Hi Journal. It's been a couple years since I wrote, I know. So what brings me here again? Well, grief. The same thing that has always brought me back. Heartbreak and my livejournal, ah yes. It's a little weird because this journal has been an epic complication of my life with my exhusband, but the grief I am experiencing now has nothing to do with him... except, well, I guess I can say the relationship I just got out of was MAJORLY tortured by the lasting effects of my divorce and consequential commitment issues, so there it is, the connection that ties this all together.
March of 2013 was the worst month of my life in years. It's been the kind of heartbreak that won't let you eat, or sleep, or work, or function. The kind of heartbreak where you cry in the shower and yell in the car and breakdown in public places and you don't even care because they don't know how bad you hurt. It's the kind of hurt where denial is the only safe place, and the only thing that makes you get up and brush your teeth or feed the cat is that he might come back today, even though you know he won't. This is the kind of heartbreak that I never wanted to feel again and thought I had protected myself from. I put up so many walls, dammit! I put up walls to prevent this!!! And then the ironic thing is that the very walls I put up to protect myself are the ones that got in the way of my happiness.
It’s been a while, old friend, but I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner. I really need to write. The thing is, though a writer I am, I have a problem writing just for me. Everything I write, fiction or nonfiction, I have some intention of someone else seeing someday. I write to be heard. Writing a journal for my own eyes exclusively doesn’t really motivate me. I don’t know why. That’s what was so great about this whole thing back when I started livejournal in 2002. I poured my fragile little emo 19-year-old soul into this thing, and it helped. And people read it. And it was cool. Now, livejournal, I realize that NO ONE is going to read this now. At least, no one who read this almost 10 years ago, who knows the whole story. Yet, it feels like a cohesive unit because it’s right here with all the rest of my barely-post-adolescent ramblings. If anyone ever did read this, it would be some random bored livejournal person who maybe searches a random entry or a tag or something (maybe I’ll tag this), and that’s cool and all, but they probably won’t make it past this paragraph. Still, the thing, the thing is, someone COULD read this. It’s possible. And that, for some reason, makes the words flow.
I have a lot of explaining to do, LJ. About 18 months ago my life completely changed. Remember that guy who back in 2002 broke my heart, but eventually moved 700 miles to be with me, and then we got married? Well, we got divorced… I know! WTF? Looking back, it’s so weird. I was in such a fog the whole time it was happening, a crazy thyroid-crazed rage of emo (I don’t really use that word anymore to describe me, but here in LJ land it feels right, ha), that only now in retrospect can I really see what happened.
I attribute my divorce, and by consequence, the complete upheaval of my world to two things:
1. Bronx Dying
2. Grave’s Disease
I believe the last entry I wrote in here was about Bronx, the dog, dying. (I now realize I made that one private, along with a few other more recent entries about the marriage and wedding for some reason I can’t remember.) Until then I had at least one entry a year, and then I totally missed 2010. I didn’t just miss it on livejournal, I missed it completely. I don’t even know what the fuck I was doing in 2010. I was a hot mess I tell you. I guess I should just start at the beginning, wherever that is. I don’t even know.
Before the dog died, this was my life: Married to a guy who made me laugh all the time. That’s what worked. We didn’t have a whole lot of intimacy, because I was by nature a loner type (I’m talking emotionally here), but we connected through humor and through the dogs we had, which were our family. Half the time we talked to each other it was through the dog’s made up voices. Sounds messed up, maybe it was, but it worked because we laughed so much. Also, this guy knew me. It’s nice to be known, you know? I miss that now. I miss that he knew what made me anxious and helped me through that some. Now no one really knows me or how I work. Different people know different parts of me but no one really knows it all. I guess my ex didn’t really know all of it either, or rather he just didn’t understand it all. We didn’t have a lot of friends, and that made me unhappy. We had some friends of mine with husbands and we’d go out in couples, and he had some friends from work and we’d hang with them, but I didn’t get along with their girlfriends/wives very well, as I’m a very socially awkward individual and it takes me a while to get to know people and for them to warm up to my odd awkward but hilarious charm.
Get togethers with friends were not common though, maybe once or twice a month, and we spend a lot of weekends just sitting around staring at each other. I really hated that. I hated going on facebook and seeing other people’s pictures of exciting weekends out partying with friends. Why didn’t I have friends? Why didn’t I go to bars? I had never been to a club, even, and barely been to any bars. I had never done karaoke. I had never smoked a cigarette. I had never been like “Man what the hell happened last night? It was awesome!” I sat home Friday nights and I hated it. I talked to my ex about this all the time, and he did not understand at all. He worked all week, he saw friends at work, he just wanted to sit around all weekend. I told him about how I felt I missed out on my good college years because I was always caught up in relationships and never had any fun, and I always regretted that. He would just say that's messed up and weird and tell me I need therapy. That part always made me feel so alone.
There were other problems with the marriage but they were the little ones most people work through. He was messy. He was kind of cocky and turned off some of my friends with his attitude. I have a lot of health problems, and though proven by doctors, he always thought I was overreacting and a hypochondriac, which made me feel further not-understood and alonish. But these were minor things. They only matter because towards the end, they were the reasons I gave myself for why running away was okay.
So the dog dies. This was one of the two reasons for the divorce because it completely turned my world around, and drove a huge wedge between me and my ex. Mainly, it was what made me feel most completely unloved and alone. Towards the end of the dog’s life my ex sort of pulled away from him emotionally, because that’s how he copes. I, in turn, grew closer to the dog. When he died, I was very depressed, but I was dealing with it in my way. I wrote about it (here, on facebook too), and I cried, and a went on message boards for pet loss. I really loved that fucking dog. My ex, on the other hand, told me I was overreacting and to get over it, he was just a dog. The day after he died I was crying and my ex told me I shouldn’t be because we knew he was going to die, I should’ve been prepared or something. I know this was his way of dealing with it (to ignore it), but man did it drive us apart. I would go in the bathroom and cry alone for hours, so he didn’t see me. I felt like I could understand why some couples couldn’t stay together after a child dies, if you just cope two completely different ways it’s really messed up. Plus, the dogs were our family. Our family fell apart.
I feel like the dog dying also kicked off a bunch of health problems for me. I started getting heart palpitations a couple months later, and had some tests, but it was found to be the non-dangerous type. I was put on medicine. I didn’t know it at the time, but soon after my thyroid issues started. I will get to that later, because like I said at the time I didn’t know I had a problem, but in retrospect, wow. I know roughly when the thyroid issues began because I lost weight, and because the only concerning symptom I had was crazy easy bruising. I look back now to when I started noticing the bruising.
Fall of 2009. My “friend” from high school, we’ll call her Kate, was getting divorced because her husband left her crazy ass for someone sane and way prettier. I didn’t blame him because my “friend” was a complete lunatic, but at the time I stuck by her because I was a loyal friend. (You can see where this is going, but I’m trying not to get all out of order with the progression of things…) I started going back to my hometown and hanging with Kate and some other high school friends a lot. We started hanging out with my exboyfriend from high school and his loser friends, who were all single and alcoholic and either unemployed or mechanics. Glory days, I tell you. But they partied. They drank and hung out and went to bars. They did karaoke. They were fun. They were all really stupid, but it just made me go on some vendetta about how it was cool to live a simple life or something, and how rednecks weren’t so bad afterall. God, I was going nuts, but I had no idea why. I thought, really, that I was finally being given that opportunity to sew my wild oats. Here are my lost college days! Moreover, here were people who wanted to hang out with me!!! They want to party with me! Here is my opportunity to take drunk pictures for my facebook page and thereby declare my life is not lame! But most of all, I was just really happy to have friends, even if they were shitty ones. I think I felt good about being around those people because A) I was a more successful person than them so I wasn’t as shy and awkward, and B) they all knew me from high school, which was a me that I liked. They knew me as the best Brenda there ever has been.
It was fucked up and I knew it. I just didn’t know why I was doing it regardless. I started going to therapy. I knew something was wrong with me, I just didn’t know what. I told the therapist I was really happy to finally have friends to hang out with. I was excited that my socially awkward, borderline Asperger’s self had friends. I had parties to attend. My ex had no interest in any of it, but he also didn’t care or stop me from going. (This was a theme of the whole divorce, I was the one who set things in motion, the one who had to decide to leave, but he just let me go… he never tried to stop me, he never seemed to much care, I left but he never fought for me for one second.) Anyway, I went to my hometown every weekend after a while, and he stayed home. On Halloween, we went to separate parties, which was really I think, one of the major kickoffs of the divorce as well. A milestone, so to speak. The therapist told me I was regressing back to high school, but high school was the last time in my life I remembered (and still remember) being truly happy. So it was okay. I did want to be back in high school. My glory days.
Christmas is what forced me to make a decision. My ex and I had some talks about how things weren’t working, and we’d just grown apart so much since the dog died and since I was hanging with other people. Like I said, he never fought for me. I told him I was unhappy, and instead of wanting to fix things, his approach was to say, “I’m not going to beg you to stay, if you’re unhappy leave.” He even told me that the biggest reason he didn’t want to get divorced is because he felt his life was finally “settled” and he didn’t want to have to do the whole dating thing again. It would be a pain in the ass to get divorced, basically. I mean, he never once said he wanted ME, that he loved ME and wanted ME to stay, he just wanted his wife to stay and be content because it would be a lot of work to have to find a new one. The therapist told me she could tell I just wanted to find someone to make me feel loved. I didn’t realize at the time she was right, but now I guess it makes since. My ex and I could laugh and laugh and laugh, but we were only really connected through laughter and the family we had with the dogs, and not through love. When the dog died, we lost the family, and we stopped laughing.
Then for Christmas we were supposed to fly to stay with his family for a week. Up until then I had been living a double life. I had my hometown life, and my married life. I told my ex I loved him, I just didn’t love being married. At the time, I really meant it. I had this whole thing stuck in my head about how I needed to go be 21 because when I was 21 I was acting 42. The thing is, I KNEW I was being idiotic! I knew it was a stupid move, and I KNEW I would regret it. I KNEW the grass was not greener! And yet, I can’t explain it, I was COMPELLED to continue living in my new life, with friends and parties and stupid drunk backstabbers, knowing it would crash down, and not being able to explain even to myself why I had to play it out anyway, see it happen, before I could move on and be happy being married again. I never really considered that I wasn’t happy with my ex because I thought I was. But the therapist told me that if I was happy in the relationship I wouldn’t want to leave, and at the time I fought her on that, saying no no no, I love him… he’s not the problem… but another thing that looking back, I see she was right. If I had a strong relationship with my ex I wouldn’t have had this “unfulfilled” feeling I thought could only be satiated by partying with drunk losers.
I may sound like a selfish bitch now, and in a way I was. I won’t deny that, I will only say there was more to it. I loved my husband a lot, we’d been together seven years, and the part about all of this was that I didn’t want to hurt him. I remember telling my friend Mike, who was in Afghanistan at the time but always on webchat, that I wish I could have a year separation, then get back together, because I felt I just needed to play out the other life, and I knew it would come crashing down, and I’d want this life back. It was horribly selfish and of course I knew that and so I never asked for that or anything. Instead, I had to make the choice, and on Christmas my ex was leaving to get on that plane, and I didn’t go with. I remember the main thought in my head was that I couldn't go down there and fake that everything was okay in front of his family for a whole week. It just seemed impossible. When he left, I sat bawling, saying how I was going crazy. How I felt insane. My head wasn’t right. And he said he got it. He left. I moved in with my parents.
Enter the year of insanity and stupidity. This is when the Grave’s Disease must’ve just skyrocketed because I was freaking crazy and made some bad choices. I threw myself into stupid rebound dating scenarios. I drank. A LOT. Like, 6 nights a week a lot, and I was still finishing grad school, too, mind you. I had my party glory days, all right, but they didn’t last long. The people I was hanging out with were NOT good people. They were, as I said, losers and alcoholics, but much worse, they were backstabbers and liars (and sluts) and all together just not good people. I ended up getting quite hurt by some dumb boys, and then one of them really fucked me over by essentially cheating on me (though not officially, since none of those tools would ever commit to a relationship). That was sort of the end of me hanging out with that group of guys, but what’s fucked up is that Kate and the other stupid girls, including my sister, basically chose them over me! So much for friends. Kate told me I ruined everything, because now we couldn’t all hang out. HE CHEATED ON ME! I had stood by her and flicked off her ex and called him a fuckhead for her, and she couldn’t even stop hanging out with a guy who cheated on me? All I did was call him out about it at a party and “cause a scene,” and this was enough for the girls to tell me it was my fault, so they could go on fucking the guys. Literally.
(Six months later Kate and the guy who cheated on me slashed the tires on my car. I found out for sure it was them but it was through word of mouth so the cops couldn’t do anything. Only then did my own sister unfriend him on facebook, but her boyfriend still is cool with him. It’s fucking ridiculous, it’s like the guy was a fucking god or something, he was just so damn awesome no one will stop being his friend even when he vandalizes my fucking property. I know Kate did it because she was always jealous of me, and she was mad that her husband left her whereas I was the “leaver” in my relationship, and she projected her anger over her ex on to me. Thing is, no one can ever pretend to understand someone else’s divorce, and you definitely can't compare them. Bitch. But whatever, that story could be a whole other journal entry, but I’m over it.)
After the blow up with the ass, my sister was the only friend I had left so I had no choice but to ignore that she was still somewhat cool with the ass and all them. I hung out with her and her boyfriend for a while while things calmed down. This was when I found out I have Grave’s Disease.
Grave’s Disease affects the thyroid, causing a bunch of crazy shit, including weight loss, confusion, anxiety, nervousness, heart palpitations… (from Wiki) “Graves’ thyrotoxicosis often gradually affects the life of the patients, usually for many months, but sometimes years, prior to the diagnosis. This is partially because symptoms can develop so insidiously that they go unnoticed; when they do get reported, they are often confused with other health problems.” So was this WTF was happening to me? Yes. Of course, when I first found out I had some crazy disease I was in denial. I didn’t even take my medicine or I skipped doses and cut pills in half. This was bullshit, afterall. I was FINE. I just bruised a lot, that’s why I’d been tested. These doctors were crazy. I was normal. The pills made my hair fall out and of course they made me gain weight. I ignored the Grave’s, and so I also ignored that: “Because emotional lability of the thyrotoxic patient may create interpersonal problems (often producing significant marital stress and conflict), thorough explanation of the disease can be invaluable.”
Now, before you go thinking I’m totally bonkers, let me say my condition is mild. Right now my hyperthyroid is controlled with like half of half the dose the doc wanted to start me on, and I break the smallest dose pills in half and take them only once a day. To be on less medicine would be impossible. It could go into remission any time, and then I might be all good. It’s more of a pain in the wallet than anything. But looking back, and knowing now that Grave’s causes mood swings and nervousness and confusion and all out craziness, I wonder how much of my actions that year had to do with that. I knew I was crazy, I just didn’t know why or what was making me that way. I thought it was a run-of-the-mill quarterlife crisis and I wanted to sew my oats and all that. I still don’t like to think I was nuts with thyroid, but it’s really scary. I dissociated emotional ties with everyone, even my dog. (Yeah I ended up with Roxy and she came to live at my parents with me.) I largely ignored her for a year and then when I got treatment, I started loving her again, and you could tell she had noticed, and was happy again. Anyway, the Grave’s is still scary, because even though my doctor says if my labs are okay I shouldn’t be experiencing mood swings or mental symptoms, some places online say different, that even after you control the thyroid part of Grave’s, it can still affect you mentally. So now everytime I have a bad day or get pissed off at something, I wonder, is this the Grave’s? Am I crazy? And sometimes it’s worse. Sometimes I am really depressed, but that’s probably because of life.
My ex and I gave up really easily. That’s what everyone in the family said too when I told them about the divorce. There was no counseling, there was no year or two of fighting… rather, it was like 3 months of me pulling away and going to hang out with other people, then he went home for Christmas, and I moved out, and a few months later, divorce. I guess it’s what happens when neither person is motivated to try. If one person wants a divorce, but the other wants to try to make it work, then you try. But we just stopped. We really didn’t try. I wish we would have, really. I wish he would’ve fought for me. Let me know he cared one way or another. He never did.
I have talked to my ex a handful of times now, a few before the divorce, and a few after. Before vs. after has been radically different. My ex sort of treated the divorce like he treated the dog dying. I didn’t think of him much during the “year of crazy” because I was crazy, and in denial, and totally dissociative. I just ran off to life #2 and ignored what I left behind. I remember the day my ex text me though, saying what a slutty whore I was for having a boyfriend. (He’s never talked to me like that, I wasn’t hurt or mad, just sad.) He found out through facebook snooping, and it took some detective work too because we weren’t friends and my stuff was private. Turns out he found my new and at the time just casual boyfriend's page, but anyway… I felt awful. He was calling me names which made me know how bad I’d hurt him. I hated that he’d found out. I hated thinking he was crying over me. The thing was, I wasn’t ready to go back to my old life yet. I only needed a couple more months, because a couple more months and I would’ve been where I was now. Where I miss my old life…. But then I just let him yell, and a couple weeks later, he asked for the divorce, because “chicks don’t dig married dudes.” I felt I couldn’t deny him the divorce when I wasn’t ready to go back (yet), and so I gave it to him.
The divorce was the most damn amicable thing ever. I guess he was super nice because he was getting away with murder, me being unemployed at the time, lined up to do some adjunct teaching that literally pays only $8,000 a year, and him making over $80,000 a year. Yep, I’m either nice or fair or dumb. But we didn’t use lawyers, we just did papers online, and went to the court house. We had an hour to wait, during which we chatted nicely, caught up on family stuff, and laughed some. We always made each other laugh, even when we were getting divorced. It was almost too easy, an hour at the court house, a name change, done. IT WAS TOO EASY!! Our money was always separate, part of me being overly anal and controlling I guess. I see now all these flaws with my thinking, all in retrospect. After court I didn’t go party, I was sad. It was a sad thing, getting divorced. I posted something to that affect on my facebook, and at my high school reunion a guy I barely knew told me he was glad to see I wasn’t partying about my divorce and was acknowledging it as the sad thing divorce was.
A few months after the divorce I met my ex for lunch. It was a pretty messed up thing to do, I guess. But I was somehow chatting to my ex via text about something I don’t remember, just very occasionally something will remind one of us of the other and we’ll have to share (it’s hard to quit talking to someone you were with for 7 years cold turkey, and considering that we did pretty well only communicating once every couple months), and I actually posed lunch to him. I was surprised he accepted. I wanted to do it because I just plain missed my ex, like as a friend I guess? And because we never had any closure. I just moved out, and we never talked. We never had a “so how long is this separation going to last?” or “are you coming back?” or “should we get divorced?” conversation. We never talked about what happened. I never thought about it, because I was in the year of crazy, I was in denial, I just blocked out EVERYTHING and lived this alternate life. I mean, I was nuts! It had to be Grave’s at least in part, because I look back now and I just have no idea HOW I even DID that!? But anyway, I met my ex for lunch and when I walked in, we both smiled, like because it was weird. And so we just chatted really pretty harmlessly, caught up about family and my Grave’s (though I didn’t explain really how it might have contributed to the divorce, just bitched about health insurance and stuff), and he talked about his job a lot, and how much money he was making, and how his boss told him in a couple years he’ll make six figures. And he did a good job of just slipping it into conversation, but I’m sure he was also trying to say “ha, you left, and now I’m rich, nah nah na na nah…” At the time, I supposed he was entitled to that, because up until very recently I blamed the entire thing on myself, and never really thought about his roll, since it was so passive. But dammit, now looking back, he did nothing and that was almost as much as all the things I did. Sigh.
After the lunch, which was harmless and didn’t get into anything emotional, I wrote him a drunk email at some point when I was having a very depressive night. Like I said, sometimes I get really depressed. Usually it’s when I’m out at some bar having no fun, in a fight with my boyfriend, feeling ugly and poor… I mean, fuck I have a lot to be depressed about. I got a Master’s degree and I can’t find any work except adjunct jobs that pay below the poverty line so I have to live with my parents. I have no benefits, and a health condition that makes it so no insurance companies will take me (I have over a $5000 deducitble on my current policy, and I have to get blood tests and go to the doc every 3 months). NO one will publish my damn novel! Just rejection after rejection. I have no friends, except my sister and her friends. In fact, the only good thing that came of 2010 is that I wasn’t friends with my sister before, and now I am. But, at the same time, she can be pretty self-centered, she’s not like a real friend, I don’t feel I could really confide in her, or have her read this or anything. Like I said, she remained friends with a guy who cheated on me, so there you go. Mike is really the only friend I have that I can confide in, but we don’t talk much anymore. We kind of got in a fight over last Christmas because I’m not thrilled he’s in the Army, long story, another thing I won’t get into here. But I digress.
My ex responded to the email, and then like a few weeks later, not long ago now, he text me asking if I’d ever cheated on him, and saying he thought I did. Both of these conversations basically ended with him saying that he’d never trust me again, because I ran off. Now he’s scared all girls he’s with will just change there mind and leave, like I ruined him. It feels a bit melodramatic honestly. Boo-hoo. I even told him about a guy I'd been dating who, when I tried to break up with him, sat in my driveway all night begging for me back, and my ex goes, “that really works?” Um YES!!?? It does work, to tell someone you don’t want them to leave! Maybe if you’d just once told me you wanted me to stay I would have! That’s the whole thing, I think he wanted it to be over just as much as I did, he just let me do all the work. I had to pull the trigger, while he sat back letting me think it was all my fault. I was the bad guy because I was the one who physically moved out? I don’t know. In our last text convo, after I denied cheating on him, because I never did, (Oh I flirted with the losers in my hometown, but I never acted on anything until after I moved out, I was offended he’d think I cheated. I thought he knew me better than that) he told me that he’d basically concluded we weren’t right for each other. He cited that he never understood why I wanted to go have a party life, but now he’s doing that and it’s great and he sees why it’s great. He also says that we weren’t good together because I was so socially panicky and didn’t get along with his friend’s girls and he likes to go out now. I was baffled by this, I mean I made a great attempt to get alone with those bitches, and he’s telling me that he’s upset we never went out with friends?! And blaming my social anxiety on this!?!?! I was the one who cited us never going out or having any friends as why I was unhappy! He must not remember telling me “I see my friends at work, I just want to sit around and relax on the weekends.”
I asked him if he had been happy with me, and he said something like, “I remember that I was, but I don’t remember being that way.” And that’s the thing. I’m just like Bronx’s death. He just blocks it out, turns it off. He has it in his head now that we were bad for each other, and I guess that’s his right, to have that defense mechanism, so that all he can remember is the bad things. I’m sure if I said, “hey do you remember how much we used to laugh?” He’s respond with “no,” because he has blocked out all of it. I know it. It’s probably why he didn’t want Roxy in part, he just wants to forget it all ever happened. I was going on about how depressed I was, in a moment of weakness, and he said some crap like, “you’ll find someone good for you someday,” and that was pretty much the end of it. One night at the bar I was crying to my sister about this, and in a rare moment when she actually listened to me like a friend, she said, god if you want your ex back just tell him, he’d take you in a second. But she has no idea. He never would, he’s basically said that.
One other thing I told my ex on at least two occasions, was that I wonder if we hadn’t actually got the official divorce, if now would be the time we tried to come back together and work on things. I can tell you for me it would be. It took from fall of 2009 when I was running off, to that Christmas when I moved out, to about March or April of this year for me to come around. So, a year and half of crazy. Now I am ready. This is the point where I want to return, and I can’t. And I knew I wouldn’t be able to. In response to my question, my ex gave the response about never trusting me again. Again, I want to say, come on man, stop pulling the pity card and own up to your part in things. And everyone is entitled to one life-crisis fuck up, right? You can move past those things. Thing is, I don’t know that I want it 100% enough to fight for him either, so I haven’t really. I couple conversations, and I let it go. Or maybe I’m just scared of the obvious rejection, and if I admit to myself that I want him back, then I give up all control over what happened, which would make me even more depressed. Some days I acknowledge that clearly we were not right for each other, or I would’ve never left. Other days I feel like I gave up on something for nothing, and I want to go back. I wish we’d worked on it more, then I could say with more certainty that we’d tried and it wasn’t working. One other thing he told me once recently, was that he’s now concluded he could never have been the person I needed him to be. I believe he was referring to my anxiety issues, or hang up I have with the past, or maybe even my physical ailments. But it’s not like I’m any more messed up than anyone else. That’s how I know these are just the bullshit things he tells himself to move on. I mean, come on. You could’ve never been who I needed you to be? You never once tried! I don’t need much. You never tried.
In the beginning, I thought he divorce was 100% my fault, and I felt horribly guilty about it, but, like I’ve said a few times now, it really wasn’t. Doing nothing when I walk out is just as bad as walking out yourself. When I would discuss being unhappy, the only response I ever got was “you’d be stupid to do that because I’m rich,” “I really don’t want to have to bother to date again,” or “well I’m not going to make anyone be with me so if you want to leave go ahead.” He obviously was as unhappy as I was, I’m just the one who acted on it first. I take responsibility for 51% of the divorce. The other 49% would’ve been easily resolved by the words, “I want you to stay.”
There are days now when I just want to wake up in the comfort of my old life. I just want to wake up in the townhouse, and not do anything but watch TV on a Friday night. It sounds nice and fine and comfortable and established. I know I was unhappy with my ex before because I felt lame and trapped like that, but things would be different now. If I got back with him, we’d go out more now. I’m more social now, I’ve gotten past some of my anxiety. I’ve learned about myself, and more about how relationships are now. I’m more open to sharing more now, less weird about needing to be so independent. I’m less cold. Things would be different… and sometimes I want to tell my ex about this. I want to say, hey, it wasn’t me, it was Grave’s disease! And I never cheated, I left, but you let me, and even if it was all my fault, can’t you give one more chance? I mean, people sometimes cheat and still if it’s only once, they are forgiven and stay married and go on and be fine. I didn’t cheat, I just went crazy! But I’m better now, and things would be different! Everyone deserves to fuck up ONCE!? Right?? Maybe we’d go to counseling, and we’d get another dog, and we’d laugh, and we’d be happy. And you know, if I was sure I wanted him back, I’d have nothing to lose in saying all that. And if I thought he wanted me even a little, it would be enough to make me say that. I just can’t be sure I want to go back into a relationship where I’m not wanted, not as more than an end to dating, the title of “wife.” So I don’t say those things. But I do miss laughing. No one in my life comes close to making me laugh like he did. My dad is funny, that’s about it. Not being around funny people, I find myself less funny. My ex and I laughed so much, I will probably never laugh with anyone like that again. And for the first time in writing this whole damn thing, I tear up about this fact.
Maybe what I need is an artist or a writer. I’ve never dated a writer. Back in grad school I never had a crush on anybody or anything like that, but I was surrounded by guys who did creative writing, and so I’d wonder, in a completely objective way and not about any certain guy, but I’d just wonder what it would be like to date a writer like myself. I had to force my ex to read some of my novel, and he never got through it. I gave to to my boyfriend, he hasn’t touched it. Writing is like the biggest thing in my life, and I’ve never been able to share it with anyone I’m romantically involved with. I’ve never even dated a guy who reads for fun, ha, it’s messed up. But then again, writers are pretty fucked up. I am case in point.
Sometimes I have to think I should just move across the country. I mean, if anyone is going to, I am the perfect candidate. I have no kids. I can’t get a job around here, the place I live sucks for men, and if I broadened my job search I’d have a much better chance of actually getting a full time job with benefits. I have no friends except my sister, so all I’d be leaving behind are drunken weekend nights at the bar, about 75% of which suck ass anyway. If anyone is going to move cross-country, it should be me! All that’s holdling me back is my mom, who since I was like 6 years old has told me pretty much every week that if I move away I will kill her, but she will just have to deal I guess, half the people I went to high school with have moved across the country, and their parents have survived. But who am I kidding? It's not because of my mom, it's because I’m scared. To move somewhere when I know no one and to be me, the person who finds it nearly impossible to make friends? It would quite lonely. So what I do now is, I sit with all the jobs in my field pulled, up, and I click on jobs in California, Massachusetts, Oregon, there was one in Colorado between where Mike is based and my friend Brian and his wife moved, but all I can do is STARE at these jobs. I don’t tell anyone. I just stare at the jobs. I stare until they get too old and I figure it’s too late to apply. Then I stare at more. I haven’t applied to any yet. I tell myself I’m waiting for the perfect location, but the Colorado job was probably great, and I let that go too. I’m chicken shit. I don’t even know why.
I guess it’s time to wrap this up, 14 single spaced pages, that’s enough, right? I know what I need is a job and an apartment and friends. I’d like a book deal too. But some days I think, well shit I should just force myself happy. Isn’t that what our grandparents did? They just married the guy down the street and had kids and they were happy, because there wasn’t another option. Maybe I’m just doomed to not be happy. I was happy in high school, when I had friends and boyfriends and no health problems. I was even pseudo-happy back in the year of denial and crazy. I was happy with my ex, around the wedding, but was I happy with him, or happy with getting married and having a nice house and dogs that I loved like children? I don’t know. I don’t know what the answer is. Right now, I let everyone else make the decisions. I apply to jobs that are a given, like the community college right down the road, but I can’t muster up and even send a resume to jobs across the country. I’m being passive now. I’m sick of trying to make things happen. Now I’m just waiting for something.
I feel I owe Bronx a blog. I owe him a lot more than a blog, but at least a blog. I don't expect anyone to read this, but I want to have it here, I guess. I know I've been updating about him like crazy, and I'll try to make this the final one. It's hard though, I mean, there's nothing else I want to update about because this is all I think about. 1/4 of my family is gone.
If you haven't seen my status, or don't know, my boxer dog Bronx passed away on Monday.
First, the guilt. The guilt, the guilt. Bronx had been sick for a year, and every once in a while he'd get this "episodes" where he'd have a hard time breathing or his heart would be pounding or it would be barely beating. Every time, we thought "this is the one," but every time, he recovered. Then, about two weeks ago he went into heart failure, which is basically his "turn for the worse." Since then he's had a hard time breathing almost always. Still, we didn't want to put him down just yet because he was still playing, eating, running around the house. He felt sick, but he seemed happy. I couldn't put down a dog that was happy. (Mac had wanted to put him down Friday, but I was afraid maybe we'd be doing it just to satisfy us, because we were so ready to move on, so I refused and Mac agreed. We kept him and he had a good weekend chilling with us.) Plus, I really wanted him to die at home. I didn't want to have to make the decision to put him down, and I wanted Roxy to be able to smell him and know he was gone.
So Monday I had to go to UIC to do placement readings. It's like a job, but I really couldn't call in because you sign up for four dates and then you go - I'm sure I could have called in if I seriously needed to, but I didn't think I should call just because Bronx was having "an episode." I'd called in to my other jobs over the past year for "episodes" and every time Bronx was fine.
Monday morning Mac was gone already, it was around 10:30 that I had to leave, and I was running late. As I was getting ready to run out the door, Bronx did something odd - he lied down in front of the front door. Our place is all second floor except you go down half a flight to the front door, then another half flight to the garage door (the garage is the only part of our place on the first level). Now, the entryway by the front door is where he goes whenever he has an upset stomach or feels sick in general, so I kind of half knew that's probably where he'd go if he was going to die. He sort of wanted to wander down there during other "episodes" but if we were home we'd encourage him to stay upstairs. He was laying there, breathing so heavy. But again, I was late! So I went down there to pass by him (Roxy was running around and everything was chaotic), and I noticed some pee dribbles by him, so I ran him out very quick through the garage. He peed on a bush, then I coaxed him back inside. I basically left both dogs on the stairs. Before I left, I gave Bronx a pet on the head and told him to be okay. I said I'd be back in four hours or so.
He looked very worried. I should have known, dammit.
But if I had known, would I have stayed? I know now that if I knew how I'd FEEL now I would stay, but truthfully, every time Mac and I left the house lately, we'd tell the dog it was okay if he wanted to "go to the light" while we were gone. I think we just wanted him to go on his own (not being put down) so bad, I didn't even consider that I should be with him.
As I drove away, I looked, and saw him looking out the windows by the front door at me. He always did that, so it wasn't unusual, but again, I should have known. Something was telling me this was it. His little face in the window - it's killing me.
When I got done at school I had to pick up some of his medicine, but I had such a feeling then that he'd be dead I decided to go home first to make sure he was alive before I spent the money. I opened the door from the garage and called for the dogs. Only Roxy came downstairs. Still, I didn't know for sure then, because since Bronx got sick sometimes he slept so hard he wouldn't hear me, and I could take Roxy out and go upstairs and find him asleep, but alive, on the couch. So while I was taking Roxy out and prepared myself. I opened the door and Roxy ran up the stairs, and I was thinking about where I'd find him. I stepped inside the small, probably 3 x 3 foot space at the foot of the stairs, and tried to the shut the door. The door was stuck on something. I looked down.
The door was stuck on Bronx. That's how I found him, he was behind the door the whole time and I didn't know until I looked down and saw him rear, legs spread eagle, beneath me.
So right away I went into everything I'd prepared to do. I got a blanket to cover him. I called Mac. I called the vet. Mac was coming home and the vet gave me instructions on coming home.
Then I went down to cover him, and that's when I realized what an asshole I was.
I should have stayed!!!
Why didn't I stay with him? God, he was trying to tell me he was sick. And at first I just kept saying, but he was always having an episode, I didn't expect him to die this time. He always recovered. But the truth is, I realized today I think, that I knew he might die, and I may have left anyway. We were just so READY for him to die, I didn't think about being there. But when I saw him, by the garage door, like he was trying to FOLLOW ME I knew I should have stayed.
The way I found him, he had clearly not curled up to die. He was standing, and he fell. He landed, like I said, spread eagle, on a clothes hanger and two speaker stand poles (not comfortable). He had his face tiled towards the space under the stairs, which was filled with boxes, so I couldn't really see his face, and I decided not to look at his eyes or anything. I didn't think I'd be able to touch him, but I found I wanted to. I petted him. He was cold. He must have been dead a while.
I wondered if he must have watched me out the window, then walked right down to the garage door and collapsed. Or did he watch me for awhile? Was he scared? Did it hurt? Did he pass out or drown in his lung fluid painfully? Did he wish I'd been there? Was he waiting for me to come back? Was he trying to tell me this was it? It was clearly his worst episode, but I wasn't paying attention I was too much in a hurry. Mac thinks that if I'd been there he may not have died, because he would have tried to make it for us, like he always did (but he said this as a good thing, because we wanted him to die). Others are telling me stories about how there dogs went off alone to die, because animals want to be alone to die. And I think if I'd found Bronx in the back bedroom or something, then I'd known he DID want to be alone. But no. He was at the door. Where I left.
Did he go down there because it was a small space? It was like going off in the corner to die? And he was too sick to make it upstairs, so he went down? OR, was he trying to follow me? This I will never know, but I sure feel guilty. When I found him, I said out loud to him that I was sorry, that I should have stayed, that I hope he wasn't scared. I said this among other things.
So I talked to my mom and everything, then Mac got home. Mac rolled him into blankets, and we took him to the trunk. The new neighbors were out. Probably watching. It felt weird. I made sure Roxy smelled him multiple times, but she seemed really spazzed out. She was wagging her tail and jumping, but also whining. Just acting nuts. We all went to the vet, and Mac carried Bronx in. I followed with Roxy because they said I could bring her. It was awful, Mac was holding Bronx in the blankets and his stupid old head came flopping out, and so I had to see his dead face afterall, because Mac was DROPPING him in the hallway. It didn't really look like him. Or maybe it looked like he looked when he first woke up and had this sleepy, smooshy face. All his extra face skin bunched up. Not full of life. We put him in a back room, on a freezer that they'd put him in I suppose. We paid for cremation and ashes that we'll get in a week. I know that's sort of dumb, but I did it more for the fact that I didn't want to imagine him being thrown in a pile of dead dogs as medical waste, than for the fact I wanted the ashes. Now though, I can't wait for them. I want to bring him home for the final time, and I feel like even though they are only ashes, it will bring an end to this, like a funeral does for people.
Before we left the vet, we all went back again one last time. I covered his face again with the blankets, and I actually (through the blankets) hugged him. I could never have imagined that I'd do that to a dead body before this, but it was like, it's my Bronx. He's all cold and stiff but this is what's left of Bronx. His feet, I made Roxy smell them again before we left, they were freezing. But they were his little puppy feet. Mac had to drag me out of there. If not for Roxy getting all restless and excitable, I may never have left.
At home, things started to sink in. The guilt of leaving, and just being upset. Even though we'd been preparing for this for a year, ever since Bronx passed out in the kitchen and we ended up at the emergency vet. That night is when we found out he was going to die soon. We grieved that night because we thought he'd go then, but he didn't. He stuck it out for a year. Over the past year, we've been aware he could die two ways: his heart arrhythmia could cause sudden death any time, or if it did not, his heart would enlarge slowly until that caused heart failure. Once he went into heart failure we would have only a matter of weeks until the fluid in his lungs would get so bad we'd have to put him down or he'd die.
So every time we came home, every damn day, we thought it could be the day we'd find him gone. But no, he stuck it out, and then the heart failure came. Last week we noticed his gut was huge, turns out it was fluid in the abdomen. This meant we were at the failure stage. They drained the fluid and gave us a diarrhetic for the lung fluid, but it didn't work for long. By a few days, he was bloated again and breathing hard. He was still happy, though, like I said. I'm GLAD we didn't put him down, I just wish I would have been there when he died. I don't care how painful it would have been to watch. I hope he didn't feel I abandoned him. I hope he was not scared. I hope he was waiting for me to leave because he wanted to be alone. I hope Roxy was there for him, though she often ran from his attacks because they scared her. I hope her being around comforted him. At first I was appalled that he went splat on the floor from an obvious standing position, but Mac pointed out that this probably means it was quick. I hope it was. I don't like the body and the smooshy face and the cold feet being my last thoughts of him, but really they are not.
This picture that I have gets to me so much, I don't know why. Only about 2 days before he went I took a lot of stupid short videos on my camera of him. I thought I may need to see how he was breathing hard so that if we had to put him down and I regretted it, I could look back and see the struggle so I'd know it was the right thing. So I have a few videos of him breathing hard. But I also took this one 30 second video of him sitting by me, and at the end he looks back. This is a still shot of the video, which I think captures him so much more than a picture. Pictures do weird things to dog's eyes, and you can't see his soul coming through. But this screen shot, I think you can see it. This is how I remember him:
Roxy has been acting weird since we came home, but today I think she finally got sad. She's been mopey. I have Bronx's collar and his favorite football toy by me on a chair, and Roxy smells them. (Crap, I smell them.... they smell like stinky ol' Bronx, but now I want to smell stinky ol' Bronx.) We took Roxy for a walk today and she smelled two other dogs. I hope this helps her to not feel alone. Socialization. I was glad she got out and saw dogs. It seemed important. Now though, she is lying here looking so sad. And she whines. She just stands in the living room and whines. When there's a noise outside, she jumps up, more so than normal, and I wonder if she hopes it's Bronx, coming home.
Right now, what I am struggling with the most is knowing where he is. It's harder than when people die in that way. With people, you are comforted that they are in heaven and you will see them again, but with pets? I know some people think dogs have no souls, that they just go away when they die, to nothing. I am so terrified to think this is true. And the thing is, my religion pretty much says that's the way it is, though some protest it. Either way, the Bible really says nothing about it. So the first night, I spend all night looking up religious opinions on dog heaven. I found a lot of stuff, but no definitive answer. I don't know why this bothered me so much. I just felt - feel - like I HAVE to know. It's this desperate feeling that Bronx must live on. I don't know what it is about him, because I didn't feel this sort of thing with Amber (my childhood dog), and as awful as it is, I don't know that I'd feel this way with Roxy (I might). (I was/will be horribly sad and upset, of course, but with Amber I don't remember questioning her eternal life.) Bronx is different though. Others have told me he was special and it's true. He had SO MUCH personality, is was INSANE to most who met him, that way he talked to you, communicated, understood to much. He was so SMART. Also, he had so much LOVE. I am convinced there is no one on this planet that could love me as unconditionally and as much as Bronx loved Mac and I. He freaking loved us SO MUCH. So, when I think about him just being gone, it doesn't seem possible. It doesn't seem possible that that much intelligence and mostly that that much LOVE could just be gone. Bronx was a special dog.
So then I think about the other side - not the Bible verses and religion and all that, but about ghosts and psychics and spirits and that sort of thing. I mean, I sort of believe in ghosts, and I have read stories about people who have had a dog die, and then a few days later they hear tags jingle, or feel the dog jump on the bed or something. I investigated and found lots more. Does this kind of thing contradict my religion? This I don't know. It seems to make sense, that maybe a dog would come back just to say goodbye, or to let their owner know they were okay. I mainly just want to know he still exists, like I said. So I've been waiting around for a noise. Hoping, even. Today Roxy and I were in the loft, and we heard a noise on the tile by the front door below. We both jumped a mile. It sounded like the front door creaking, maybe? But not a creak. Maybe like wind settling the house, but it wasn't windy, and it was more concentrated. It was a small bang, bang on the floor. It wasn't exactly toenails though either. Still, I cautiously said, "Bronx?" outloud, and then I sort of laughed at myself and thought about what a lunatic Mac would call me. A few minutes later, there was a bang in the kitchen, not exactly like dog bowls, though, which Bronx would often bang around. This was more just a noise. It could have been dog bowls. But then dishwasher was running. So it was probably that.
What I want to believe is that he stays with us for a lot longer than a moment. But I also like to think that he feels so much better now, and that he can run and run and run around like before he was sick, and he can play with other dogs and have fun. It's hard though to imagine him happy without us because he was so attached (separation anxiety), but I know wherever he is his anxiety is probably gone now. I want to believe he can check on us, but I don't believe people can, so now it seems because of this dog I'm changing all my opinions on everything.
I did read one thing that I liked very much. One website suggested that in the same way God brings us about in heaven, we could chose to bring an animal around. Basically, God created animals and then man, and he made it so man rules over animals. God's love saves us and beings us to heaven. So maybe we can do the same for our pets. Maybe Bronx isn't around now, but when I die I can conjure him up. This is what my mom believes. It's an okay theory, but I still like to think Bronx is around right now. Somewhere.
But moving on...
I don't want this post to be all about his death, I also want it to be about his life. Bronx was part of our family. We are "crazy dog people" as you can see from our wedding pictures. Right now, it is still hard for me to think about "the good times." Mac is at that point, but I am still in the crying phase. But, I do have something to post about his life, that I wrote on 1/23/09. For some reason, that night I think I was sitting around with him, and I was thinking about how he was going to die, and he was right there, and I was writing this:
You had more personality than any dog I’ve ever known, and more than most people, too. You were the good and the bad, of course.
As you crept into our hearts by refusing to sleep on the floor, and persisting in playing fetch, you tried our nerves as well by breaking out of crates and ripping into trash bags.
Bronx, you’ve destroyed 13 different window treatments and 3 different apartments. You’ve ripped through a doorframe, scratched up 4 doors, chewed through 3 different industrial strength metal crates, eaten bras, tipped over tables, and peed on houseplants.
You were only trying to follow us when we left, though. You were scared to be alone. And when the painters came to paint the trim, you were only trying to scare them away. You were protecting your family.
Bronx, you had separation anxiety, allergies to almost everything, a ripped eyelid problem, an issue with your pee-pee that is too gross to describe, and you smell… really bad.
Most of all, you are simply just the most anxious animal on the planet. But if you weren’t so smart, you wouldn’t be that way.
Bronx, you love to cuddle. You can’t even imagine being in the same room as someone without being pressed up against them. You crawl up onto the couch and wiggle behind your daddy when he leans forward. You walk up the middle of the bed and wedge yourself between us at night, or curl up between scissor-kicked legs.
You also barge into the bathroom if the door isn’t completely shut.
Bronx, you talk to us. Not only do you know more English language words than most three-year-olds, you have expressions. When you want water, you tip your water bowl. When you want food, you tip your food bowl. When you want a cookie, you sit in front of the cabinet. When you want outside, you pace around by the door. When you want outside bad enough, you pee on the floor.
You love your toys more than most dogs. You are so proud to prance around when you get a new one. Your favorite, and most reliable, though, is Hewbert. You love anything that squeaks, so much that you get all hyper and spastic when you hear it.
And Bronx, you loooooove your sister. You were so happy when we got her. Yes, she was a pain, and she always took your toys. (She never, though, took Hewbert.) You let her curl up to you, and sometimes have the best seat on the couch. Other times, you wedge yourself between daddy and her, even when there’s no room. We know Roxy is so glad to have had you in her life. She will never have another best friend like you.
You were the Best Dog in our wedding. We couldn’t have imagined it without you.
Bronx, when I first met you, you weren’t sure who I was. But, on the long drive from Atlanta to Chicago, right around Kentucky, you leaned across the console and put your head in my lap, and that’s when I knew I could be your mommy.
Whenever I cried, for any reason, and anytime, you came. If you were across the house, you would know. Or even if I was just sad. You always knew. You would stick your big wet face right in mine, and just wait for me to cry into your fur. Even when I was upset because you were sick, you wondered why I was crying.
You were so funny. You were the funniest dog that ever lived. No dog can ever or will ever be as funny as you.
Bronx, when you first go sick, we thought we would lose you that night. Then, we thought you would have only a month or so more. The vet said at the most six. But you stuck around. You poor heart though, eventually, gave out. You lived to be 32 in anxiety-years. You were just so concerned for everyone around you. You were selfless.
Bronx, we will never forget you. You were the best, worst, moving loving, funny, human-like animal on the planet. We will never, ever be able to replace you.
RIP Bronx the Boxer. May you rest in doggie heaven with unlimited Hewberts, doggie friends, and love.
I miss him so much. Now when I cry, no one is sitting there, looking concerned like he always did. Perhaps that's what I miss the most.
Wow. I just started a quarterlife page, this is in addition to my Myspace and Facebook pages, and I decided to come back to where it all started. It's been SIX YEARS OF BLOGGING for me. That's crazy.
I downloaded all my past entries tonight, in case livejournal blows up or something. I can't imagine losing this stuff. So it puts it into a CSV file and it missed a few entries, so I had to browse through the spreadsheet and copy-paste the missing ones (I think they were too long, imagine that). In doing so, I got to see just how much I have here. I mean, everything from "Brenda's Top 25 Moments Ever" to "The Last Post I Will Write About Mac" to "I Swear the Last Post I Will Write About Mac" and just so much stuff.
It's amazing. I mean I have the whole history, six year history, of being crushed and then reunited with the love of my life, who I eventually married. It's just insane what I have here. A record of how I felt every moment. I love it.
I thought when I got sick, was hating my job, moving at work, dealing with losing weight, studying for the GRE, and planning the wedding, and then I broke out in an alien sized cold sore that there's no way I could possibly be more stressed out / worked up / sick / run down / totally physicially, emotionally, and mentally exhausted. I WAS SO WRONG.
It's been a hard week. It's all still surreal, and everytime I think about it I get sick to my sotmach. Much like a break up, its a refreshing breather when you actually get distracted by something like work or a job calling for an interview, or a package at the dog or and TV show. Then, when the moment has pasted and you have that breif, "what was I forgetting now?" and then you remember, and its like a rock sinking to the bottom of your stomach.
I talked to Kelly a few times. I have good friends, they're all trying to make up for it, take over, share their feelings of appauled-ness and so on. I'm still just thinking of the day, how all the fun has been taken out of it, how now there's only 6 in the bridal party and how lame ass that looks. How cool it was going to be, just like Mike and I had planned it, and how he blew me off for so little. For nothing, basically.
It blows me away that we've been planning this for 5 years and that it only took 3 days after finding out about the job for him to bail. Seriously it was Firday that he FIRST talked to the army about the job, Monday he was calling people about the batcheorette party, and then Tuesday all the sudden he was going to boot camp and sorry I couldn't wait, can't make it to the wedding by the way.
I'm still picking up the logistical pieces. I don't want to even look at my photo album centerpieces or programs because I will jsut get so depressed, yet I have to get on the ball and change them. Not to mention am I supposed to adjust my guest list. I don't even want to think about at the wedding all our high school friends asking where he's at, and having to explain it, or will they already know, will they know about my side or will they be biased? It makes me sooooo discontent.
Obviously I'm taking this hard, but I'm not calming down. Time is NOT making it better. I still mean every word of the post I wrote right after I heard about it. It will definetly never be the same. I jsut can't fucking believe it.