The relief and then the anxiety

I started out yesterday feeling AMAZING. I felt like I finally, finally told the truth about J’s upbringing and despite being about such a heavy topic, I felt like it was one of the most well-written pieces I’ve done in years.

I also realized just how incredibly damaging it was to my health to have kept that toxic secret for so many years. J always wanted me to keep it quiet because he really hoped that his mom would eventually show him that she loved him and he wanted to be able to make a new start. It honestly still makes me feel nauseous and sick that she never could and that we both protected his parents from being held accountable for what they had done. They never deserved it, despite how much he wanted to believe otherwise.

I was having a pretty good day overall but it quickly turned south when I got back from Dylan’s therapy appointment.

Amy was waiting for me when I got here and was annoyed that I was later than she’d expected. She also took a look at the furnace and realized that it wasn’t a good idea to try to fix it ourselves because we have gas heat.

I had to ask her some questions about why we couldn’t fix it which she seemed to take as criticism but it totally wasn’t meant that way, I was just trying to understand. Once she explained it, I was like oh yeah, of course this is too dangerous, but having to explain it at all seemed to frustrate her further.

Honestly I have so little awareness of this stuff. Not only did I not remember that we had gas heat or know why we couldn’t work on it ourselves, I actually thought our furnace was our hot water heater. J would have known all of that.

I felt so overwhelmed—the polar opposite of situations that I took care of on my own and felt competent and like I’ve got this.

It didn’t help that Amy was already in a bad mood when I arrived home. I felt put on the defensive from the start and it seemed like the more we talked, the more I unintentionally pissed her off and violated boundaries I didn’t even know she had. I have tried to do so well with respecting boundaries, even while grieving, and felt like I completely fucked it all up.

Part of it was also that I was really having trouble integrating myself into a cohesive person after successfully calling out my MIL. Finally speaking the truth that I had kept secret for nearly 3 decades didn’t line up with the version of me that I had been for so long and I don’t know how to make that shift.

It’s like I’m getting in touch with a version of me that existed before I met J and that makes me profoundly uncomfortable about a lot of things. How much more will I discover about my personality that I shoved aside during our marriage? It’s actually deeply unsettling and makes me feel very insecure and uncertain, like I can’t even trust myself right now.

On an unrelated note, my MIL’s best friend commented on my article, which I NEVER expected in a million years and I don’t even know what that means. MIL and this woman have been on-again/off-again best friends for like 50 years by now and are currently friends. Their friendship dynamic is very much like mine used to be with my former best friend, who dipped out of my life for good before J even got diagnosed with cancer.

I honestly really thought my former friend might pop up again just to acknowledge J’s death—I know I would have if she’d lost her husband, even if we weren’t friends at the time. And what that sadly tells me is what I’d suspected and finally figured out: she really didn’t ever care about me at all. It was all me trying to hold on to something that wasn’t there in the first place.

On more positive notes, Dylan decided to give a eulogy at J’s memorial service next month, and wow, I was so blown away by that. It takes so much poise and strength and confidence to do that and I am just in total awe.

And his girlfriend came over to stay the night and the two of them talked to me for about 2.5 hours. I think that’s the most I’ve ever heard her speak at one time. She told me that she could talk to me more honestly and openly than with most of the other “mother figures” in her life and I was super touched by that.

Overall a very weird day and I think I’m going to crash really hard. Just too many complicated emotions for one day—but the one overarching emotion that ran through the whole day was that I really, really, really still miss J and can’t believe he’s gone forever.

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