Sunday, December 14, 2008

Well, Then.

I know I haven't been posting a lot, and that most of my posts haven't been up to my usual (admittedly meager) standards. I sincerely apologize to everyone who reads this blog regularly. I know ya'll understand that things have been happening on the other side of the computer screen, and I appreciate your support and patience, believe me.

You know the bare bones of what's been happening, but that doesn't really explain why things have been so... blah... around here. It wasn't until I realized that I was embarrassed about parts of it, when I have no reason to be, that I decided to go ahead and flesh the story out a bit. Not only to explain the flat writing, but perhaps to help myself move past certain aspects, as well.

See, my boyfriend, the man I loved, dumped me. Broke up. Left me. Tossed my happy ass to the curb.

Believe me, I've had plenty of time to think of all of the euphemisms.

Bottom line, I was crushed. Still am pretty crumpled. And, of course, this happened right in the middle of the whole "Surprise! Grandpa's Dying!" adjustment period.

Oh, didn't I mention that? Yeah, he came over to my house the night that we brought Grandpa home (his home) to hospice care, after listening to me fret, worry, stress, and generally lose my damn mind over the whole thing for a week, and dumped me.

If I could hate him for anything, it would be that.

But, that's one of the worst parts about this break up. Not only is it the first time I've been dumped (really, am I that fabulous that I'm always the one to call it off? Nah, I think I just get annoyed/bored easily...) but it came out of the blue, as far as I was concerned.

I thought things were ok. I knew there was a bit of strain on the relationship... neither one of us had a lot of free time, and I'd spent a week hitting what classes I felt I couldn't miss and skipping out on the rest to drive an hour to the hospital to be with Grandpa, handle family members, and generally provide the small amount of comic relief I could manage. But, he hadn't said anything. He hadn't complained, hadn't said I was spending too much time away (which probably would have started a fight at that point).... nothing.

Until that night. I'd just left Grandpa's, seeing him safely settled back in his home, and texted him, asking if he had plans or if I could come over. I missed him, I said.

It had really hit me that night, seeing Grandpa laying in a hospital bed in his own home. He was leaving us, and the only thing I could do for him was be there, help out what I could, and most importantly, not mourn him yet. At least not in front of him. I really needed a little emotional support. A little time with the good things in my life, to remind me that it wasn't all death.

So, when he said he'd come over to my house, I snuggled deeper into his coat (which I'd been wearing all week, yes I'm one of those weirdos) and felt better immediately.

That is, until he walked in. He was serious, too grim. I went to the door and wrapped my arms around him and he hugged me, and I felt a little better. Until he told me I needed to sit down.

(Do you see the rollercoaster here? Cause it was one hell of a ride, at the time.)

He started talking. He said the kids felt like they weren't getting enough time with him, that we had a lot in common, but there was a lot we didn't. He said other things, but I didn't hear them. I was hearing the one thing in the world that he wasn't saying, the one thing in the world that could break me right then.

I stopped him, and asked a question. I asked him, flat out, if he was breaking up with me. He at least had the integrity and the balls to finally flat out say yes.

I think it took a moment for it to hit me. When it did, all I could think to say was "I'm not going to beg." I don't know why I said it, other than the fact that I really, really wanted to. I wanted to cry, scream, crawl on my knees and beg him to take it back.

Instead, I got up, walked outside to my car, grabbed his coat, and turned around. I hadn't heard him follow me, so when I realized he was there I nearly punched him in the face with his own jacket trying to give it to him.

"Just so you know, this is the only thing that has gotten me through this last week. This and knowing I had you."

He left, after that. I went inside, shut the door, and collapsed. I literally fell to the floor. Once my knees broke, so did my control. I cried, screamed, sobbed, and generally scared the shit out of my dog for a good forty five minutes before I was coherent enough to call Farmmom. And that, folks, considering the kind of relationship Farmmom and I have, wasn't that coherent. I remember having to repeat myself at least three times, because she couldn't understand me.

And, I don't know if it's a character flaw, or a virtue, but the instant the phone started ringing I regretted calling. Not because I didn't want to talk to her, but because she was staying with Grandpa. I didn't want to add to her stress. But, I knew that once the phone started ringing, if I hung up, she'd call back.

Practicality kicked in when I realized that I couldn't make myself sound calm enough between hanging up the phone and her calling back to play it off as meaning to call someone else. Otherwise, I would have.

She was shocked, concerned, and finally pissed. She wanted to kill him, on my behalf. I just wanted him to come back and say it was all a bad joke.

That night, all of the stress, all of the anticipated pain from Grandpa's situation, all of the emotions of the break up... I couldn't control any of it. I couldn't get ahold of myself. I don't cry like that. Ten minutes of vigorous sobbing, sure. I think every woman, and some men, know the value of a good cry. I'm just more "male" than most girls, in that I never, ever cry in front of people.

That night, I couldn't stop. I vascilated between sobbing, and sitting there staring at the walls, not even realizing I was still crying until I tasted the tears. I lost time. One moment I'd be sitting in my recliner, and the next I'd be on the floor in a little ball, with no idea how I got there. I cried until I was sick.

That Friday, I texted him that I had the things he'd left at my house together, and I'd like to do the dreaded shit-swap as soon as possible. I was hoping to do it Saturday, since Sunday was my day to sit with Grandpa.

Of course, that couldn't happen. It had to happen Sunday morning. And, it had to happen at his house. I dreaded it even more.

See, he hadn't just taken himself away from me. He took the kids, too.

When I knocked on his door I could hear them playing. When he opened it, Youngest Child came running to give me a hug, yelling my name, and then towed me by the hand to his bedroom to show me his new toys.

The hardest thing I have ever done in my life was telling that beautiful child that I had to leave.

The ex's only comment inside the house was "I thought you'd call, I've got your stuff in my car."

He followed me outside, I got my stuff, and started to get in my car. I couldn't look at him, I was afraid I'd break if I did, so when I realized he was still standing there, I stopped, stared hard at a spot on the pavement, and asked, "Was there something else you wanted to say?"

"No..." he said, and I managed to look at him long enough to realize that he was staring at the trunk of the car next to mine, just standing there. "No."

So I got in my car, and I left. I made it to the corner before I started crying. I'm not sure how I made it home without getting into an accident. When I got there, I walked into the house, flopped down on the couch, and stayed there until my wonderful dog came to check on me.

See, Noel knows my moods, just like any dog. She is, however, the most responsive dog I've ever met. When she came to check on me, I wasn't even crying, I was just laying there. She jumped up and curled up against the back of my legs, trying to comfort me. The next thing I knew, she was laying on top of me, shaking. That broke me out of it enough to get a handle on myself before I had to be at Grandpa's to relieve The Aunt.

I didn't tell Grandpa. I didn't know how, for one thing. He was so happy for me when he saw how happy I was just talking about CM, and he'd met Eldest Daughter and fallen instantly in love with her, just like everyone else.

I couldn't bear to have him worrying about me at that point. He was dying, fast. If he didn't need to see me sad over that, he really didn't need to worry that the man who had made me so happy had broken my heart.

I felt guilty about it at the time, and I feel guilty about it now. But I wouldn't change my decision. The last time I talked to Grandpa I left him with a smile, in spite of having to feed him pill after pill, just to keep him comfortable, in spite of everything that was going on. The last time he saw me, I made him laugh.

I'll keep the guilt.

When Grandpa died, the seat beside me at the funeral wasn't filled by the man who had said he loved me. It was filled with my best friend and confidant since second grade, who stepped up during that horrible time and kept me from going completely ballistic. Literally. She actually held me down in the pew at the funeral, to keep me from climbing two rows up and beating the hell out of relatives.

Thanksgiving sucked. I managed to keep it at bay until we sat down to eat, but it was the wrong table. We were going to have Thanksgiving dinner at Grandpa's this year, and CM was going to come to finally meet Grandpa.

This whole thing would be a lot easier if I could bring myself to hate the ex. Or, if I knew what actually went wrong. All the stuff he said that night still adds up to "I just don't love you anymore" inside my head.

Thanks to some good friends who are, amazingly, endlessly willing to listen to me whine, and great friends who not only listen to me whine, but are determined not to let me wallow too much, I'm still kicking. It still sucker punches me, don't get me wrong. I still tense every time I see a red car, and if I'm sleeping and my cell phone beeps with a text message, my heart beats faster.

But, I'm getting better every day. I miss Grandpa. I miss the ex. I miss the good mood I used to have, just from thinking about him, and the dumbass grin that crossed my face every time I saw him.

But I know, in my own mind, and in my heart, that the only male I need in my life has four legs and wears a saddle.

Everything else is just details.