I guess one of the most shocking aspects following Chuck’s death was the necessity to let go of relationships that had always seemed strong and secure. Or, if not strong and secure, at least managed. Family relationships, right?
It was brought home to me that a relationship that I’d thought was okay, and fairly honest, was toxic to me and, yes, existed only because of him. That was hard and I felt guilty for letting go, knowing how it would hurt Chuck to know such a thing had happened. I had so much guilt about it for so long…
But words became swords and the impact almost hospitalized me, which shocked me again, because I always considered myself stronger than I was at that moment that saw me on the floor, in the midst of my first anxiety attack. And, Jesus, the hugeness of the attack terrified me.
A few years later I had to let go of my best friend of almost 50 years. She took my shared confidences regarding the other relationship, and tried to make the slander even bigger, maligning a man who’d considered her a friend, who’d helped her so much in the past, accusing me, separately, of dragging my husband’s name…I’m not sure…in the mud? She was never clear on that.
Fortunately, by the time the ugliness of her heart was revealed, I was a much stronger woman and not only was not affected in the least by her words, but was able to respond appropriately, and then end the friendship and realize it had been limping along for some time. I was surprised at how emotionally easy the ending was, on my part.
It’s odd, isn’t it, what people do and say after a death?
We need to take the words and actions of people like that and make the choice to hold them close or we can, as my mom sagely advised in my early years, consider the source.
Ugly hearts with ill intentions.
In the years since, the people in my life fill my life with love, not envy, not ugliness.
Early on, I was so vulnerable. Every part of me was on the floor, in a fetal position, keening the death of the man who was everything in my life.
These 4 years and 3 months on, my heart is still shattered, I’m still keening inside, but I’m standing with determination, knowing in every part of me...every damn part of me...that Chuck left so much Love behind for me that it will carry me through whatever years I have to still live. He was the man I knew, not the man they spoke about with their darkened hearts.
That I have to live without him…that I only have the memory of his Love for me, and mine for him…it isn’t enough, it will never be enough, but, at the same time, because I’m still alive and yes, I curse that fact… it has to be enough, and I know that what I had of Love, what I knew of Love, is more than most people get in a lifetime.
And the other side of that coin is what my heart carries, along with the Love.
Longing and more longing and a tangible skin ache.
I miss him so…