A woman who’s husband has died is called a widow. But what about an ex-wife?
Yesterday afternoon I was on Facebook and happened to see that my ex-husband’s daughter had posted.
She wrote that her dad had died the day before, on December 18.
Last night and this morning, I have been waiting for some form of grief to hit me.
A bevy of emotions flashed and flickered through my mind. I had to read it over and over again to make sure it was real.
But I’m beginning to think that I went through the grieving period a long time ago.
Larger Than Life:
He was a person who loomed over my life, off and on, since my mid-twenties.
I was turning 40 when he contacted me after a ten year period with no communication. I struggled not to feel anything.
But he said all the right things. He kept calling. Kept telling me how much I meant to him. That no one would ever love me as much as he did.
To have him keep telling me that it was always me in his heart sent whatever caution I had to the wind.
It was like a fairy tale for awhile. But it was also complicated.
A year later we were married.
It was not a good marriage. My dreams were dashed fairly quickly.
Still I hung on. For years I hung onto something that was probably never real to begin with.
It was slipping through my hands no matter how hard I clutched onto the rope of that dream.
Later I realized it was never a dream. It was a delusion.
I remember once I asked him if he was afraid to die. And he replied: “No. Who would want it to just go on and on and on.”
I had no idea what to say to that. What a curious answer, I thought.
We never spoke of it again. Until at the end of our marriage he said in anger: “Some day I will have the pleasure of knowing I outlived you. I’ll have the pleasure of knowing you are dead.”
He Got It Wrong:
But he got it wrong. He’s dead and I’m still here.
I guess I’m in shock in a way. Does that mean I should let go of any anger I might still have?
We were divorced, but since he was the last man I had a relationship with, I feel in some ways widowed.
I’ve looked for his obituary online, but maybe it’s too soon. I don’t even know what city he lived in.
But I want to read that obituary to know that it is truly real.
All I wanted after the divorce was to be as far away from him as I could get.
Just a few days ago, this strange idea came into my head. I thought: What if he came to find me again?
And then I began wondering how easy it would be to track me. I wondered if the locks on my door were adequate.
I don’t know where that came from. And now he will never track me down again.
The thoughts slipped away as suddenly as they occurred, those out-of-nowhere fears.
I had no reason to have such thoughts, because apparently he was dying or had already died when I had them.
It seems odd that I don’t feel all that shaken up about his death. Because he was the man I loved more than any other.
He caused me immense pain. But I know I hurt him too.
Seven years have passed since the divorce. I have made a good life for myself.
I’ve mourned the pets we shared. Two cats we had have died, then our dog Abi died just this year.
All I have left of that life we shared is Charlie boy. And I’m doing all I can to keep him going.
I am sorry for his children, even his wife. For the grandchildren who will likely not remember him.
The memories are there, but they are fading; both the good and the bad. Left over feelings from another time and place.
I sit in front of my little Christmas tree and I am happy.
Contentment took the place of the fear and pain some time ago. I have what I need. I have Charlie and Ivy here with me.
What I know is this: A person I once loved deeply has stopped breathing. I will never hear his voice again. Never again see the hands that I always thought were so beautiful.
I’m a bit sad. But is it terrible to say that I’m a little bit relieved?
Because now there is a period at the end of the sentence that was our relationship.
We were married and then divorced, and now one of us has died. It doesn’t get more final than that.
I never hated him, though I wanted to. Now I know I forgave him a long time ago and it just never really registered until now.
I mourn what was. An extremely intelligent man who also happened to be deeply flawed.
He had so much promise, but there were demons that walked in his footsteps. And they chased me until I could take it no more.
I am what is left. And I will make the most of my life. I’m sad that someone I once loved deeply is gone.