February 27, 2013:
When my son told me the news, my first thought was, “Damn, if I’d known he was going to die so young, I could have stuck it out”.
Then I thought, “God forgive me for having such horrible, ugly thoughts”.
I said nothing out loud except a very sincere “I’m sorry” to our son.
Those two words expressed more than condolences for his father’s passing. They spoke volumes of genuine sorrow for everything that wasn’t right with our family…our life.
I went through the next few days in my usual way. Talking about his passing and our tumultuous life together as nonchalantly as if I were discussing the weather.
March 2, 2013:
Standing in the shower I heard my ex husband’s voice as clear as if he were standing there too. He said those same two words, “I’m sorry”.
Just as they did when I spoke them a few days prior, they held a lifetime of regret.
Cue Willie Nelson singing “You Were Always on My Mind”.
The song my ex had actually sung to me once.
Amid the chorus blaring in my head, I kept hearing his voice repeating “I’m sorry” over again.
Was he truly speaking to me from the afterlife or was it my own mind speaking what I wanted to hear?
Either way, I lost it. Tears that I couldn’t control, sorrow so deep it scared me. All that had been our life flooded my mind. The good, the horrible, the regrets and the pain. I don’t normally express emotion publicly, but this time I decided to share with my friends and family. Still sobbing, I posted the following on my personal FB.
“When someone passes away we tend to emphasis the good. But how am I supposed to feel when someone who hurt me so much dies? I stopped being angry a long time ago. I still sometimes feel sad that things were so difficult, but I know I can’t change the past. Today for the first time since hearing the news of my ex husband’s passing, I have tears. We had 15 years & 3 children together. I will remember the good & be thankful that I can. I will take comfort knowing that his mind, body & soul are finally at peace. I will pray that those who loved him, his family, his girlfriend & most importantly our children will find comfort as well”
I struggled through the next days, seeing my ex in-laws, meeting the girlfriend and getting more involved than I felt I should. I decided to attend the viewing to support my children and in hopes of receiving that feeling of closure people speak so highly of. The girlfriend was supportive of me going, his family was not.
March 5, 2013:
Getting ready to leave for the funeral home, I shared those pesky emotions again.
“A day that I never imagined would be so painful. There was love, there was hate, then after years of feeling nothing I’m reliving each & every moment of our lives together. God, let me get through this evening with strength & grace. Let those who believe I shouldn’t be there keep silent & those who need me there feel my love for them. Amen”
Being there was oddly comforting and painful at the same time.
I believe with all my heart that no one is inherently evil. There may be something organically wrong or it may be the sequelae from trauma that turns us into assholes.
People who abuse were often victims of abuse themselves.
I’m in no way making excuses for another’s bad behavior or trying to disregard the damage it causes.
I’m just saying that I understand how our pain can spill over and cause us to hurt others.
Over one year, a couple of other family tragedies and a PTSD diagnosis later, I’m still trying to accept and move on. Although my mind is holding a bit of a grudge, the nightmares and anxiety persist; I can honestly say that my heart has forgiven him.