Him

You say it’s time. You’re asking for freedom. A chance to start living.
Here I sit, frozen between worlds. Both unclear right now.

I don’t want to forget him. I don’t want to let him go. I know I have to, but please – not yet. 

I don’t want to pretend like he never existed. I don’t want to act like he didn’t mean something to me.
I travelled oceans and gave up time to share life with him.
I would give my world to see him again, talk to him, love him, have another try at this, working hard to do it better. I’d ask him to stay. 

Please stay.

… But it was never really true – what I was seeing, was it? Not like I thought.
It’s not fair of me to ask.
I won’t.

I look at our old photographs; his stormy eyes under commanding brows, perfectly maintained scruff on his face, firm shoulders. His hair always done just right in some trendy style.

A face that was always charming. Better looking than I ever imagined my own to be. He was a movie star to me. I felt lucky by his side.

The wedding photos of these 2 young strangers in love, excited for a partnership that could lead to adventures unknown. One perfect white dress, one sage green tie we carefully chose.

Flashes of life with carefree smiles, sombreros & party drinks, shaving cream moustaches, contorted faces, the time we dressed as Ricky & Lucy for Halloween.

Images of him proudly holding our newborn sons, of candid moments caught building Legos, on family hikes together. Loving glances and warm, safe hugs while we slept. Holidays by the tree, countless birthday celebrations and exciting vacations.

Family portraits that looked more perfect in print than the moments taking them ever were. But the shot always seemed worth it. A family image of what I was always working towards. Of our potential.

I see them now and wonder what I’m meant to think, what should I see?
The pictures look odd. I can’t figure out what is there. Something inside me feels crippled with confusion.
A feeling of inadequacy. How did we live so close & I not know?

I hadn’t known of his unhappiness. His pain.
The parallel life lived right under my nose. Under his.
I didn’t notice the person I saw then was never really him.
I thought it was all of him.
It was all of me. All I had.

I scramble quickly trying to control the visceral reactions inside me when I look back, when I remember.
My body takes over in a way I can’t govern. It pangs, aches, rattles.
It tries to tell me something my brain is incapable of processing yet, something it doesn’t want to know, to believe is real.
It screams for me to protest loudly. It wills me to acquiesce.
I keep trying to step outside the moment and see the reality. Attempt to absorb the truth.

But who are you now?
What will you mean to me if you’re not him?

I’ll no longer lay by his side. He won’t feel the same when we hug. I won’t inhale the cologne on his skin. We’ll never hold hands or kiss goodnight like we used to. These moments are gone forever. I don’t get one more chance – at least with him.

There’s no moving forward in the old direction. No husband & wife to build a life together.
A porch swing left empty.
We’ll never grow old sitting side by side while we recall our grand love story that stood the test of time. 

It couldn’t.

These plans will be replaced with new ones, composed of a partnership we never imagined. One we’ll need time to grow in to.
It will work, we’ll make it work, but it wasn’t how I wanted this to go.

We were one for a time. We didn’t make the most of it then.
Too broken to notice the partners we had in each other.
Too hurt and confused from lives before to know the worth of us.
Inexperienced at life in many ways that surprise us now. 

If only we’d been these people then – would it have mattered? Could it have changed any of this?
Probably not. 

I’ll wonder what to make of our story for a lifetime. One planned alongside him no longer an option.
You’ll still be here, of course. I’ll get to know you by the particles you’ve always been made of, just rearranged. 

With time, I’ll no longer see what I thought he should have been, but who you are. The person you longed to be.
It won’t be tomorrow, or maybe even years from now, but one day I’ll see you fully again.

It’s too hard now.
I haven’t properly grieved his memory. It’s not that simple.
I don’t know when I’ll get over him. I loved him.
I’ll love you too.
When the grief subsides and the memories turn back to rose-coloured. 

It’s not time for me to move on yet. I’m not ready.
I’m forcing myself to try.

I know I can’t wait around for him. I know he’s not coming back.
I know he won’t walk through my door anymore, won’t greet me at the end of each day. He won’t put on his best suit and take me to Christmas parties on his arm. No more deep, comforting voice to sooth me, no loving gaze from his eyes.

He’s gone. He wants to be gone. He needs to be. 

I can’t drag around his memory heavy in my heart forever.
I don’t know how long it will take to let go.
If I don’t, though – it’ll kill me too.

So, what now? How do I do this next part? I’m not prepared for this.
How am I supposed to give him up & let you in? I don’t know you!
I want to see you. Acknowledge you.
I know you must have always been around from the start, at least in whatever way you could be. But you’re new to me. A stranger I’m not familiar with. One I worry I don’t want to know. 

You’re the one who took him from me.
I know it wasn’t to hurt me. It was never about me.
It was because you couldn’t bear the pain he was bringing you.
You were drowning.
He had to die for you to live.

I’m still left without him, though.
I’m still here with his things left in my closet. His pictures on my walls.
Still here singing some dumb Third Eye Blind song that reminds me of him. When we met. When he filled up my senses & I drank him in.
I think I hate that song now. I wish I didn’t.

I don’t want to hate my memories. I don’t want to get a stomach ache when I see 12 years of my life in some form or another, reminding me of who I thought we all were. What we meant. Where we were headed.

I hope there’s a day I let go of the pain. I want to let it go now. I haven’t found a way yet.
I hope when I see you, when I recognise you again, I’ll love all our memories for what they are.
When they don’t feel like sinking boulders of what should have been. They won’t disappoint. They won’t hurt.

Someday they’ll remind me of a man I once loved in my youth. The father of my children, a great love of my life. The right person for the right time to build the right me. To build the right you?
Someday we’ll sit as old friends, natural in each other’s company. Strangers no more.

I’ll visit him from time to time in visions of past lives. I’ll love him for what he was to me. I shouldn’t let that part go. Parts that remind me of a love story I was proud of. It’s a great story.

I know it’s time to let you start living. Time for me to figure out how to do it without him. Who I am without him. I guess you’re in the same boat.

So, I’ll work on saying goodbye. I’ll work on getting to know you.
I know I’ll love you too.
Just give me a little more time to come out of the dream.

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9 comments

  1. It breaks my heart to be so far away and so helpless to do anything of real substance to help stop your hurt. I love you both so much and wish that I could just take it all away so you could be whole and happy together again. That was an amazing piece – it really drew me in to your emotion, even if it was just a fraction of how you feel.

  2. I’m so sorry to hear about this and I cannot even begin to imagine how you must be feeling. It breaks my heart to think about it. My prayers are with you through this very difficult time. 💕

  3. Beautiful Laura. I feel such a heavy sense of grief for you. You’ve worded this perfectly. I’m so sorry for your loss, and look optimistically forward with you to see how that grief evolves into your new relationship with Nicole. Lots of hugs Xoxox

  4. I cannot put into coherent words how proud I am of you. This journey of yours is arduous, unfair, bewildering but real. The trail of thoughts and memories is both devastating and precious…such juxtaposition we cannot possibly prepare for. This is not what I imagined for you as I held you in my arms when you were a child, not what I would ever imagined for you as I farewelled you in marriage. Not what I wanted for you as you started on your independent life adventure so far from home and family. Not what I wanted for you as a wife and mother. I pray for you, I cry for you, I hurt for you. I love you, always remember that!

  5. This is beautiful Laura! I was really pulled in with your words, I can’t imagine what you must be feeling. My heart aches for you and your family in this difficult time. I wish I was closer to help support you! I’m keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

  6. The lump in my throat is massive and i can’t help my wet cheeks. I feel so so sad for your pain. I wish I could take it away and somehow make things right again.
    Thank you for letting me in, for helping me see through your words (you have the most phenomenal writing ability).
    Love you since ever and forever, please take care my friend xx

  7. This testimony is what I imagined how you must feel about your life with your sons and the fading image of Nick and the emergence of Nicole. How to explain it to the boys is not a job I envy either of you. I’ve loved your zest for life when I first met you and I know it’s what will help you to come to terms with the new you and move on with your life. You deserve happiness and peace too. So do the boys, the remainders of the best of Nick and the best of you. Your love and guidance through the journey of life is what they need to be the best they can be as Chaves sons. I admire your courage, your pain, your heartache, your compassion and your love. I will have your back as I have pledged to have Nicole”s too. Grammar Carmen loves you and prays for you and the boys too.

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