“This you have to understand.
There's only one way to hurt a man who's lost everything.
Give him back something broken.”
― Stephen R. Donaldson, The Wounded Land
Just when I thought I had cried myself out...
In another farcical marriage counseling session I fell apart.
It was so bad, I couldn't speak.
I trembled violently, I hiccuped, and I sobbed.
I did everything but lay on the floor beating it with with my fists.
That got their attention.
Although that wasn't my intention. What it was; was a spontaneous emotional volcano erupting on the back of a sleepless night and the hideous emotional and logistical pressure my (shall I call him 'ex'?) husband continues to heap onto me.
Lilli is sick again and I was up with her every two hours through the night treating her awful cough with Ventolin and cough mixture. So I wasn't in great shape to begin with, but these sessions pull me apart. They tear at my seams leaving gaps and holes where my strength starts leaking through.
I understand the counselor's strategy; she has to appear unbiased to get through to him if she's to be any help at all, but the process is draining me to a point where I've been waking every morning at 5am having panic attacks.
It's not until Lilli's good-morning cuddles and the day's momentum takes over, that I can breathe normally again. Our busy mornings; the homework, a little play-time, making breakfast, the school run.. It's like an emotional bandage on an open wound.
Sometimes though, after the school bell rings and my smiling girl disappears, waving, into her classroom, I feel lost again and I can't remember 'where to next'.
But then there's the renovation, it's almost done, but there are still bits and pieces to tidy up, phone calls to make and return. Our sad-eyed pooch to be walked and cuddled.
I also have a friend at school, who has the knack of being there on those mornings when I've lost my place. And although she's a busy single mum too with her own stresses to deal with, she finds time to offer me comfort and direction: She's like my bookmark and she's lovely.
So coming back to this latest session, one good thing came of it. For a short while, he dropped his hard mask and his hard stance on what he feels I should and should not have done in the past. A little empathy seeped through and he seemed to recognize some of the pain his recent behavior has caused.
And he finally acknowledged his spending has been excessive and he offered several positive solutions to my financial insecurity.
He held me while I sobbed; "where did you go?" "why didn't you come back and be YOU again?"
and "it's like you've died."
He said "no matter what happens. I'll always love you.'
There it is again.
Always in the things he doesn't say.
Like; "I'm sorry", "we can get through this.."
No. It's always goodbye in some form or another.
I guess this emotional vomit of mine proves that I'm still grieving for the man I lost.
It is as if he actually died.
Only maybe worse.
He's still here; just changed beyond recognition.