My ex-wife, the mother of my children died several years ago. We never did manage to get back on civil terms before she died and this affected me greatly. It isn’t like I didn’t try to smooth things over. I wasn’t looking to be even friends, but hoped that we could at least be civil. But that didn’t happen, mostly because I think she had been in a very bad place mentally. This caused her to not take care of herself which led to her diabetes getting wildly of control. This lead to both of her legs being amputated at the knee and then, finally, her death.
Although we had barely spoken in the 10 years or so we had been divorced, I still wanted to get onto something like good terms. After all, she was, at one time, the love of my life. We had been together almost 20 years and had two kids together. We has shared so many experiences that only her and I could appreciate.
I missed being able to talk to her about certain things, like movies we had shared together, or books we had both read, or just to reminisce about when the kids were little and the fun we all had.
Some background is in order. My kids are grown now and both know the basics of why we split up. Long story short:
Back before we broke up, Holly and I both had accounts on deviantart.com where we posted art, photos and writing. We were both into photography and writing and it was a good outlet for that. We made some good friends on the site (I’m looking at you Jan, Denise and Laura).
One of these friends was Kevin, Jan’s husband. He was into photography and pretty good at it. I noticed that he and Holly had seemed to become very close, maybe too close. They flirted shamelessly. But I was also close to Laura and we also flirted and Holly was fully aware of this and and even encouraged it, saying that it was good for our marriage, sort of a way to spice things up. It seemed to work for a while too. Sex was the best it had every been, so when she told me that her relationship with Kevin was the same as mine with Laura, and I accepted this.
In the year before we moved to Nebraska, Holly told me that she had submitted some writing, a poem I think it was, to a contest. She said that she won the contest and that she had been invited to personally receive the award in Lincoln, NE. I knew Kevin lived in Lincoln, NE so alarm bells began to go off, despite what she had previously told me about their relationship.
She was open about wanting to meet up with him while she was there, and I told her that it made me uncomfortable. She then told me that I owed it to her because she had put her life on hold to have our kids. That I had got to travel with my job to a lot of different places while she watched the kids alone. She said that if I really loved her that should trust her.
I gave in because what she said did make some kind of sense, although I was definitely uneasy about it.
While she was there we talked several times a day on the phone where she told me about what a nice place Lincoln is and how the houses were much cheaper than in Massachusetts and that the school system was really good.
We had been struggling financially after my mom passed away and I inherited her condo. The condo association was making people do repairs to their property and it was really hurting us. I had needed to refinance twice in 3 years just to pay for the repairs and it was getting harder and harder to make ends meet.
There was also her family who seemed to keep poking their noses into our lives, especially how we were raising our children. When Holly told me that they were taking about taking the kids away from us (my son was a special needs kid and they didn’t agree with that diagnosis and felt that we were not raising him right.) I saw a way out of the stress of financial and family pressure.
I applies for several jobs in Nebraska and put the house on the market. I was offered a good job in my field with more pay in Omaha and we sold the house and moved out to Nebraska.
Ok, so this isn’t a long story short. It’s a long story long, but please bear with me.
Some of you already know what happened and others can probably guess. She was having an affair with Kevin and had been since her trip to Nebraska months before. She manipulated me into moving our family halfway across the country so she could be with him.
I filed for divorce. Some pretty ugly, fucked up things happen which I won’t go into her for the sake of my kids. I’ll just say that when I requested physical custody of the kids, the court immediately agreed and Holly didn’t put up a fight.
So, here I was, a single parent, in a place where the only person I knew was the wife of the guy my wife was messing around with. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without Jan’s support.
I would have loved to move the kids back to Chelmsford, but I couldn’t take the kids out of state during divorce unless I had Holly’s permissions, which she refused to give. It would have been such big help to have the kids’ family, Holly’s family, around to help. I had been in contact with them and they 100% supported me. But it wasn’t to be.
By this point, Holly blamed me for everything that had happened to her. Losing custody of her kids, having to get a job to support herself, and so on. I was the bad one in her mind. Of course, this was her way in everything. She was a classic narcissist. Nothing was her fault and she was incredibly good at lying to everyone.
Before we moved she had managed to turn me against her family and her family against me. It was only after I got temporary custody of the kids that her family and I started talking and comparing notes and realized what had really be happening. We’d all be had by Holly.
So, this brings me back to the issue of missing things that Holly and I shared. I missed the woman I had married, but I wasn’t even sure if that woman was even real. Had she ever really loved me? Was it all a 20 year Truman Show written and directed by Holly?
I believe she did love me and that we really were close, soulmates even. Maybe I just want to believe it. The really shitty part about this is that now, with her gone, I can never find out. I will never get the chance to talk to her and see if 20 years of my life was just a joke she had played at my expense to get whatever twisted things she wanted, or was most of it real and she just changed over time?
I’ll never know so I choose to let it go and just be grateful for the children we have together. They are real. They are the product of my love for their mother at the very least, even if she really didn’t love me. They are the embodiment of true love even if that true love was only one-way.
Holly’s life was too short. She devastated the lives of her kids, family and friends when she passed so young. Sadly it was of her own making. I don’t mourn the physical loss of Holly in my life. She was effectively dead to me when we separated. What I do mourn is the memories that are lost that she could have helped me to remember. I mourn every time I see a movie that we loved, or read about an author we both enjoyed, or going to a place we experienced something special in. My heart breaks when I hear the sadness and pain in my children’s voices whenever their mother is mentioned.
What is the lesson here? As I’ve said before, life is short, cherish those who are in it with you. Try to get past divisions if possible and so you can, at the least, be civil with those who you have had a falling out with. Tell everyone you love that you love them, every single day.
It may take two to tango, but there is nothing stopping you from dancing alone with abandon once your dance partner leaves the dance floor. I choose to dance with abandon. I choose love.