Jon has asked me when I’m going to get to writing the happy stuff. I want to. There’s a lot of Happy Stuff that happened, and is continuing to happen. But every time I sit down to try and write it all, I slam up against a wall of unexpected grief.
Don’t get me wrong—I have never second-guessed the decision to divorce David and move on with my life—not even once. It was the right thing then, and it remains the right thing in retrospect. What may be unique about my situation is that David and I remained real friends after our divorce. We never stopped caring for one another, and we continued to try and place the needs of the kids above all else. We talked frequently, as friends and as parents. When Jon entered my life, David welcomed him, too, and they worked together to get to know each other, and to support the kids. I took this as natural, but I am realizing it’s kind of rarified air.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to pick up the phone to call David and tell him about something Abby did, or about Jeffrey’s football game (he’s playing football, did I tell you that?) or about Bean forsaking the cello in favor of the trumpet. And then my hand stops, and I hold the phone. My faith is shaky on an afterlife- I wish this kind of faith was among my gifts, but it’s not. I have hope. I want it to be true. I have to put my faith in people I trust who have stronger believe than I do on this one.
Jon is one of those people. He suggested I talk to David as I used to, when I would pick up the phone. So when I’m in the car alone, I sometimes try. Without fail, as soon as I do, the tears start. This surprised me; I’m fine, really. Life is normal, things are stable and good. The kids are adjusting, and why on earth am I crying? But every time, I do.
I’m not wishing anything was different- other than him not dying. I do wish he hadn’t died. I’m not missing him as a wife misses a husband- not even a tiny bit. I am missing my friend. I am missing the chance, the hope, my kids had to get to know the man I knew. I am so sad that he’s gone. I am so sad that his life ended the way it did, and that there was so much sadness for so much of his life. I did wish for him to have a happier second half. I did hope for him to heal, and for him to meet someone, and for him to be a regular part of his kids’ lives. And with his death, I am left with sadness, for so much is lost.
I know enough to just go with this. I know enough that I have to allow things to unfold and relax on their own time and in their own way. I’m just sort of curiously observing this process and trying to let the waves roll over me, and to be there for my kids when a wave catches them. We’re doing okay.
I find myself thanking the hand of providence again for Jon, and for his vast love for us. It’s a special man who can move past the conventional and can securely see beyond both beauty and sorrow, to what is real. I have been blessed twice.