Hard though it is for me to believe, we're fast approaching the one year mark since Darren left me. I've made a conscious effort NOT to keep the exact date in my head, but when it arrives I'm sure I'll be aware.
Those who know me well will understand what effort it takes to be uncertain of the exact anniversary. I have un uncanny memory, especially for dates. For example, May 20:
- May 20, 1940: my father is born
- May 20, 1988: I get my ear pierced in Vienna, Austria. And faint. Two hours later.
- May 20, 1989: I graduate from college. Gildna Radner dies.
I've been feeling increasingly moody and sad over the past week. Darren's birthday passed two weeks ago. I sent him a little note to wish him well, as he did when my birthday came around in February. Last year we celebrated his birthday in Munich. It was lovely, and I had no clue that I was just weeks away from losing him.
It's not usual for Darren to be on my mind. I think of him dozens of times a day, and many nights I dream about him. The dreams of the worst: we never broke up, we fight, we reconcile, he leaves me again, I'm forced to meet his boyfriend, etc. I wake up exhausted, often in tears.
Today I let myself do something I can rarely stand to do--look at pictures of us together. That unleashed no big epiphanies. I still think he's handsome. I still love him. I miss him terribly. And yet he's the person who hurt me worse than anyone in my life ever has. It's hard to not feel deep anger along with the sadness. Anger often keeps me up at nights, try as I might to let go.
That said, my friends and familly, my therapist, even *I* know I've made huge progress in the last year. I'm not suicidal anymore, for example. And I keep busy. I see friends. I date. I get smooches from handsome men, and I like that. I laugh. I have fun. But always feel a hollow space inside me when I think of Darren and how much I miss him. I miss his parents, his nieces and nephew. Many times each week I find myself making a mental note to tell him something funny that happened in my day, only to realize that that won't happen ever again.
In some ways this grieving process is even worse than when I lost my mom. At least she didn't choose to leave us, say cold, hurtful things, and take up with some family she liked better. I struggle so much knowing that each day I feel sad and alone, Darren is happier because he's not with me.
My therpaist reminds be that there's no up-side to thinking of Darren at all. Energy spent dwelling on our past is wasted; I need to focus on moving forward. I understand this, but he's always there, like phantom pain in a lost limb. I do my best to stay distracted, but I always feel the ache.
I haven't seen Darren in person since the dreadful night in December when we met to divide the belongings we'd gathered over fourteen years together. We didn't fight. It was perfectly civil, though I cried for most of the time we made our lists of "mine" and "his." I was embarrased to be so weepy while he was like an accountant. But he always did have a cold, emotionless side to him, and it has served him well since the break-up. Maybe engineers fare better in such situations than writers.
Hudson remains our only real point of contact. We trade him back and forth once or twice a month. Mostly he lives with me. He's a great comfort, but he's also a handful. For a while I was picking him up/dropping him off at "our" house (sigh, the house, how I miss my beautiful house). Then Darren suggested that we just use Hudson's Tuesday daycare day to do the hand-off. That has been a huge relief. Going back to the house, even for a few minutes, threw me into a funk that lasted a day or two. I wish many times a day that I could have afforded to stay there on my own.
I live just two miles from the old house, where Darren now lives. I carry around a sick feeling of dread that I could possibly run into him at the store or a restaurant, but so far I've been lucky. I've changed where I buy groceries, and I try not to go to the restaurants we frequented. Not that the world would end if I had to see him.
But I'd rather not see him again. It just hurts too much. The pictures are proof.
PS. I hope to be blogging more in the weeks ahead. Not about this crap. About things that are new, things that make me happy. Wish me luck.