Friday, December 6, 2013

Reverb: Another Year

One of my favorite bloggers, Meredith, over at
is the host of a blogging prompt thingamajig
called Reverb
essentially, December becomes a month to reflect on the year
through the prompts supplied by Meredith and her friends
I have decided to join, once again
You too can join if you like.  If you don't blog, feel free to join and keep your thoughts private
It is a great way to close out the year.  There is a lovely website, if you'd like to join or if you'd like to read
the way other bloggers respond to prompts. 

Blowing Out the Candles: You’re another year older!  How did you celebrate the passage of another year?  Did it turn out the way you had hoped?

This prompt could not have come on a better day.  I will address the question as simple and honestly as I can: my birthday was surrounded by family.  And yes, it was exactly what I wanted.

Today marks my rebirthday, though.  Today is the 3rd anniversary of my echo, the day I found out my heart was ready to explode.

The whole story is here: Aneurysm, Aneurysm 2, Aneurysm 3, Aneurysm 4, Aneurysm 5, Aneurysm 6, Aneurysm 7, Aneurysm 8

In order to link those posts, I just went through and relived, which is hard.  And I can say that even though I touched on some of the emotion, I did a lot of editing.  There were things that became painfully clear in the hospital.  I don't want to diminish or seem ungrateful for what was done and what was given. But when you are sitting in an ICU hoping to keep death at bay, you would think your future in-laws might be in to visit.  But the reality is, the only time I recall seeing one of them was when A's Mother brought G in to see me.  They stayed in the waiting room.  They were only there to make certain their son was okay.  I just happened to be attached to their son, so I impacted his well being.  That stuck out to me.  I wasn't angry.  But I could see where I stood.  If I had died, they wouldn't be upset because I died, they'd be upset for their son, their Brother, and their Grandson.  Having that knowledge solidified that there would never be an ease, a trust, an anything beyond being cordial because I had to.  Our feelings for each other were very much mutual.  So having his Mother volunteer to "watch me," those first few weeks was miserable.  I would have preferred a nurse. At least with a nurse we could get to know each other.  We already knew each other and didn't really like each other.  That wedge was further driven, when after NOT visiting, I was expected to hang out with her, as if we were close and had some bond.  "Let's celebrate your birthday, just us girls!"  Um???  We are not close. You didn't visit me when I was on my deathbed, why pretend???? There was this constant sense of pretending. I still have a Mother's day card, from his Mother, that waxed on and on about what a great Mother I am. A year later she aided her son when he tried to steal mine from me  There was always a disingenuous quality with our interactions that I wasn't comfortable with. At least his Father didn't pretend. I was always that G.D. Liberal, he was always that racist, sexist, homophobe.  We would agree to disagree, but at least we weren't fake. 

My aneurysm felt like the death of all pretense and led to my rebirth, which is why I'm writing this today.  There were things I never said, things I was struggling with silently, that became insurmountable.  Certain reactions, on A's part, that led me to realize, I was only there for him to serve a purpose.  And when I couldn't serve it because I was too overwhelmed, he was not empathetic, he was angry and demanded I be empathetic for HIM.  He went through it too.  But for me not to recognize his emotions and give him support was me being selfish.  I tried.  But I was empty and I was very much traveling through my recovery alone and devastated.  It just never got better.  I knew, but did not want to admit, the end was inevitable when he said, "Just get over it (because you are not doing for me what I want you to do emotionally)" within the first few weeks of being home.

He told me later he'd hoped I'd wake up from the surgery changed.  I did, but not in the way he wanted.  I woke up less attuned to him and more attuned to me.  And for that, I felt selfish.  For needing to recover, for not working to help his stress, for all of that, I felt in the wrong.

After so much emotional uproar, after the end went on and on for over a year, it was done.  I have to be careful about how I word this.  Because, I want to make it clear I was recovering emotionally for a very long time.  But the final stage of my rebirth was re-meeting Chris.  Rebirth not because of Chris, but because I was ready, finally.  Chris just made the moment that much more perfect. 

My, "returning to myself," tagline really means something.  There was a time before being jaded by men, that I look back and really like who I was.  I didn't have to fight.  I didn't have to stand up for myself by being the one with the quickest wit and the sharpest tongue.  I wasn't so angry and distrustful.  I wasn't always nasty.  But the years piled on like an emotional callous and I became someone I didn't like.  I responded without thought of how it might make someone feel.  And I didn't want to be that angry girl anymore.  I wanted to not have my fortress of anger surrounding me.  I wanted to be able to not have to apologize.  Chris knew that girl in high school.  His parents knew that girl in high school.  And their expectations of me were only good.

I remember sucking in my breath at Christmas last year, when his Father mentioned me in high school.  His description shocked me, "She was the good girl."  I figured the bad one was my best friend.  But, I had to look back and remember that girl.  I was her and I still am.  I just lost her through the years.  Everything got so....defensive.  With Chris, I don't need a good offense/defense.  I know his motives are pure and so are mine.  I've never had that in a relationship.  And that makes me sad.  Sad I didn't just date him then.  Sad I never experienced this sooner. 

But it also makes me thankful.  I can be the person I want to be.  I get to be that person with someone who also shares my dreams and goals.  He's not trying to mold me into his version of a wife.  I am his version of a wife.  I don't have to act a certain way around his Mother or force anything.  I understand his Mother.  We would like each other if we didn't have Chris in common.  His Father is someone I don't see as often, but, the way I catch him looking at me and Chris together, is enough.  I make his son happy and that makes him happy. 

I know with Chris and the people around him, I can be the person I used to be.  The good girl.  The nice girl. I'm stronger.  I allowed people to walk on me in high school.  I don't and won't now.  But, I also don't need to raise my fists and punch to make sure people don't walk on me.  The people who do try to walk on me do get punched.  I don't deny that for a second.  I also don't feel guilty. I have found the balance I need between timid and weak but nice and strong but angry and mean. 

Today is the anniversary of the start of my rebirth.  It has been a long and painful process, but I am glad that I'm here.  I have a second chance at life and I've made the most of it by finally getting really happy.  I will celebrate by making dinner and enjoying it with my family.  We have plans to build a rocket.  And who knows?  Maybe a movie?  I don't need to mark the occasion elaborately.  G doesn't even need to know.  I know.  And I will quietly soak up what feels like the best gift ever.  Time. 

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