forgave him a long time ago. Alcohol and drugs allow people do reprehensible things. I don’t excuse his behavior. And the memories still hurt. Despite all of this, I guess going to visit last weekend I was deep down hoping to find the old G. The one I fell in love with. He’s still in there. I saw glimpses of him. But the years of substance abuse have changed him. It feels like he is not all there sometimes.

I’m honestly not sure if he is still drinking, just in secret maybe? Or maybe taking too much prescription medication? I don’t know. So here comes the hard part. The part I need to admit to myself, to him, to everyone. I love him. I will always love him. But I fear for him. I fear for his mental well-being. He isn’t all there right now and it scares me.

We had conversations that didn’t make sense. He repeated himself, and forgot things I had already told him. One night over the weekend we went out with old friends. He is incredibly generous, he picked up the entire tab. But, he was socially awkward. He said things that were inappropriate. He remembers what I was wearing the first time he noticed me walking down the hallway in 12th grade. But, he didn’t remember an entire conversation we had the day before. He talks about his dog like his a child. He compared taking care of his dog to me taking care of my son with autism. He claims to be working and doing very well financially. But asked me not to mention his job in front of his mother. He is evasive about how he spends his days. I don’t know what to think.

I don’t want to go down this road again. But, I care about him. I love him. I don’t know if I am “in love” with him but I love him. I want him to be healthy, and happy. I want him to be that man I remember. Because that was a man I could have spent my life with. I don’t think that man exists anymore. And that breaks my heart all over again.

Single Mom…dating?

About a year ago I wrote a post about why I don’t date. To make a long story short, I just didn’t have the emotional energy dating requires. (Read the full post here.) Well, I went on a date last night! So I guess now this single mom is dating. I’m not sure what switched in my brain but recently I just really started to feel tug of loneliness. I am really tired of not having anyone to share my life with. So, I took the plunge and headed back into the world of online dating.

I’ve attempted online dating sporadically in the past. I usually never got past the first email or two. As soon as a guy mentioned the idea of actually meeting in person I just kind of backed away and pulled the old disappearing act. I went as far as texting with a few guys but still never went anywhere. One guy did a disappearing act on me and I suspect he may  have been married. Another was obsessed with talking about his ex-wife. Now, I totally get that if you are in your 30’s and online dating, you are going to have some baggage. But, let’s move on now, shall we?

I went on one date with someone I met online about  3 years ago. There was zero chemistry and I’m pretty sure the feeling was mutual since I never heard from him again. Even though I had no interest in seeing him again, it still stings a little to know he felt the same way. I mean, I think I’m pretty awesome. Obviously he did not agree!

So, back to the point-I went on a date last night. My most recent foray into online dating has been slightly more positive. I started talking to a guy and we seemed to really hit it off immediately. We have a lot in common, very similar situations with regard to our children and priorities. So, when he asked me to go on a date, I actually said yes.

And then, surprisingly, I had a really great time. We really just talked for hours and it seemed like we never ran out of things to talk about. And now comes the hard part. The part that goes with the post from a year ago. The waiting. The anxiety. The, “is he going to ask me out again?” feeling. The knowing that I could get hurt because I like this guy and he may not feel the same way. And then because I’m a woman, I over-analyze everything. Everything. It’s so damn stressful it makes me want to do my disappearing act again. It’s so much easier to just hide away with my 4 year old than to actually put myself out there and risk getting hurt.

But, I’m not running away this time. I’m out there. I’m going to risk it. Wish me luck, I might need it.