Grief is an assailant in the night, one that comes from nowhere, attacks with pitiless ferocity, and leaves you bleeding and gasping for breath.
I thought I'd kept a step ahead of my own personal demon, was living a life that filled me up with accomplishment, acceptance, friends, challenges, and experiences I never knew existed. I thought I'd done a pretty good job of leaving that other life behind like an already-read book that wasn't worth carrying along on the rest of the journey. I thought I was making progress and maybe I was, but the assailant took a mighty swing at me last week and took me to my knees.
A friend asked to see my house, the one I still co-own in Washington state, and I had no idea I would be blindsided. There was my house on Google Earth, with our motorhome in the drive, waiting to be sold "due to divorce" as he phrased the Craigs List ad (and left town so I could be the one to deal with all the lookers). There were the two raspberry patches that I weeded and tied up and harvested buckets of berries from. There were the apple trees that I picked bushels from, then peeled and cut and canned for days and days. There was the indestructible rhubarb that produced gorgeous stalks from spring to fall. There was the multitude of rhododendrons that I pruned and shaped. There was the grass I cut all the time I was killing myself at our bakery. There was the insidious English ivy that I tried and failed to eradicate. I saw all this in about fifteen seconds of looking at the computer screen. I saw two and a half years of living in that house and I was knocked flat.
I've shown people the interior of the house, too, especially the kitchen that we finished remodeling about six weeks before I learned my life would inexorably change. I loved that kitchen and seeing the photos I took of it before, during, and after the remodel always makes me sad. Sad because of the loss of what I expected my life to be, sad because I was so ignorant and trusting that I never saw it coming, sad because it was perfect but it was a veneer over rot. But it was seeing the house and the yard and the gleam of the canal from the air that took me down. It was a tsunami of anger, sadness, hatred, and bitterness more vile than I could imagine. I felt like stone, red-hot and nearly immobilized, and could do nothing but sit and cry.
I hate with fierce passion the control this situation still has over me. When I said to my friend that I'd told the ex-husband some time ago that I got it, that I understood why he did what he did, and that I forgave him for it, all my friend said was that I was still bitter. He was right. I don't know how forgiveness works after all. I thought I could will it but I can't. I don't know how to walk this path with heart I thought I was so firmly on. I don't know where to go from here but the only way that seems open is forward. I guess that's where I'll go.
Thought of the day:
Perhaps I am stronger than I think. (Thomas Merton)