I find myself wrapped in thoughts tonight. Outside my window, the snow is falling, snowflakes cascading down from the heavens. The yard is blanketed in a pillowy white covering…..a welcome sight compared to the mud that it replaced from a dreadful downpour of rain this morning. The vision is a sight to behold, erasing all the muck and mire that is burrowed just beneath it’s surface. Forgotten is the sloppy, muddy dishevel that my driveway was not long ago; it’s buried. I tell you all of this because this is symbolic. Today, I stand before you a snowflake, freed from the heavens, but just a few years ago, I was the aftermath of a rain shower. I was stained, I still am, but today it just isn’t as apparent. If you were to dig your hands into my snow blanketed soul, you would lift them with soiled gloves. In order to grow, to transform, I must always remember where I came from.
If you peek out the glass window panes, if you squint through the blizzard, you will see, a man. Scotty, after a long day of working in the cold, wet snow, there he stands in the ditch, he is helping a family that has slid off the road. I am thankful that this family wound up in this yard, at this particular time, otherwise the woman and her kids probably would’ve spent hours awaiting rescue. Ever the rescuer, there he is, still dressed in his saturated work hoodie and his now soggy boots, billows of cold air coming in puffs from his lips. I know he is cold, I know he is tired, but he carries on. Doing what it takes to see that these strangers find their way home, safe and sound, so typical Scotty. I can’t help but smile to myself, at his compassion, he hides his heart well, but it is times like these, I am so proud he is the father of my children. He is a man of few words, his smile is not one you find often upon his lips, but if you take a moment, if you search a bit harder, under the harshness he exudes; you will find a softness unsurpassed by none. He does everything hard, he loves hard, he fights hard, and even in his most desperate hours, he never lets it show. He is the epitome of strength, perseverance, and a true man’s man.
I watch admirably at his endurance. He patiently shovels piles of snow from the road. Then when his attempts are unsuccessful he scrapes the ice from the four wheel drive and returns to pull them out. The metaphor is not lost on me this night, no, too easily I transcend back in time. You see, I was that car. Out in the storms of life, sliding out of control to land in a ditch. Most would have cut their journey short, or chosen a less treacherous path. Not me, I continued on that slippery slope, finding myself in a ditch, or rut, more times than I can count. I cannot remember the number of times that he pulled me from my wreckage. Every time he pulled me back onto my track, I managed to end up back where I started, and eventually, I quit accepting his help. His damsel in distress refused to allow herself to be saved.
I think back to all the times I shoved him away. I had nothing left to offer, nothing left to give. I often wonder how it must have felt to be married to the UnMother. The woman so alone in her grief that she couldn’t see past it, she couldn’t breathe, and she was incapable of emotion. She was just a suit of armor I was forced to wear, this doppleganger version of myself. She was a farce, a much needed escape, but she was robotic in her expression. Then, I am reminded of how tough that must have been to witness my transition.
Scotty had married a completely different woman……actually still a young lady. I was full of life, laughter, and love as boundless as the oceans. I was enchanted with everything about this man I loved so dearly. I always laid his clothes out for work, I made his plate for supper, and I relished in spending my time in his presence. If you saw that young version of me, you would have loved her. She was so easy going, so full of life and wonder, so eager to love, and most importantly, so very happy! Her face lit up when he came into a room. Like a moth to fire she was drawn to him. She valued his opinion above all others, and they spent nights lying awake just talking about everything under the sun. She would listen as his voice spoke to her. Sometimes she would forget to hear what he was saying, instead allowing herself to enjoy the way her name sounded upon his lips. His touch was something that she hungered for, the feel of his hand upon her’s, the way he caressed her face when she was resting her head on his shoulder, and the way he wrapped her up in his beautiful, strong arms, that was the thing that kept her world on it’s axis. She was smitten with this man who had swept her off her feet.
The day I walked down the aisle, I had one soul purpose; to love this man more than anyone in the world. I didn’t realize that I would soon grow to love someone that didn’t exist. Or how I would yearn for the presence of another, more than I ached to be held in his arms. My wedding dress was beautiful, flowy, romantic and elegant. I chose it with great care, to represent all that I hoped our marriage would be. I knew him better than he knew himself. He was drawn to me because I was what he needed, softness to smooth out his rough edges, a constant smile for the days he couldn’t find one, and light in a world that was once dark. I vowed that day to be all of those things, because I needed him just as much. I needed his strength when I was vulnerable, his wisdom when I was careless, and his guidance when I so often lost my way. We were a team……until the miscarriages.
I no longer craved his touch, or his hug; my body was too accustomed to needles and tortuous testing; one more touch would send me spiraling. I didn’t wait by the door for him to come home; I was too often at another failed doctor’s appointment. The once talkative me, now fell silent. Her voice seemingly lost forever. Conversations that lasted long into the night were replaced with short responses to only necessary questions. We spoke of nothing of importance. We had become “that” couple: the couple who merely lived together but no longer knew each other. I was no longer the girl with an easy smile; my face was one of stoic determination.
I reluctantly allow myself to look back upon that time, and conjure up the effect that my isolation caused him. Without my softness, he became harsh, closed off, and withdrawn. He too, had gone into his secret holding cell, a place void of emotions. Without my sense of humor to brighten his somber moods, his smile faded….the smile that I once sought above all things. The tiny gift of that grin could set all things right in the world, but I no longer sought it. How could I summons a smile to his face when I had lost my own? Without the light that I used to access his heart, darkness enveloped him. I wonder how he felt? I have never asked him. I am sure he felt deserted, abandoned, neglected, and lost, just like I did. If we had only leaned on each other instead of hiding in our fortresses of steel, perhaps we could have shared our pain and found our way….but the person I was during my despair was not the one locked away inside her own prison.
I can see him, the UnHusband. That is what he had become. His purpose had always been to love me, to receive my love, to embrace my weaknesses, to fix me when I was broken…..but I was unfixable, incapable of allowing love in, and too consumed with all my weaknesses to be embraced. Just as his purpose had always been to be my husband, my purpose had shifted to being a mother. He wasn’t as driven as I was for the need for a child; he wanted his wife back, and his wife wanted a baby. For the first time in our relationship, we found ourselves on opposing teams, fighting two different battles; his to save me, and mine to save my unborn children….which in the end rendered me beyond saving.
In hind sight, I see the two miserable people we had become. Our mourning, and pain were for different reasons. I lost my babies, and my identity, but in return he lost his wife. His countenance changed, he no longer attempted to hug me after a long day at work, (I had shunned his embrace too often), so he lost himself in a project in the garage. Our conversations, once light hearted, tender, and full of fun banter, now was non-existent. The only words we spoke were out of necessity, and laughter had dissipated our once happy home. I knew, even then, I should stop this madness, reach for him, kiss his lips, speak the words that he needed to hear, and close the distance that separated us by continents. But, in order for the UnMother to guard me from the pain, she had to shield me from all emotions…..even love. I could not speak the words he longed for, I could not tell him that I was okay to simply be his wife, and abandon my dream of being a mom.
So, they lived together, in the depths of their own Hells, the wounded UnHusband and the broken UnMother. Their escape was futile as each of them were driven by different desires. I remember hating him for not being a part of my need. I am sure he hated that I had morphed into this unrecognizable version of the woman he loved. Two Hells, two hearts broken, and we stood divided as our world crumbled. He found comfort in drinking and endless nights spent with his friends. I found no comfort, only one thing could set my world right….a baby. My anger was only fueled by his absence, and I lashed out at him, and he in return drifted further away. An endless cycle, a battle that could not be won, and two people who once loved each other beyond measure, became enemies. We were strangers. Forgotten were the loving words, the beauty of the sound of one another’s laughter, and when we were once each other’s world……now we were worlds apart. How our love story had become.
The UnHusband, he looked so shattered. His once dominate stature, now was one of defeat and his shoulders slumped against the weight of the burden he carried. The beautiful, rare smile, was replaced with a grimace, a scowl, a hardness from the loneliness he felt. His hazel eyes that used to light up had fallen dull, the golden flecks that used to ignite when I walked in the room had fled into the darkness that lurked behind them. His eyes were haunting, reflections of his darkened soul. As I swam out to an ocean without a shore in sight, my husband had swam out to rescue me……and I had drowned the man I loved. When we emerged on the shores, we were different people. Our old selves died in that ocean, and on the sands of a shaky seaside two new entities were born: the UnHusband and the UnMother. Only time would tell if we could find our way back to our former selves.
I will say that the journey would be long and treacherous, and some things would forever change them. This isn’t the story of a flawless love, it is indeed that is flawed beyond measure. That part of our lives, was one that would force us to evolve or to cut our losses. I will soon share more of our love story, as tragic as it is, but right now my heart cannot allow anymore emotion in. To be continued…..