My husband is devastated.
He has been wandering in a daze since Wednesday. Something finally clicked, and he finally got that there’s a big, BIG problem between us. Which, you know, is great, because it’s progress, and when you admit there’s a problem you can move forward.
But it’s heart-wrenching to watch him go through it.
Imagine suddenly realizing, after 25 years, that things weren’t the way you thought they were, that they were actually more seriously wrong than you had imagined, and that while you had not ever had a spiteful or malicious intention during that time, you have somehow managed to deeply wound the one you love.
I think one of the worst parts for him is the confusion – if I don’t know what I did or why I did it, how can I fix it? How can I stop from doing it again?
That and the fact that 25 years must now be rewritten according to reality. And the fact that it’s not one thing at a time – it’s 25 years all at once. Way too much for a person to process at once.
“If only,” he says, “I could have known about this as it happened instead of all at once.”
The English teacher in me notes the passive tense, yet again a side-stepping of personalization and engagement.
“If only YOU had told me,” you mean. That’s what you’re saying. Which is a fair question.
Except for the fact that I did. Countless times. Too many to count. I stopped keeping track.
The words “I did” are too small to express the depth of didness that I have executed over the years.
So while it’s heartbreaking to watch, I stand on the edges, murmuring words of sympathy, unable to do more. I understand the pain. I’ve lived the pain for years. But his is guilt-related and mine isn’t, so I have no advice to offer in that arena.
I know about forgiving others. I learned that in early adulthood when I remembered the unspeakable things my brother had done. There was no fixing that, either, so we had to simply exchange words of apology and forgiveness and move on.
But I don’t know about remorse. I probably should. I’ve probably trampled all over hearts in my headlong dance of Muffyness. But few have confronted me, so I haven’t had 25 years come crashing down around me with such force that it’s hard to find two pieces that fit together.
So I just have no words.
Which is probably best, because it would be so tempting to rush in, as I always have in the past, and assuage the feelings and say more than I felt in an attempt to erase the furrow from his brow and the slump from his shoulders. So tempting.
I have learned, however, that the stove is hot and it burns when you touch it, so I’m staying the heck away from it.
In my ice castle. I’ll be over here polishing my icicles if anyone needs me.
The cold never bothered me anyway.
Except, you know, it does