Anniversaries, Continued

I’ve had to delete a few comments lately. If you noticed that your comment hasn’t made it past approval, it may be because of what’s explained here: Do You Know Jack?

If you don’t have it in you to read my long, rambling writing on the subject (seriously, Jack, get to the point!), the summary is: you don’t know me, you only know an edited version of my struggles, therefore you don’t know what’s best for me.

Trust me when I say your unsolicited advice is not worth the effort. I can tell where a comment is headed at a glance and if I see it’s going in that direction, it goes right in the trash. Kindness, support, and sharing similar stories is all I need here. For advice I have other, far more informed sources.

Moving on, I had one more ‘anniversary’ moment in the past few days and I think it stung the worst. Carol, the kids and I all visited my side of the family on the weekend, and my stepmom just had to hand us our anniversary card in person. I wasn’t sure what to do, I was frustrated that it was brought up again and this time in front of us both, in person.

My stepmom asked who wanted to see the card first, and I just kind of sat there until Carol responded to take the card. She opened it and looked at it then set it on the table in front of me where I glanced at it briefly and I think she read the disinterest clearly enough and awkwardly said, “I’ll just… put it in the bag.”

I was frustrated, then I was angry that our anniversary had to be this awkward, unspoken thing. I also wondered about my stepmom’s motivations but later dismissed it as her just doing what she thinks she’s supposed to do so I couldn’t fault her for that.

As we were leaving, my stepmom called out to me, asking if we had the card with us. I said we did, but then Carol asked me what my stepmom asked. “Nothing,” I said, “ She just wanted to make sure we had everything.”

After we got home, I quietly removed the card from the bag and tossed it elsewhere. I couldn’t throw it right into the garbage because there was something of monetary value inside.

So my feelings went like this: First, all I could do was avoid because I really didn’t want to have a conversation about it. Second, the fact that I had to feel anything besides the desire to celebrate, pissed me off. It reopened the wound and made me question everything. Aside from the usual ‘how could she be so stupid’ and whatnot, there are the questions of what are we now and where are we going?

But there was something else. When I glanced at the card, I looked at the inside long enough to see what my stepmom wrote. I did this out of curiosity because I couldn’t imagine what she’d have to say about this lie of an anniversary. After all, everyone knows we were separated and she knows why. But on the inside of the card, it said, “Happy Anniversary 2020.”

Of course, when I was being dismissive of it, I assumed my stepmom was acknowledging what I knew: 14 years was a lie, so you can’t put down happy 14th. Who really knows why she wrote it that way instead of the other, but as time went on and I had calmed down enough to think about it, ‘Happy Anniversary 2020’ didn’t seem so bad.

After all, Carol and I still got married on that day. That was the day I married the woman who I am currently with. Maybe that is something to celebrate? The number of years together may be bullshit but on that day we had a marriage. On that day we were looking forward to a life together on that day she was the woman who I see today: kind, caring, and putting the marriage first. Maybe celebrate a little bit?

I’m still trying to process all of this, how it could be possible to remove the middle like a tumor and celebrate because there still was a before and now there is an after. I still don’t even know how I feel about her because in spite of her doing all the right things now, what she did then is so big it might not be overcome.

I also don’t want to become optimistic. I’ve been let down so often and with such severity, it is instinctual that I pull away from anything resembling trust and hope for the future.

There’s also the person I’ve become, and the uncertainty over who I’ll be when I’m further down this road to healing. If you took away the past, I currently have everything I’ve wanted in a relationship. But also because of the past, I have things I never would’ve wanted before but am happy to have now. For instance, I used to believe a good relationship for me was equal but now I feel I have to have the majority of the power. Now that I have that power, I not only like it, I also feel it is necessary, which leads to the next point. I used to believe a good relationship for me included being open and vulnerable but now I’m quite happy to have some distance. It feels safer, though I lost the feeling that I truly connect with someone. However, this may evolve into something healthier without the lost sense of connection. My therapist has talked to me about this.

I’m rambling again. The point is, I started to see something different just starting to blossom regarding my feelings over our anniversary. The next thing I could do to help the process along would be to talk to Carol, but that brings up another sore subject: the fact that I’m beyond sick and tired of being the one in our relationship who initiates ‘discussions’, so I basically retired, which means neither of us talk about important relationship things now. Which brings it back full circle to me not wanting to acknowledge the anniversary in the first place.

It’s been a while since I saw my therapist. Maybe I’ll check in and see if we can work these thoughts out a little more.

3 thoughts on “Anniversaries, Continued

  1. Jack, i am sorry that my earlier comment felt like advising and judging. You are right. It is not my place and I don’t know enough. I overstepped and it wasn’t my intention to. I don’t know you. I don’t know anything about you or Carol. I do truly care about you and your happiness even if I didn’t know you. And my comments were nonetheless not appropriate. For that, I am sorry. I wish you and Carol the best. May you find peace.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. These past 2 posts made me think about us all those years ago. We embraced our anniversary, made it something special from the first anniversary after ‘The War’. Your posts made me wonder why? I think it was because we didn’t want to lose it, we didn’t want to lose that thing in our life, not another thing, we didn’t want to lose any more than we had already. Yes in some ways it was the 1st anniversary, and even now I don’t consciously think back to the other ones before it, but sometimes they come up and they do make me smile (some of them). ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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