“And then the dreams break into a million tiny pieces. The dream dies. Which leaves you with a choice: you can settle for reality, or you can go off, like a fool, and dream another dream.”
― Nora Ephron (rest in peace)
For the first time in years, I didn’t write last week. I was in bed, sick, and crying my eyes out. It didn’t stop, as if my body had been growing tears for ages, and they were all ripe at once and harvesting themselves out of my face and onto the fronts of my tee shirts. For a few minutes here and there I’d get a grip, and then in line for coffee or while brushing my teeth, they’d start up again unexpectedly.
I hit a really low low a few weeks ago when the “this is absolutely over and I would like a divorce, please.” conversation happened, but, surprisingly, I started to buck up quickly. Then things changed. I was blindsided. It left me with a low-grade fever and two nights of vomiting, plus all the snot-crying, for days on end.
I’ve been twisting about writing anything about this because obviously there is another person involved, and I’m still a lady. However, I’ve learned two things in eight years of blogging the highly personal: One, sharing has always made me feel less alone, and that’s what I need now, and two: rarely do any of us have totally unique stories of pain anyway. (Even my one-in-a-million quirky miscarriage turned almost-not-diagnosed ectopic pregnancy story made one reader write me a few months later saying, “What happened to you happened to me. I spoke up, and it saved my life.”)
I’ve always been, at the very worst, in the “Oh, things are a little rough, but I’ll pull through alright, thank you for asking.” camp (we with the silly stiff upper lips). It turns out that doesn’t always work, and you wind up walking through an airport crying anyway. Where people can see you.
The worst is feeling unlike my joyful, peaceful self. My peace and joy has been zapped out of me, and meeting new people right now feels like meeting them sporting a purple mohawk or something – SO very not me.
It’s literally embarrassing, although in the middle of finally editing this post, Maggie posted this, stating how divorce is a death, not an event to be “gotten over”, and that made me feel so much better. I don’t have to have expectations for a timeline of feeling better. (Incidentally, I’m guessing it will take about as long as that purple mowhawk would to grow out.) Thanks, Maggie.
So this is just The Way It Is right now, and it sucks so hard.
Still, for days now, the ghost of Amber, age 14, has been leaning on the edge of my bed, peering into my face accusingly, wondering what the hell happened. I look up from my box of tissues and don’t know what to tell her, except, “Baby, I am so, so sorry.”