“ So when my coffee date began to tell me his breakup story, I realized that I was merely there to listen. I am just out of “the hospital” now, although I never had the luxury of being admitted. "
I was “all in,” I hear myself say to the deaf ears of another, who then quickly relates his breakup story back over coffee and talk. In January, the equivalent of a car accident took the life of my marriage, leaving me in physical, emotional and psychological ICU, a place from which, had it been an actual crash, I would have recovered with around-the-clock nurses and no visitors, therapists to teach me how to walk again with slow, steady encouragement, and a cascade of flowers to surround my bed and cheer the first waking moments of each frightening new day, in those initial seconds before the realization that everything I had and dreamed of got buried at a funeral to which I had not been invited. Some friends had heard that I had been driving drunk, when in reality I had been the passenger, and there was nothing I could do about that, either. What happened instead: I got out of bed almost every morning at 5am and walked six blocks in the cold darkness to exercise my own body. I chanted and begged for the grace to be grateful and not angry, because you can’t be both at the same time, and I took a chance that this truth would trick me forward. I went to work, missing only two days, and when I would sometimes remember the faces of my coworkers from months before, smiling up at me from their seats at my wedding as I sweat through a lemon covered garland of flowers, professing a lifelong commitment to my God and my husband, I would panic and run into the men’s room and cry until the moment of humiliation passed. Then I would remind myself that I was still married to God, had meant what I said, and could keep their gifts. I took good care of my dog, the needy, loving creature who didn’t mind that I sobbed and held him tightly each night at bedtime because it only meant more attention from me and made my salty face taste better to lick. So when my coffee date began to tell me his breakup story, I realized that I was merely there to listen. I am just out of “the hospital” now, although I never had the luxury of being admitted. In my heart, and in my mind, I have only now come home, tubes removed and my cast cut off, sympathy cards stacked in a pile in the corner. Life in real time has gone on without me, and the actual recovery is beginning. I must feel so deeply sad today because I am finally standing at the graveside, looking at the marker that declares the death of my old life with dates and names, one of which represents someone I can never be again, and my tears mourn the loss of that time more than the characters in it. I will slowly walk back to my car and begin to drive to wherever the ride will take me. I have no plan, no map, and an empty seat next to me which was once stacked with promises. And I am lonely, and I am afraid. It is not the road I believed I was on. I can only hope to somehow let go of the fear and find joy in turning up the music and in getting lost again. I have no choice but to be brave, as I remember the truth of my own spirit, as I find my way.