July 9th was the anniversary of Sara, my friend who decided to leave this world by her own hand.
I wrote two posts about it specifically and re-reading them now I am sobbing. I miss her and I am reminded of how great her pain must have been in order to remover herself from her daughter’s life. And then I am reminded of The Neighbor and his role in my life during that time.
The anniversary of my father’s death was the 8th, 2006. TN broke my heart before, during, and after the 4th of 2012. I had to put my beloved kitty down the 6th, 2012. My most-loved grandmother’s birthday is also the 9th and she’s been gone for 6 years now.
Grief is a tricky thing. There are stages, yes, but they are not linear, nor are they finite. You might come to a calm place of resolution, but that doesn’t mean you won’t come back around to denial and anger and all the sadness. I learned this with my father.
He was a cruel, awful man and wasn’t in my life when I got a call from a friend of his one dark February night. He was riddled with cancer and in the hospital, she said. “This is part of his plan,” she said tearfully. “It’s bad. That’s why I’m calling you now.”
He’d moved in with my grandmother, the one whose birthday is in July, to take care of her in her decline, but instead was struck down with his own illness. His older brother was dying of cancer, too. A man who never drank or smoked a day in his life. My father, on the other hand had dabbled liberally throughout his life. Funny how that works.
His passing was excruciating. For him, for all of us. My grandmother was out of her mind; her older son had passed finally in March and my father, her baby, was in hospice by April. My sister, mother, exhusband, and I flew out to see him the minute he was there and we spent a week in a boozy, sobbing haze. I made my peace with him, for him, but left knowing that had he somehow miraculously survived the gallbladder, liver, lymph node, lung, and brain cancer that he wouldn’t be invited back into my life. But I’d told him he would, because that’s what he needed to hear.
It was devastating on a cellular level to watch him truly disappear from my life; the little girl in me truly losing all hope of ever having a real father, a safe, loving man. But go he did, because that’s what happens in life: people go.
Two years later I had to put my four-legged best friend down. He, too, was riddled with cancer and it was during the mourning of his innocent soul that I realized that grief is stored in the same place inside of us and when you open the drawer to access one file, the others all open, too.
I was confused at the intertwined grief I experienced: on the one hand so pure and loving for my dog and the other so conflicted with rage and loss for my father.
As the beginning of July began to become more and more complicated for me that grief drawer got bigger and bigger. This year I’ve added The Neighbor’s birthday, the 4th.
I want to slam it shut, but I can barely move, barely think. I waited all day yesterday for the impulse to write to come to me and I couldn’t lift my hands to press the keys. I stayed busy with errands and a meeting and a long run in the hot sun under the serenading cicadas. I ended the day with some white wine, two hot pink Benadryls and a chick flick.
I’ve been crying about Sara and my father, TN and my grandmother. Even the dog I lost in November of 2008 because he’s in there with all of them. I feel like I’m living off of sadness like a vampire.
I have dreams about men with giant cocks where I am desperate for it, for them, but the men don’t want me. Or I have dreams of mistaken identity and I end up with the wrong man again and again, but I scramble to cover and make it all ok.
I made plans with a nice man for a drink tonight, but I don’t want to go. I also made plans for The Lawyer to come down Friday, but I don’t want to do that, either. I feel trapped in a place of trying to move forward, but my legs are gone.
I told one fellow who checked in with me the other day, the rapey guy, that I had recently discovered I was much more heartbroken than I knew and that I wasn’t ready to date others. He sent a shitty reply saying he smelled bullshit. I didn’t respond.
A friend of mind said something to me the other day that’s been rattling around in my head ever since.
“I’m not surprised that you’re still in love with TN. He gave you a lot of things that you really value and he withheld some things that, whether you like it or not, you seem to be drawn to the withholding of. It sounds tortuous and awful — and I’m sorry. I wish you didn’t have to endure it, but hey, we all endure our shit.”
This is about the most accurate description of my draw to TN that I’ve ever heard. It’s the combination of the push/pull that has me on the hook. I can’t get away from trying to solve this riddle. Why doesn’t he want me? I must figure it out! I am like a dog with a bone. But then he is filled with things I do want. I wish so badly that he will wake up, stop being a shit, and come back to me. A dangerous wish, I know. Like wishing to know what people are thinking.
I’ve been catching up on life, attacking the pile of papers I’ve been moving around the house for the last six months, and in this stack I found the season passes I bought for TN, Peyton and I last summer to an amusement park nearby. We never went for some reason. Too busy, TN just couldn’t be bothered, I don’t remember. Seeing his name on the ticket made my stomach clench. I also came across foreign handwriting on a piece of paper with my budget. He was staunchly supportive of me when I struggled and he’d grabbed the sheet of paper and jotted down everything I was worrying about the night he’d come over to discover me in a tizzy about money.
I burned them both in the dog’s water bowl and set off the fire alarm for a few piercing shrieks. I felt empty when I was done, but like it was the right thing to do.
I wish I could burn my desire for huge cock. It haunts me and reminds me that no one is him again and again. It’s an exhausting and sad loop.
I haven’t heard from him since our trip down memory lane. It hurts, this silence, but of course he wouldn’t contact me. It makes it all the more obvious to me that we were actually never really together. We never decided to be boyfriend/girlfriend. I drove us forward after we said I love you and he was the same as always: dragging his feet, not wanting to commit, forever married to the belief that I wasn’t the right one for him. I can see it more plainly now than ever before.
He never wanted to date me. He loved me, yes, but he didn’t want to be my boyfriend. My hope that loving each other would change the direction of our relationship out-weighed logic, clearly. I was going to muscle us into something regardless of what he wanted. He was overpowered and maybe even a little hopeful himself. I don’t know.
So here I am, nearly 6 months from the day he said he wanted a break from me and I am as heartbroken as ever. I long for a man exactly like him, minus all the bad stuff, thus keeping the loss of him front and center.
I’ll know I’ll have moved on when I can tell myself the man I want isn’t defined by his similarities to The Neighbor, either great or small. However, that time isn’t now. Right now it’s July and July hates me.
Fuck you, July. You can go to hell.