Perspective is generous at its core… always offering us gifts when we’re ready to receive them.
A year ago today, thirty minutes from now, three boys died. I hit them with my car, and they all died. I know it wasn’t my fault, most days. I was in the wrong place at the worst possible time. But there are still those moments when an undercurrent of guilt won’t fully submit to logic.
I think about them a lot, although not as much as what might be considered normal. Not because I am callous or unaffected by it. That’s not it at all. I just had to implement an emotional amputation of sorts; this was only one of a series of events that was so unbelievably heartbreaking, distancing myself from it mentally and emotionally was simply what I had to do for survival purposes.
But I think about them, especially on holidays. I think about their families trying to just get them over with. I picture the empty spot at the dinner table they pretend to ignore and the memories that must haunt them when they think about what they were doing this time last year. I think about what I was doing this time last year, which was sitting alone on a balcony in Arlington, Texas, just trying to get it over with, wondering why it was me who lived and not them and kind of wishing it was the other way around.
But this isn’t about me. It’s about three boys who had their whole lives ahead of them. It’s to send out love to them (wherever their souls reside) and their families and friends who miss them terribly. It’s to say that I truly know the pain of having to wake up every morning the first year without them and think about what you were doing that same day last year…when they were still alive…. when they still had their whole lives ahead of them.
It’s to say that I fully feel the weight of it all today, that it breaks my heart, and that I’m so very grateful that it wasn’t me and I still have my life ahead of me.
… but what I wouldn’t give to know that this Thursday there were three less empty spots at the dinner table.
Original Post: The accident (warning: it’s graphic in some parts)
My dad died on Father’s Day.
I can’t imagine how many times I’ve said that throughout my life. It feels like a punch line to a worn-out, twisted joke. It’s not though. I guess it could be the punchline, but it’s not a joke. That is really the day he died.
I can’t remember the exact day we found out he way dying, but I remember the day exactly. It was a school day in early January. But I wasn’t going. I called in sick, because my dad was, and I was taking him to the hospital to find out how sick.
I helped him out of the car and waited until he got his bearings. I casually linked my arm through his so he didn’t have to ask for more help. His pace was painfully slow. But because he was in pain, or because he didn’t want to find out why?
I just wanted him to hurry. I wanted to get this over with. There was a party I wanted to go to later, and I needed to study more for my SAT exam the next morning. I wanted to see my boyfriend before he left town, and I needed to go by my friend’s house to pick up the jeans she said I could borrow.
I just wanted him to hurry, so they could start the surgery, so we could find out what was wrong with him, so they could fucking fix it.
Three hours later I woke up on the hospital floor, my head propped up on my study guide. They said it would only take two hours. It had been over three. I opened my book back up to the algebra equations, shut it, opened it again, and flipped over to the vocabulary section. I had learned a good trick for memorizing vocab words. You take the word and use it in 3 different sentences, but sentences that will stand out in your mind, like something funny to make them memorable.
Aberration: a state or condition markedly different from the norm
I laughed. I’m pretty confident that I’m the only person using death as a study tactic, which is in and of itself an aberration.
He snuck up behind me, asking if I was William Breazeale’s daughter. I jumped up, throwing my book up in the air, which sent my notes flying in all directions. We both paused for a minute, watching their graceful descent. I looked up at him, embarrassed, and tried to smile. He didn’t smile back. He just told me, matter-of-factly, that the surgery went great and my dad was dying from pancreatic cancer.
I slammed the front door behind me. His head shot up. He hated it when I slammed the door. “Sorry, dad!”. Shit, did I wake you up? How are you feeling?”
Why did I keep asking him that? What the hell is he going to say. “I feel amazing. That last can of Ensure you shot into my veins tasted awesome and is digesting perfectly. I can’t get up by myself anymore and have been waiting for you to get here so I can go to the bathroom. Other than that, I feel great.”
He attempted to smile. “I’m fine. How was school?”
“Fine. I have to go back, it’s only noon. I just came home to check on you”.
“It’s only noon?”
“Yeah. You hungry?”
“Well, were you able to drink some of the juice I bought you?”
“No. I haven’t felt like it.”
“Dad! You have to eat, whether you are hungry or not! You can’t keep going to chemo if you aren’t doing anything to build yourself back up. Have you looked at yourself? You are literally wasting away!”
I stormed into the kitchen and brought him back a glass of orange juice. He tilted his head forward to take a sip, giving me a look that made me sit down next to him and gulp the rest of it down myself.
“Will you make sure I’m here when you go?”
“I’ll do my best, but I can’t make any promises.”
“No dad, you have to. You have to promise you won’t leave me until I can get back here”.
“Brooke, I can’t promise that you will be here when I die. But I promise I will never leave you.”
I acquired this slight obsession with our calendar. Every morning I scrolled across the row of days, then down the column of weeks, looking for, I’m not sure what, an aberration I suppose. Which day was it going to be? I flipped to the next month and my eyes landed on the only words on the page.
I actually laughed out loud. You’ve got to be kidding me. He’s going to die on fucking Father’s Day?
Of course I didn’t tell anybody this. How morbid and sad. What was even more so was that I actually felt relieved. I had a date. This was going to end at some point, and it was going to be soon. I started planning the things I would do after that day. I could leave the house again without having to find someone to watch him. I could go to parties with my friends without worrying about him or having to leave early to go take care of him. I wouldn’t have to give him morphine shots anymore, or clean up after him when he didn’t make it to the bathroom, or sleep outside his bedroom door hearing him moan in pain, crying myself to sleep because there was absolutely nothing I could do to stop it.
I wouldn’t have to do any of those things anymore. Because on June 21st, my dad wouldn’t be dying. On June 21st, my dad would be dead.
I spent the morning with my best friend and his family. I reluctantly agreed to go to church with them, cringing at every forced metaphor reiterating the importance of celebrating ‘the father’.
I asked if I could stop to buy him a card before we headed to the movie and spent longer than I should have picking it out. He obviously wasn’t going to read it, but I wanted to read it to him, and it needed to be perfect.
We made it to the front of the line just before the previews started. I grabbed my ticket, and then turned to his dad and told him to take me home.
I closed the front door behind me, making sure not to slam it. I nervously peeked my head into his room to see if he was still breathing, and then plopped down next to him to sign his card. The pen was out of ink. Of course it was out of ink. I went into the kitchen and started digging through the drawers, and then stopped for some reason. I heard something, like a moan or a whisper. But I kept digging. He’s ‘fine’, he can’t be in pain, he has a constant stream of morphine going and he hasn’t made a sound for days. I grabbed a pen, then dropped it and sprinted to his room.
He was dead.
“No, no, no, no. Dad, NO! You promised! Did you seriously just wait until I left the fucking room to leave me? I sat down next to him, studying his face for some sign of anything. There was nothing. He was gone.
I just started yelling at him. “I came home for you. I made everyone miss the movie for you. You were supposed to wait for me to get back, that was the deal. We made a deal!”
The tears I had been stuffing down for months unleashed. I was actually grateful I was alone, but I was furious with him, with myself. He was leaving me for good and he couldn’t just give me this one thing. He couldn’t just let me say good-bye. But maybe he did? Maybe he finally worked up the courage to let go, and I then I left him?
I felt something, a gentle squeeze of my hand. I stopped crying and quickly looked back up as one final tear made its way down his cheek.
That was 25 years ago. Yes, it was terrible, but it was so long ago, I don’t really even think about it anymore. The reality is, I haven’t had a dad longer than I had one.
Now that I see my friends worrying about how badly they are fucking up their kids, I wonder what issues of mine are directly linked to him. My dad was an amazing father, but not always a great one. He, like all of us, had many demons, which he never quite figured out how to conquer. Whether he was drunk or sober, wealthy or broke, in love or lonely, I just never felt like he ever really found happy.
I’m sure this negatively impacted me somehow I’m sure all of it did, But it also what made him and our relationship beautiful. I’m not sure if he was truly happy, but he made sure everyone else was. His life could be in shambles, but he would make sure yours was going to be fine. He could be reckless and stubborn, but he was the person you went to when there was nowhere else to go. He was patient and kind and generous. And although he was guarded with his words, you never questioned how he felt about you. I say ‘you’ because he wasn’t just my dad. He was my friends’ dad and my neighbors’ dad, and he was everyone’s friend.
Now, for me, Father’s Day is just another day. But for the first time in decades, I actually felt a twinge of guilt when I realized what day it was. I haven’t thought about him much lately, not at all, really. I kind of just feel like he isn’t a part of my life anymore. He’s just gone.
This actually made me laugh. Was I really that far gone that I couldn’t see what was so blatantly obvious? My dad has never been so present in my life as he has over the past few months- in the people who have come into my life, the beautiful places I have landed, and the books that have ended up in my hands; in a smile that made me feel, or a word that made me hope, or a sunset that assured me this pain was going to stop.
I truly believe he thought he was going to lose me, so he immersed himself so fully in my day to day that there could be no doubt in my mind. He was going to wait until I came back… to remind me that he never left.
WARNING: Some of the content below is very graphic…and it’s sad. It just is.
Mine. Yours. Theirs. Is it real? Is it worse? Can you understand mine? Can I yours? Does hearing mine make yours hurt less?
When I was little, there was a lot of it. But I didn’t understand it, really. And I certainly didn’t talk about it, mainly because I was horrified. But also because I knew that it would make people sad to think of me being sad. I didn’t want anyone else to be sad, so I just didn’t talk about it.
This was the impetus for what came to be a lifelong survival tactic. I would seek out others whose pain I thought to be worse than mine, whose pain was real. This would give me a perspective of how trivial mine really was. Maybe I could even help them feel better. Maybe I would feel better. Sometimes I did. And sometimes it all just made me feel worse.
Admittedly, for the most part, I really did not believe pain was relative. I tried to empathize with my friend’s sadness over a broken heart or a fight with her boyfriend. I tried to understand why she was so sad and thought her life was ending. I mean, I tried. But I couldn’t shut off the voice inside. “Really? You think that is pain? I could tell you what real pain is, but it will make you sad. And I don’t want you to be sad”.
On the rare occasion that I did share my story, it was done with a tone of indifference so as to not make anyone uncomfortable. I would remain detached while describing the last few minutes before my father’s last breath. I would even leave space for some comic relief if necessary. I would be laughing and my friends would be crying. But I didn’t want them to cry. So I quit telling my story.
I trained myself just to listen, to offer advice when appropriate, to empathize but not draw too much attention to my pain. I just listened to yours. Yours could not possibly be as bad, right? Besides, I needed to cry, and I could only cry because of your pain, not mine.
As bad. This is what gives pain its power. I compare mine to yours, you compare yours to mine- whether to minimize or justify it.
We all know we are going through different versions of the same thing, that we all have the same pain to varying degrees. We all know sharing our stories and naming our pain will help us heal.
But we all still default to either believing ours is all there is or that it’s nothing at all. We don’t want to be the victim. We don’t want to be the cause of more sadness or pain. We don’t want to be exposed or weak or stigmatized. We don’t want to be in pain.
So this is how I tried to navigate my story, constantly trying to find ways to deal with it while not exposing it. I minimized it, numbed it or found ways to trivialize it.
But this time I can’t. This time, it’s too big. There is no hiding it. It can’t be minimized. And I can’t find anyone else’s that will allow me to trivialize it or help me gain a perspective. This time, I have to go through it, I have to feel my way through it. And if you read this, you’ll probably feel it, too
I was flying back to Texas after spending a month in Paris. How bad could my life be, right? I just spent a month in Paris. But I spent it by myself, completely heartbroken in almost every way possible.
On the flight to Paris, I truly believed we were going to make it. He was going to do whatever it took to make it work. Maybe he could even come meet me in Paris at some point. But none of that happened.
I was furious with myself. Not because I was sad. I deserved to be sad. I was furious that I could not stop crying over him, while their parents most likely could not stop crying over them. All three of them. The three of them who were now dead.
But I wasn’t. I was alive, flying back from Paris, all limbs and organs intact, save my heart.
I was in the right-hand lane, trailing about 6 feet behind the car in front of me that was in the left-hand lane. I was a quarter of a mile away from my apartment.
I heard them hit. And then they hit me. And within an hour they were all dead.
I still don’t understand what happened exactly. I have replayed it over and over in my head, trying to make sense of it. What I was told was that a car full of three 22-year old boys swerved into our lane coming from the opposite direction going 80 miles/hour.
They hit the girl in front of me and then catapulted into my lane. The car spun around 180 degrees, and I slammed into the two boys on the driver’s side. I didn’t have time to hit the brakes. They were my brakes. And they all died.
I tried to throw the door open to get out. It was jammed shut. I finally stumbled out and just stood there, paralyzed, trying to get my head around what had just happened.
Everything was a complete blur of lights and distorted shapes- scraps of metal, severed bumpers, a license plate crumpled up like a piece of trash, orange shards of broken headlights… the smell of gas fumes, smoke, hot oil, and burnt rubber.
I remember thinking how quiet it was. I can still hear the slight buzz of traffic off in the distance and the sound of fluids spewing out of our cars. The crunch of shattered glass underneath my feet seemed offensive as I made my way over to the side of the road.
I tried to take it all in, not even seeing the crowd of people gathering around me. I frantically began to call the only person I knew in Arlington. He didn’t answer. So I just sat there, methodically pulling cold blades of grass from the ground beneath me, my entire body violently shaking, either from shock or the relentless chill that blanketed the scene of mutilated cars strewn out before me. All were now empty, save one.
The driver, his head, was distorted in a way that reminded me of a painting by Salvador Dalí, tilted back as if it was melting down his back. Blood poured out of every part of him. The boy directly behind him, the other one I hit, his head was thrown back too but facing away from me. I could see his left arm dangling out of the shattered window, blood pouring out of every part of him.
And I just sat there, watching, pulling cold, wet blades of grass out of the ground. I watched the policeman approach the car to access the damage. I watched the fire department arrive and begin to cut them out of the car. I watched them put the boys onto stretchers and push them into the ambulance. I watched the ambulance drive away.
I found out later that night that there was a third boy in the car. They didn’t even bother pulling him out.
I continued to sit there, waiting for him to call me back until someone finally realized it was me who was driving the other car.
Two hours later, after enduring question after question, I was asked the final one.
“Do you have anyone who can come pick you up?”
“Can we give you a ride?”
“No. I’m okay. Thanks. I can walk.”
The onsite counselor finally insisted on taking me home. She was understandably worried.
“Do you have anyone who can come over?”
“What about friends or family you can call?”
“Um, yeah… I will try to call someone. Don’t worry. I’ll be fine. I mean, I’m still alive, right? I’ll be fine.”
I have this weird thing I do on planes. Sometimes I just can’t commit to watching a movie, so I watch whatever the person next to me is watching. I can’t hear it, so I just kind of make up my own story and dialogue.
We were about an hour away from the Dallas/Ft.Worth airport, and I was in an absolute state of panic about what I had to deal with after we landed. So I watched his movie instead. I hated it. It was stupid. Just another story. One poor kid, trying to fight back, experiencing disappointment and heartbreak. Oh, and his girlfriend died. That was legitimately sad. But it happens. Death happens. He might as well learn how to deal with it.
It finally ended and the man took off his headphones. I looked at him and made some asinine comment about how trivial it all is.
“It’s life, man. It’s pain. It’s real”, he replied.
“I’m sorry, but no it’s not. It’s a movie. You want to hear real? I was in a car accident a month ago and the three boys I hit died. They all died”. That is pain. That is real.”
He closed his laptop and looked back up at me, straight in the eyes, his pain palpable.
“God, I am so sorry. He looked back down, and repeated, almost in a whisper, “I’m sorry. I know what you are feeling. I know because my wife and son were in a car accident. My wife and son, they both died in that car accident.”
I shut my mouth, and I cried. In a matter of seconds, my pain became insignificant and his pain was all that mattered.
Pain. When is it enough to be justified, to be real? I keep on hearing stories like this. About pain. Mine, yours, theirs- all of us wondering what the fuck we are supposed to do with it. We feel it, we witness it, we create it, and we try to heal it.
But it is always there, somewhere on the spectrum. And it hurts like the worst kind of hell. But we need to live our lives, so we try to hide it, dismiss it, numb it, or hopefully heal it.
I’m not quite sure how to do that, exactly, heal it. I do know, however, how I won’t – by hiding it. dismissing it, or numbing it. I’ve tried those. They only feed it. They are what sustain it.
What I have finally come to terms with is this: all of our pain is justified, all of it is real. We all bleed the same. The source of our wounds may differ. The extent of the damage may differ, but in the end, the results are the same. We bleed and it hurts. And we have to find a way to make it stop if we are going to survive.
So I’m telling you about mine, hoping it will help to stop yours. And I’m asking you to tell me yours, hoping it will help to stop mine.
This is what I want for all of us. I just want it to stop. This is why I am finally telling my story. I want us all to transform our pain into a beautiful scar that we can someday wear proudly, to show to others and utilize as a means to share our wisdom and experience.
But this won’t happen if we don’t give ourselves permission to feel it. To acknowledge that what is happening or has happened is terrible. To allow ourselves to feel sad and angry and resentful and, yes, like a victim.
We are victims of our pain. But our pain does not make us victims.
Our pain makes us real. It gives us depth and courage and resilience. It gives us the opportunity to gain perspective and to practice empathy. It dissuades us from judging too harshly or minimalizing our own or others’ experiences.
Our pain is what makes us human. It is why I believe we are here, to experience the full spectrum of emotions, to learn from them, grow from them and use them to help others do the same.
“How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot! The world forgetting, by the world forgot. Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind! Each prayer accepted, and each wish resigned.” – Alexander Pope
I have been staring at this blank page for what seems like hours. I can’t stop thinking about a movie I saw over a decade ago. For those of you who have seen Eternal Sunshine, that should set the tone here.
Yesterday, I caught myself laughing, like really laughing. It felt strange but vaguely familiar. A glimpse of color.
And then today happened. Today there is no color. Grey doesn’t count as a color.
I can recognize that a bad day isn’t cause for panic. Progress has been made. I think. But the severity of it, of this, when it starts to forge its way to the front. Nothing else can be seen or thought or felt.
In my defense, there are moments that are beyond serendipitous. A song I haven’t heard for a decade is now suddenly everywhere. No, it’s not a coincidence. On the favorite playlist of my local coffee shop. Okay, fair. But the hardware store. Really? Three people in three weeks have introduced themselves with the same name. 480 Facebook friends, a tribe I have been building for almost 40 years. Not one of them has his name. Not one.
Depending on the day, I find these coincidences either comical, or I find the rabbit hole. The dissent is quick, and anything but painless.
Now no place is safe. A friend suggests my favorite tapas bar. Oh shit, no, sorry. Okay, how about that place we love on Broadway? Fuck, right. Seventeenth street work? Wash Park? We went to a movie instead.
It’s not always like this. Until it is again. Someone next to me has cinnamon on their latte. The grocery store. Utter disaster. Thrift store. Nope. A fucking bubble gum wrapper. Fallout.
Yes, I have developed some effective coping mechanisms- some healthy, some not so much. But the prospect, the hope, of arriving at the other side intact, unscathed, seems almost laughable if not impossible right now.
Maybe the initial shock has worn off and now I am just acclimating to the resignation. Well this feels worse. The flashes of color and feelings that would normally presuppose happiness, or at least some sense of peace, are now juxtaposed against the prolonged darkness that looms over the relinquishing of hope for something that will never be and never was.
Never was. I close my eyes sometimes and try to imagine it. Eternal sunshine.
Would I do it? Would I erase the past 9 months if I could? The first 3 would go too. Even better, there would be no reason to waste the 6 months that followed trying to replicate them. All the time spent creating ‘us’, memorizing each other’s every thought, expression, scar, and curve would no longer be the justification for spending twice as long trying to fight for it and even longer trying to forget it. If I could get almost a year of my life back without ‘us’ ever happening. Would I?
I know, this is absurd and pointless. There is no ‘erasing company’ to speed up this forgetting process. And yes, I would consider it. And yes, that goes against everything I have been encouraging myself, and you, to do. Find the gift. Take the lessons learned. Be grateful for the strength, insight, courage… all of the amazing attributes you gained because you went through fucking hell and survived.
All still apply. Just not today.
My dear friend sent me this quote this week. It physically hurt to read because it is absolutely true.
The same day, another dear friend forwarded me this article. I was only able to skim it, precisely because it was so not what I wanted to hear…because it is absolutely true.
“Love is rarely mutual, which is why when it is, magic explodes in the brilliance of stardust…For when a man falls in love with a woman [or a woman with a man], nothing can stand in the way. Not life, obstacles or even one’s ideas of readiness or worthiness. Nothing. Because as much as we’d like to think otherwise, there is no real reason that he’s not be beside you this evening, other than the fact that he’d rather be somewhere else.” – Kate Rose
Stings doesn’t it? To the point that you start to cycle right back to the denial phase. It can’t be that he/she would rather be somewhere else, with someone else. It’s the circumstances, the timing, the whatever other possible reason you can come up with that will justify why he/she isn’t here.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, I am not at the denial stage any longer. I am very clear that he does not want to be by my side. I’m not interested in denying it anymore. But I’m not ready to accept it either. I’m clinging to the absurd.
I want the sun to shine again. And that’s all I want to remember. Just the sun. Not the grey.
I guess this is what we do for awhile, a morbid dance of sorts. We can’t erase the memories, so we have to manipulate them a bit, maybe leave out the parts that still can’t be felt or insert a lens that will shift the focus, change the interpretation to something more manageable.
Eventually, though, the reality of what really occurred will be very clear and we finally won’t want to manipulate anything. That is the hope, anyway. We will remember how we really felt when they were beside us. The feelings that we are still allowing to dominate our memories- joy, happiness, comfort- were so few and so fleeting. They were almost always tainted with insecurity and an underlying fear of what we knew was to come. That is what we will remember. And that is why we will be with someone with whom we will experience what is truly love, in the moment, not in a memory.
So for the sake of progress, I’ll leave you with this.
If we had not endured the very worst, we would have settled for something other than the very best. He/she was not the one we have been summoning. A master at disguise, no question, but absurd, impossible, and absolutely necessary to pave the way for what is to come. And it won’t be painful, and it won’t be fleeting, and it most certainly will not be grey.
Read Kate Rose’s entire article here: If He Wanted to Be with You Then He Would Be: https://www.elephantjournal.com/2017/02/if-he-wanted-to-be-with-you-then-he-would-be
“You did too much. You tried too hard. The only thing you didn’t do is walk away. So walk away. It’s going to hurt like hell. Do it anyway. Do it with grace. Do it with love. Do it knowing you did everything you could.”
My dog is dying. I didn’t want to admit it. But I knew it. It is why I postponed my move to Paris. It is why I just signed a lease on the same street where he lives. I knew our time was limited, but I thought we had more time, more walks to the coffee shop- the B sitting outside with me, tucked under my legs. He was supposed to be my wingman for this new chapter. He was supposed to be my rock while I try to heal and start over.
I am absolutely furious with myself for spending his last six months away from him. I left him when he needed me most. The irony is almost comical. I left Biscuit and moved to Arlington, Texas for a guy who left me a week later, then left Arlington, Texas to come back to Biscuit, who is now leaving me a week later.
When Eric told me he wasn’t doing well. He calmly said, “I think you should consider moving back early”. That is all I needed to hear. Eric never wants me to worry or hurt. I know that. I knew that every day I called to check on Biscuit, he wasn’t being 100% straight with me. But I still called every day. The guilt I felt because I wasn’t there, when I knew I was losing him, was excruciating. Deluding myself that he was going to be fine was just easier.
So I packed up my apartment the next day and drove out of Arlington, Texas, back home. He is what motivated me to do one of the hardest things I have ever done- give up on a dream, on love.
Two days and 781 miles later, I walked in the door of my home that is no longer mine. Everything had changed, except for Biscuit’s reaction when I walked in the door. He slowly got up and came straight to me. Tail wagging, huge smile, nose forcing its way into my hand for some long-awaited pets. Eric said he hadn’t done that in weeks. Within 2 days we were back to our routine- him patiently waiting for me to get myself out the door, our walk to the coffee shop, that now took twice as long , him stopping at his favorite rock, then his favorite bush (pine, he’s totally obsessed with pine), the realtor’s office, where he bolts in, pummels the poor man trying to get his work done, and begs relentlessly until he gets a treat.
We get to the coffee shop, take our normal spot next to the tree, and our day continued as it had countless times before. I knew I had made the right decision. Maybe he was just waiting for me to come back?
And then we began our walk back home. I could see the pain in his eyes with each step he took, even though he maintained that same precious smile he always had. By the time we got to his house, I was literally holding him up, almost carrying my pup that weighs more than I do. We barely made it inside the gate. And that was it.
He hasn’t moved since.
Maybe he was just waiting for me to come back.
I slept outside with him until we finally carried him in on a stretcher and have been cuddled up next to him for a solid 24 hours. Waiting.
Is it insane that I still have hope? He has done this before and he came back. What if we end it and he could have come back?
So, when do you call it? When do you throw in the towel and do the unthinkable? When do you walk away and stop fighting?
It feels absolutely impossible.
The fact of the matter is, I’m so very tired of letting shit go. I don’t want to anymore. I have let so much go in the past year. They say things come in 3’s. This is the 5th terrible, heartbreaking thing that has happened this year. This has to stop at some point, right? A person can only take so much. I don’t care about the whole ‘you only are given what you can handle’ bullshit. Isn’t there a breaking point? Isn’t this why people snap and truly do throw in the towel? I don’t want to break. I have shit to do. And I’m tired of crying. And I’m tired of fighting the urge to ask, ‘why me’? I’m just tired.
So do I do it? Do I give up on him?
Clearly, he can’t tell us that he is in pain, or if it’s to the point that he just wants it to stop. But what if he isn’t ready? What if he gets better? What if he wants to keep fighting and we gave up on him too soon?
That is not what I do. I don’t give up. To a fault. I fight- for love, for life, for dreams, for people…I fucking fight.
I know we all have to do this. It’s the whole courage thing. We have to face our fears- our fear of being alone, of failing, of admitting defeat, of being the one who gave up, of never seeing the person we love again.
I have always tried to use pain as a guide. If I am causing someone pain, or if I am experiencing pain beyond what is acceptable, if there is little chance of getting back to a place that was once beautiful, then I know it is time to let go.
That is the intention. That is not what I am able to do when dealing with the latter. I hold on too long- to love, to life, to a dream or a person. I stay too long. I fight too long. Even when that person has long since stopped fighting for me.
I know this is selfish. That person is trying to let go of something that isn’t serving them anymore- my dad holding on, for me; my husband holding on, for me, my puppy, for me. And I encourage them. I make them keep fighting, when I know what they really want is for me to just let go.
He is telling me he doesn’t want to fight anymore. It is clear. He’s holding on, partially for me, and I’m letting him.
So now I have to let him go.