I know the people who love me are worried. And they should be. I worry about myself.
After my marriage ended this time last year, I processed my first broken heart. Most people do that as teenagers. I was 43. I had never lived on my own. I've always had a roommate or a spouse or parents. Suddenly and with no warning, I was trying to figure it out on my own.
But I did it.
Can I just say that the following year has been a fucking nightmare?
I did that whole "try to reconcile with your ex" thing and then realized why people say that taking an ex back is like taking a shower and then putting your dirty underwear back on. It never feels good the second time and I the trust never returned. All of the ways I worried she would hurt me or fuck my life up again were exactly the ways that she hurt me and fucked my life up again.
Take away: Your instincts are good. Listen to them.
By far, the absolute worst thing that could happen to me besides something to do with my children actually did happen a little over a week ago on Sept. 3. I was working in the lab at school and my dad's wife (who happens to be one of my best friends) called me to tell me that she was in the hospital with my dad, that they had been there all day because he had a seizure that morning. An MRI revealed that he had a tumor in his brain. It didn't look good. They were going to operate in the morning and get what they could out.
I was reeling.
My dad is my hero. My earliest memories were all of my dad loving and caring for me. And I am going to do another post about what an incredible man he is. But for the purposes of this post, I am just going to say that my dad hung the fucking moon. He is as close to perfect as Jesus and I could not have asked for a better father. He has been my best friend since childhood, always had my back and was the first person I came out of the closet to. He said it was the happiest day of his life because he knew I was finally going to be happy.
That was 5 years ago. And he's watching me struggle the same today as I was back then. Waiting for me to be happy. He gets moments, but he wants sustained happiness. And I wonder if I am capable of it myself?
Back then, I was going through a nasty divorce that wasn't a tenth as bad as my recent break-up. My beloved Grandma found out she had Leukemia and had maybe 6 weeks to live. (She was blessed with 3 months). Now, it is my Dad who has the death sentence.
In some ways, I feel like I am losing ground. I feel like I am a hamster running on a treadmill and see no destination in sight. I'm getting tired. The more I run, the more discouraged I feel. I feel like just quitting, sometimes.
I feel like for all of my efforts to do the right thing and follow my moral code - it hasn't really served me as well as I had hoped. I've been taken advantage of, lied about, walked away from things and a relationship that I really wanted, given time and resources to people that were not worthy and put my own happiness to the side to be sure that someone else had theirs. I accept responsibility for it and I am going to change it.
That being said...
I am coming to realize that the love my parents have for each other (they've been married for 36 years) is going to be something that I will always want and likely never taste. The lesbian community is so fucked up. Women hurt each other in the most damaging ways and it seems to me that by the time they get into their 40's, they are either FUBAR or they got in with someone great in their 20's and are still going strong as a couple.
Here is what I face:
- Gays are 10% of the population.
- Of that 10%, 4% are lesbians.
- Of that 4%, only about 30% of those are femmes.
- Of the femmes, like 10 people are non-smoking, non-drug using, age-appropriate and live anywhere near me.
- Of those 10 people, only 1 might take care of herself, be sane, be single, be childless or have grown children, own 2 pets or less, and enjoy cooking for me in sexy lingerie.
And that one lady probably has commitment issues; hasn't ever really been able to commit herself to anyone or doesn't know what it means to be committed. Or she knows and has committed herself to some undeserving asshole who hurt her and now, she will never be able to bring herself to trust me.
And now who am I to talk? Because I am camped out there myself. I never understood why people can't give new people they meet the benefit of the doubt. Why must new people pay for the sins of the old? Now I know for the first time in my life how it feels to be vulnerable and open and honest with someone and trust them implicitly only to have it all thrown back in your face. Can I trust someone again?
Is it now my turn to make the next girl jump through hoops to prove to me that she isn't going to break my heart one day? And even if I let myself be convinced because I find her incredible, I know that there is NO WAY to keep someone from doing that. You cannot protect yourself from the possibility of having your heart broken.
Case in point: my daddy. No two people every loved each other so much. And we are breaking each others hearts. I'm breaking his by not being in a great place when he has to go and he is breaking mine by leaving. And neither of us want this. We can't protect the other from the pain that is coming because we love each other like nobody can ever understand.
I feel sick to not be in a happier place for my dad to feel like he can leave this world in peace if the cancer wins. I hate to be 2 semesters from graduating and my dad may not be there are my finish line to see the end of this very long and exhausting race that we have walked together.
He is the one who gave me the strength to believe that I could do it and he has watched me claw my way through it.
- He once trained for a marathon while I was pregnant with my son so his body would suffer like mine. When my child was born, Dad ran his first marathon and gave the medal to my new son.
- He stood in court with me while a judge made me leave my house and my children during my divorce.
- He has stood in the gap between me and my ex husband when my ex was chasing me down to fight me for an iron that my kids gave me for Mother's Day. (as if he would ever iron anything himself, anyway!) I got that fucking iron, Dad made sure of it. That's about all I got. But the iron went home with me.
- He stood with me when the elders at my church interrogated me about my sexuality and listened to them call me an apostate who was going to hell. And when they got up to leave, he asked them if they were finished and said, "Now I have something to say to you. My daughter is the Godliest woman I know. She is the best wife and mother than has ever been. She has taken care of orphans in Russia, built housing for the elderly in Austria, helped create housing for unwed moms in Italy, been a foster mother to 19 babies and toddlers, worked as a hospice volunteer and sat with people while they died so they wouldn't die alone. I have NO doubts about where she is going when she dies. But I have very serious doubts about the two of you. Now GET OUT of my house." A few days later, they announced my "sin" to the congregation and a few months after that, my church prayed for my death. And Dad shook his head.
- He sat next to me while his mom and my Grandma, the great love of our lives, took her last breath and prompted me to pray for her. I prayed her into Heaven. When I asked God to take her that moment, she breathed her last breath and left us. We sat there crying over her lifeless body and then, my dad took me and stared into my face and said, "Don't you EVER let anyone tell you that God doesn't love you! You just asked him to take her peacefully and he listened to YOU. He loves YOU."
I'm not kidding.
I have said this to him since I was 4. Consistently. And now, against his will, he feels like he is abandoning me when I still need him so badly. He can't control it. And I can't control my needing him. We are a sad lot.
When I walked into his room that night he was diagnosed and was facing surgery the next morning and everyone started coming in, I stood behind a tall chair and folded my arms on the top of it and rested my chin on it. I looked around at everyone saying positive things to him and I felt like I was going to die. He looked at me and I looked at him with tears just flowing... I had no ability to slap a fake smile on and pretend that I was okay. Because he knows his little girl. He knows that we are both dying. And we were the only 2 in that room, looking at each other and dreading the idea that we might be parted by a cluster of fucked up cells in his brain.
We are both dying.