Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Conflict of No Man's Land

Yesterday I took some letters to the post office and saw one of my favorite postmasters. It's been awhile since we talked, and we took some time to catch up. He told me about his family and then asked about the divorce since I wasn't wearing a ring.

I looked him in the face and said, "Well, I'm not actually divorced. We were a month from the divorce being final when Rob died in February."

He looked me in the eyes and asked, "So are you sad or relieved?"

My heart caught in my chest. "On which day? Or sometimes, which time of the day?"

Without breaking eye contact, he said, "That's what I would expect."

And I couldn't move. I just stared back...stunned at how good it felt to be seen...to be honest...finally.

I feel like I'm caught in a no man's land.

On one hand, I have the people who knew the best of Rob and rightfully loved him and admired him. Naturally, they expect me to be a grieving widow filled with sadness. On the other hand, I have people who know he left because he chose to leave instead of addressing our problems and his problems. They know the pain and struggle of the nineteen years we were married. They don't know what I would be sad about. In fact, they expect me to be relieved.

But like my postmaster friend understood, my reality consists of both.

I am relieved. I was so tired, and I couldn't hurt like that anymore. I'm not delusional. We were getting a divorce. Life was not wine and roses. Instead of being husband and wife, we were strangers living in the same house. Honestly, we had been...if I'm honest...for most of our whole marriage, and we were tired. Yes, I am relieved.

I am also horribly sad.

I miss my friend.
I miss the person I shared twenty-two years of my life with.
I miss the man whose face lit up when he held our babies.
I miss the man who helped me focus when I was too tired to push "one more time".
I miss the man who understood when he walked in and I was standing at the door purse and keys in hand because I needed a mommy break.
I miss the man who knew my quirks, shared inside jokes, understood when a red loggers shirt made me go to pieces at Walmart.
I miss the man who wrote checks to pay people's rent, buy children's Christmas gifts, and put groceries on someone else's table.
I miss...oh, God...all the things I miss....

And the thing is there is no one to share stories with. It's not like when my dad died, and I could talk with family or long time friends. I could talk with people who knew my dad when I was small or even before, and we could tell the stories. I learned how comforting telling the stories was. When my mom was in the hospital, my friend Jessica spent the night. We were up most of the night, talking, telling stories. Oh, it felt good to tell the stories, to know Mom's place in someone else's heart and her value in their life, to tell them how much she filled mine.

But with Rob, there is no one to tell stories.

It's almost like grieving the secret lover no one knew. Who is there to tell? Who would understand? Who will approve of the gamut of emotions that run through my system like a river out of control? The friends we shared either took "his side" and don't speak to me now or don't know what to say. I understand. It's a strange place to be.

It's a place where I find myself alone.

I've read through Rob's emails and texts. I know he wasn't happy with me as a wife, but I also know he told people over and over what a great mom I am and how talented I am as a writer. The crazy man complimented my cooking, even though he knew I hate to cook. Maybe that is why it was a big deal to him. I hate to cook, but I always tried to have dinner ready when he got home. He told people what a great job I did teaching the children academically and in all other ways. Over and over he said we have great kids because of me.

We stunk at marriage, but we thought the world of each other.

How does one explain that? I don't know. I can't. I just know it's true.

And this person that I thought the world of is gone, and my heart hurts.

People tell me to get over it, to get over him. After all, he didn't want me. He chose to leave.

Yes, he did. My husband left, and I'm not really sorry. This amazing man I knew named Rob died, and my heart is broken.

And there are so many stories...about the husband I don't miss...and the amazing man I do...

But instead of telling stories, I grieve in silence...

Dear God, I hate no man's land.

9 comments:

StevenSauke said...

There are no words...except that I love you, my amazing sister.

My daily walk in His grace! said...

Hi Jerri. I think this is one of the best posts of yours I've read to date. And, the post-master - placed there by God without a doubt. What you have written makes complete sense and only you and God get it, because its your reality. You may be in no man's land but you are navigating it with God and that's what counts. This is moulding you and changing you, yes, but the scripture that comes to mind is: All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purposes (rom 8v28). Nothing in your life is by accident or co-incidental. God will use it all for His glory.
God bless and praying for you
Tracy

mizzbrizz said...

When you said, "We stunk at marriage, but we thought the world of each other."--that was totally it for my ex and I, but it wasn't just marriage it was our relationship regardless of if it was as boyfriend and girlfriend or husband and wife. Big {{HUGS}}! While I don't understand what it would have been like to lose Pepe at the end of all this, I understand all the rest all too well.
Just tonight, our 16 y/o went off on him and I held him as he cried. It was a little awkward, but he's held me when tables have been turned. The break-up of a long-term relationship hurts a lot of people in a lot of different ways. Praying for you and with you, Jerri!

Betsy said...

Jerri, I am a reader who found your blog through a link of some sort. I just wanted to say thank you so very much for your transparency and truth telling. When I am willing to be vulnerable, you have helped me access my emotions. When I am not, you help me to see how insensitive I have been in the past to people traveling a similar road. I pray that with your help I can be a better friend and listener to those whose lives I touch. Thank you once again for laying it all out there for use to see. Hugs to you, Betsy

Jerri Kelley said...

Steven, I give thanks for you daily. :-)

Tracy, you have such a spirit of encouragent. Some day I hope to hear the story of your anointing. :-) Thank you.

MizzBrizz, I sometimes wonder where the ripples will stop. I know the cursed effects are under the Blood and do not have to continue down the generational line, but I wonder about people around us such as extended family and friends. Yes, my friend, the pain goes so far beyond the two making the decisions. Good for you for holding your son while he cried...and more importantly, good for HIM. Hugs!!!

Betsy, you leave me humbled, SO humbled. I have taken time to respond to your comment because it left me emotional. So often I wonder...if any of my ramblings make a difference. Thank you for encouraging that God can make useful ramblings from a broken vessel like me. You bless me deep. Thank you.

Cindy said...

Oh my dear Jerri, how I wish we could sit together and tell stories of our men!! In some ways I so totally get you! We were married nearly 30 years and as much as I love him to the core of my being there were days that I felt I just needed out! As I type I have just received word that someone wants to buy my hubby's truck tomorrow at 11 am. I am both happy and sick at the same time. I have avoided cleaning it out and now I am forced to do it tonight! These steps are painful! God loves you and has in store for you a very special and bright future! I will be praying for you and believing that God will help you sort through the waves of emotions that you continue to face. Blessings!

Jerri Kelley said...

Cindy, I read this and immediately wanted to run to you, throw my arms around you, and let you lean. I know. I so know! I prayed for you last night, today, now.

How are you?

Anonymous said...

I would encourage you to tell your stories to your children. You will never have to say an unkind word about their dad, but they need to know that however it ended, your marriage began with and contained some very real love. You loved an imperfect person. God loves imperfect people. Just as you are transparent here, be transparent with them.

Jerri Kelley said...

Anonymous, interesting assumptions you've made about me, my interaction with my children, and my marriage. From your wording, I interpret your assumptions to be erroneous. While I will not address them on the blog or in the comment box, I thank you for your concern and assure you we are fine.