It was my choice for him to leave and with reluctance, he agreed. Jack and I had done this many times before. We knew the routine; we knew how to break up. This was the fourth time and we knew it was final, no question in our minds. There was no slamming doors, no screaming, no ugly words, just a sad calm. And the occasional turning away from each other to gather ourselves as tears would run down our faces.
There was always a cloud of sadness to see him leave and we always cried together. I could never understand that. Many times we could not go through with it, so we would stay together. Although this time the fighting had ceased and we had been trying to rebuild, we found we were too wounded and numb to even know how to rebuild. We knew it was final, it was over, he was tired and so was I.
We had been through nineteen years of fussing, arguing, fighting against one another and not understanding one another. Over the years we had beat upon each other emotionally so bad that the only hope for a bright future was to go in separate directions.
I was scared to be out on my own, but determined. So I started making plans and began looking for a job. Jack even helped me make a budget and a list of the new responsibilities that I would have to manage on my own. Things were starting to change for the better, I thought.
Just as Jack was making plans for where he was going to live, my world began taking on a whole new perspective. I would go about the house doing chores and things would catch me off guard, things that caused me to re-examine myself.
One day I walked outside to the shed to put something away, I don’t remember what because my focus shifted. There, by the shed door were Jack’s boots where he had placed them. They caught my attention and as I stood there looking at them, I watch them fade away. His boots just disappeared right before my eyes. Then I heard the words in my head, “I will never see them there again.”
I continued into the shed in a daze and I looked around at all of the things that belonged to him. The thought continued in my head, “this is the last time I will see these things.” I stared, feeling devastated, I was flooded with sorrow. Instantly I turned around and ran back into the house to compose myself before our son come home from school.
Everything would change
This went on for about a week, everywhere I went, everything I looked at, everything I saw, everything I did kept me in this perpetual sorrow of “this is for the last time.” The echo of that thought brought so many things into realization.
Never would I wake up to him or go to sleep by him, I’ll never see him brush his hair, brush his teeth or shave. Never will I smell the scent of his cologne or the smell of him after he had just taken a shower. I will never see him sit in the living room, watch TV, or share Saturday morning’s drinking coffee, or talking as just my husband.
Never again would I wash his clothes, dry them, fold them or put them away. Never again would he look at me the way only he looks at me with his blue eyes, or hear his voice the way I’ve known it. I knew I would never see him walk out or back in the door as my husband.
The reminders were tormenting
All these things were reminders that we were winding down to the finish, the finish of us. Everything had become so surreal and so final. It felt like I was dealing with a death. My heart broke over and over again. It was hard to keep myself together at any given time because the grief was overtaking me. The torment was constant and often unbearable.
Everything was a reminder of what I was letting go of. It was telling me something deeper, how much I did care, how much he was a part of me, and what I was giving up and letting go of. I began realizing that I could not go through with this breakup. Now that our fighting had ceased and we were working together to make the transition, the calm and peace in our home began to turn our hopelessness into hope again. I then knew that I wanted us to work and that I did not want to be without him.
Janet Surrett Sept. 18, 2008
For more of our story: