Bereavement, End of Relationships, Relationships

The First Year

It will soon be a year since everything changed.  One year since the person I thought was my husband left this world.  One year since my life ended up in a blender, and came out a beautiful smoothie.

I don’t regret things in my life.  Its not how I live.  I make choices based on calculated, conscious decisions, and then accept the consequence.  A year ago, a choice was made that altered mine and Nicholas’s life dramatically, and like I always say, it was a blessing in disguise.

In the early afternoon of April 26, 2017, the state police came to my home to inform me that they found my husband in his vehicle up in Warren County.  The room spun; I couldn’t breathe.  I couldn’t think.  I couldn’t speak.

I will eternally be grateful to the people who rushed to my side.  Alicia, who probably broke more than a few laws racing to me.  Sandi, who sat with me while I took wild phone calls that brought more mind-blowing information each time it rang.  Renee, who set up a GoFundMe that allowed Nicholas and I to find a place to live and stay on our feet while we were reeling.  Kelsey and Kyleen, who connected us with more help than I could have imagined.  Tina, for reaching out and being a voice of reason, even when I didn’t want to hear it.  My parents, for forgiving the grudges and being there for us.  Every single person who sent food, clothes and supplies for Nicholas, even stuff for me.  Even the people I don’t talk to anymore, for one reason for another.  I am grateful.

I’m sure each passing year will get easier and less confusing.  I didn’t expect to be “alone” this year though, and its making it a little more challenging for me to navigate.  My emotions have already bubbled up a few times, and we are still a bit away from the anniversary.  Keeping busy and focused are my only options right now.

Screenshot_20180411-162142Nicholas has come further than I could have ever imagined.  We have a secure, stable home; stable income; I don’t feel threatened that life is off-kilter and unpredictable this year.  Last year, I didn’t know if we’d have a place to live or food to eat each month.  Last year, I was stressed that health insurance was a question.  I’m stable.  That’s what matters.  I have a blossoming business.  I have a greater desire to be creative and continue growing personally.

 

There’s a knot in my throat, but I know it means we’re alive and making it.

-Jess

 

End of Relationships, Relationships

Bruises Heal

Let me preface that this will be an emotionally charged post. If you want the WHOLE story, feel free to ask for it.  I’d also like to state for the record, if we became friends while Leland and I were together, I see no reason for us to not continue to be friends.    The mature decision is to make an informed one.

I am bruised.  Don’t mistake that with broken.  About 8 months ago, I allowed myself to open my heart again.  To love again.  And I’ve lost again.  This time, though, its different, and it hurts very differently.  Going from looking at houses to buy, rings, wedding dresses, talking about long term plans, to being single in a week’s time is mind blowing.  I was told I read too far into it, but refusing to talk and wanting space doesn’t spell out “lets work on it.”

In case you haven’t known me long enough, let me explain what happened almost a year ago.  I was in a tumultuous relationship that was rapidly coming to an end.  It wasn’t where I saw myself – in my 30’s with a 3 year old child – a special needs child, at that.  I don’t believe in marriage till you’re tired of trying, I believe in marriage till death do you part.  I was unhappy.  I also realized that I was spending my life just fulfilling someone else’s desires.  My husband died by his own hand on April 26th of last year.  He left Nicholas and I with no money, no where to live (our lease ended the following month, we weren’t listed on it, and the landlord refused to rent to me), no insurance to speak of, I found out our marriage wasn’t even legal, and a whole lot of unanswered questions.

I opened myself back up to dating pretty quickly, if you look at things chronologically.  However, for many months, I had been working on myself and contemplating my next move.  It wasn’t something I approached lightly.  His death is still something I have struggled with daily, regardless of whether I felt like our relationship was ending.  It was different to deal with death, no matter how sudden.  It wasn’t like a bad breakup.  It was like a lightning bolt, disintegrating the other half of the relationship.  There was plenty of turmoil with family.  There were plenty of tears shed.  But lets be honest.  There’s no pretending he didn’t exist, like the end of most unhappy relationships.  He just ceased to.  There was no custody fight.  No courts.  Nothing but picking up and carrying on.  I realized the incredible chance I had been given to start over.

This breakup is different.  I was thoroughly uninterested when we met.  I was open to dating, but I felt set up.  I wasn’t being set up, but I couldn’t help it all feeling too “falling into place” for my history.  Things moved fast.  It was terrifying, but I was constantly being reassured, built up, cheered on, not just by him, but by everyone around me who was thrilled.  We had family photos.   We went to events together.  We went on a real vacation together.  We shared secrets that no one else knew.  I thought there were no secrets between us, and I was wrong.

The bottom line is, I know what I bring to the table.  I know and am open about the fact that I am about as stubborn as they come.  And I am open about the fact that I’m crazy passionate.  Not just about topics that matter; but in particular, about my son, about whomever I’m with, health care, my family in general, and anyone I consider family.  I require evidence to sway my opinion, and I don’t concede just because someone wants me to.  Provide me a valid argument, and I will be happy to listen, but don’t ever expect me to give up just because you say so.

Does that make me impossible?  Probably.  Does it make conversations challenging? Yep.  Here’s the thing though – it means I don’t walk away because things are hard.  It means I don’t quit on someone because things didn’t go my way.  It means I know myself well enough to stop allowing someone else to sway me for their own purposes.  It means I love hard.  It took me a long time to embrace my life and make the most out of it and I will be damned if I find any need to change out of the blue to conform to what someone else thinks they want or need.  I don’t apologize for not changing for people.

You’re supposed to fit like a puzzle piece with your forever-person.  Maybe sand off a few rough edges, relax a bit, but you’re both complete together.  No one is ever perfect. And eventually you find a person whose flaws coordinate with your own.  I probably lied to myself a lot, believing I could bend to fit what he preferred.  But I also think he lied to himself a lot about what he really wanted.  And in the end, nothing is left but my hurt little boy and restarting this whole dating process all over again.

I’m bruised a lot from this one.  My soul hurts in such a different way, I can’t even explain. Mentally and emotionally, I’m far from being ready for a relationship.  I don’t ever close myself off to meeting someone though, I’m just scared to get hurt again.  Should someone grace me with their presence anytime soon, they need to read this (so direct them for me if you know them, haha), and know that its going to take a hell of a lot of love and patience to be with me.

I’ve always been bad at this part.  Social anxiety and spades of awkwardness keep me from approaching people. So don’t be afraid to approach me – just keep in mind, its mine and any woman’s right to turn you down.

Eventually, the person who I get to annoy for the rest of my life will find us!

 

– Jess