I went to church three times on Christmas Eve. Each one, I tried to focus on others, on being thankful but something - preacher’s sermon telling me if I was struggling it was ok and the congregation was there for me, the 5-year-old Burmese girl who sat on my lap this morning during the entire mass - I was hoping for a church experience that wouldn't make me think of me so much. I was trying not to be self-centered. Damn.
As I got ready for the third Christmas service of the day with my sister Michelle and her family, I thought “maybe I should be more contemplative about my prayers.” And I asked - so do I pray to get over this sadness and pain and get over B or do I pray for him to realize he doesn’t want to live without me by his side?
I didn’t figure out the answer that night. Mostly frog eyes. I was surrounded by family but felt alone as families held hands during The Lord’s Prayer. I looked around and all I saw were families and couples showing each other love. Michelle hugged me. Niece Amanda, and momma to Max and Luke, squeezed me tight. My nephew Josh handed me his son as tears streamed down my face.
Anji, my dear friend and neighbor since 9th grade, said Christmas Eve is the loneliest day since her husband passed away. She too is surrounded by family - her children and a grandchild and her parents and brother and sister and their families. But, she said, it feels so lonely.
Anji also said I’m not going to get over B until I want to get over him, until I want it to be over. “You’re still in this relationship,” she said. It’s true. There will be a trigger, wise Anji said.
I’m having trouble with the wanting to get on part. I don’t want to. I don’t want to have to. You know this, of course. I know this.
B says he misses me and that it’s difficult and that he struggles everyday. And I think, but you did this. It’s a self-inflicted struggle. You can undo it, Brendan. I hate problems that can be eased but the person who could resolve it won't. I know there's more to it, but it seems simple to me. Problem: Boy loves girl. Girl loves Boy. Boy misses girl. Girl misses Boy. Solution: Boy and Girl get back to the same place. The rest of the issues - location, stuff, holidays, kids, jobs - can be worked out together.
Lately I get a little mad at B for that - not just for the leaving, he almost gets a pass with the hurricane and house destroyed and all that - almost. But the leaving me part and then seemingly remaining determined to continue the struggle because he wants to not love me - well that’s tough. I’m not going to help him get over me that’s for sure - I mean I’m amazing. And I love him. I want him to come back and be with me forever. I guess I sound pathetic - I told Anji all this. She and I agreed we love who we love.
Of course anyone who knows Anji knows she is not just going to let me walk away without asking tough questions (questions I acknowledge and appreciate that all my wonderful friends have been asking). The big thought to consider is this: Anji asked, as everyone asks, why do I want to be with someone who is trying to get over me? He is choosing to get over me. He wants to get over me. He is throwing away all the love I have given him, all the love I have offered.
I mean that just stinks.
I don’t want to have to get over him - that’s the problem. I don’t want to stop communicating and being us. I want him to come back. I guess I need to tell myself everyday that he’s not coming back until maybe one day I’ll forget to tell myself that and it will get easier. I don’t know. How do you get over someone you love and miss and think about constantly? Any help in that regard would be much appreciated. And trust me, I have had all kinds of suggestions. I think Anji is right, some trigger will click and I’ll want to. I think. Maybe. Perhaps I'll wake up one day and just say "enough."
Meantime, I also need to figure out what to do with my life. Any help here also is appreciated.
I didn’t think I would be figuring it out alone. It feels like failure.
When I lost my job in June, got sick and went through Irma - I thought how glad I was, how blessed to have B by my side and on my team. I looked forward to the future even if it was totally unknown - I looked forward to working on a plan with B, to helping him rebuild his family home and to creating an our home. I invisioned all this while he was panicking and figuring out how to leave.
I never imagined this is where I would be at this age. Anji knows how this feels having lost her husband to that horrible of all horrors - cancer. She gets it and she’s forging ahead. I’m very proud of her and am excited to see what amazing things she does. I hope someday I can be proud of me.
I do think maybe I always imagined myself on an island. So there’s that.
This second, I’m sitting on a plane flying back to my island, my loving, generous still-in-love parents sitting across from me. The sun is shining.