So much has happened in the past five years, I’m not sure where to begin.
As it is, I started and deleted the beginning of this post about six times before I finally got the first sentence set. And it’s not even a complex one.
In the span of five years, from right around the time my cousin (by marriage), Jacob died, my life has been in complete and utter chaos.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s been good stuff mixed in there. Make no mistake the good stuff can be part of the chaos too. But I’ll start with Jacob, and the morning we found out we’d lost him...
December 22, 2009—the day everything stopped when my husband called to tell me the horrible news. I fell to my knees, unable to say anything except, no!
Losing Jake was a shock to the soul. We’d lost his older brother not two years earlier, and having the same fate befall Jacob just seemed too surreal. Jacob was a young man with such a bright light inside of him that if you were lucky enough to meet him, you never forgot him. And from that point on you called him friend.
Behind Jacob’s bright light was his struggle with heroin. The same as his brother. It’s an ugly disease, drug addiction... and alcoholism. And it’d claimed two victims in our family within such a short period of time that our heads just spun with grief.
A few months after losing Jacob, we lost a friend to the same addiction.
The disease was winning.
We trudged on. We did Christmas with the family. We had a service for Jacob, honoring him with as many friends and family that could fit into my backyard. It was beautiful. And it was deeply sad.
But underneath all of that, there was another disease brewing—one only a select few were aware of.
My marriage was falling apart and I was losing my ever-loving mind.
You want to know what’s happened in the last five years? Much more than I’m willing to post publicly, but what I will share is that I traveled down a path I’d never planned to go down. One that lead to destruction.
The destruction of not only one but two marriages: My own and my best friend’s.
Now, I am not suggesting that I’m responsible for all of that mess, but I certainly had a part in it. And I own that part fully.
The husband I mentioned above, is now my ex husband. And we share the custody of our children fifty/fifty. It works. Things are amicable—grossly amicable. But that’s typical for T and me. We’re friends. Always have been, probably always will be.
I’m grateful for that friendship. I’m also grateful for the marriage we had before and even after it all fell apart. It taught me a lot. He was a wonderful husband to me and continues to be an incredible father to our kids.
I will tell you this, I can count how many good men I’ve known in my life on one hand, and my ex husband, T is on that list.
Speaking of good men...
Two years ago, my father unexpectedly died. I wouldn’t have put him in the category with good men, but that no longer matters. What matters is that he was my father and I loved him. Unconditionally. In spite of his flaws.
My father knew everything about me, and he loved me just as I am. Flawed and full up on bad choices. Losing him was not something I could’ve ever prepared for. It brought me to my knees, but when I was finally able to stand, I walked through it as best I could. There are days now when I feel so incredibly alone because he’s gone. My mother is very ill and cannot be “there” for me in the way that I need, and essentially having neither of them present in my life is painful and lonely. At times I feel orphaned.
I walked away from my best friend because she did something so painful to me that I couldn’t bear to look at her anymore. I still can’t. Some things aren’t meant to be fixed. This is one of those things. But I miss her. A lot.
It’s five years since Jacob died, and I feel like I’m still sitting in the same spot emotionally I was in back then. Just as confused. Just as conflicted. And just as broken. Flawed and full up on bad choices.
I keep chasing my unicorn. A rare find for sure.
I’m dazzled by its beauty. In awe of its little quirks and perfect imperfections. Easy to love, and yet because it refuses to let me get too close, impossible to love—but the desire to do so remains. Even though it hurts.
I feel like that sentence sums up the last five years of my life: Even though it hurts.
Step forward, and do the next right thing; take the next right action. Even though it hurts! Get up and work in the morning at the day job. Stay awake all hours of the night writing/revising and then get up and get the kids to school the next morning. Travel for work. Sleep. Write. Work. Parent. Write. Sponsor ten women. Meetings. Work... Sleep.
Even though it hurts.
Do it anyway. Push through it.
Then chase the unicorn and give my heart away only to have it ignored. Defying destiny for a little taste of something I’ve never had in my life before. But after everything that’s happened, and all my sins, do I really deserve it?
It’s a theme. As if I’m on some sort of journey of self-discovery, self-punishment, and self inflicted misery. And I don’t stop, even though it hurts.
I’m no martyr. That skin doesn’t fit me. I’m not a victim either. I’m just me... Perfectly imperfect. Broken and healed. Tenacious and relentless. Full up on bad choices and expectations that people can’t possibly meet. Because they’re broken too.
And tired... I’m fucking tired.
I miss Jacob. I miss my father. I miss my best friend. I miss my mother. I miss the comfort of being in a marriage. I miss being touched by someone who loves me.
After five years, I miss a lot of things.