Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Ramblings on a meeting of importance

So in September or October of 2016, in my forest of loss and grief, I found a Facebook group, that little did I know was the start of an amazing journey and a big step in my healing and finding my way out of that dark place. It was a support group for divorced people, as I introduced myself to the group, and asked if anyone was from Minnesota I got a few replies, one particular person caught my eye, but she didn't seem interested in doing more than saying hello and welcome to the group.

The next month or two were filled with the last crucial part of my journey, it was painful, it was fun, it hurt like Hell and it showed me, my heart was still capable of love and being open.

One young lady did converse with me more than just to say hello. We quickly grew quite close, she lived up north, which is Minnesota speak for St. Cloud, well lots of places but in my case, St. Cloud.

Our whirlwind romance, such as it was, lasted about 2 months. I began to feel unsure about the situation, so I suggested we slow down a little, and then she started messing around with someone else, and even went so far as to call me one night as she was heading to see this person, basically asking me to make her feel ok about her decision to go see him. How 'bout no.

So, needless to say I was heartbroken and truly hurt for the second time in six months (since my divorce finalized in July).

But, and this was another important, yet painful portion of the journey, I was able to talk to my ex wife about the situation. We had an honest, painful, frank discussion. That was about what the new girl was putting me through (emotional abuse), while also somewhat touching on what happened with us.

So I learned, that in essence my ex wife loved me because I loved her, loved me because I didn't make her feel less than, like so many in her life had, but she didn't love me for me. That hurt, a lot. But it was so helpful to hear, and I have been able to unpack it and see how even though it was painful, it was beneficial in me beginning to understand I was lovable and deserved love, and that these rejections had less to do with who I was than situations beyond myself.

Meanwhile, remember the other woman I mentioned who said hello, but not much else. We had shared a journey through a couple different groups, occasionally commenting on each other's posts or photos, but still remaining at a distance. She had some things she was learning too, so I continued to notice her, notice how close she was, and continued to wonder what it would be like to get to know her.

That group that initially drew me in, blew up in a bad way, that's a sordid tale for another time, but the Readers Digest version is that the founder/mod was a crazy, lying, sneak.

Because that group blew up, several others sprang up, similar to it, as certain former members, wanted a more stable group, that would always remain open, and drama free.

As friends and acquaintances added me in and out of these groups, I saw her again, she was added into one of the groups. We said hello, I was struck by the notion I should message her.

I shot my shot, my opening salvo, was purely to ascertain her status, I asked if she was still with the guy I last knew she was, in today's relationship parlance, talking to.

She was not...My heart soared with possibility. So we began conversing in earnest. And it was here that my life began to change. I laid myself bare, she saw all my scars, all my hurts, all the ways I'd been broken over the last couple years. We discussed meeting, in my deranged mind, since I had the time available, I said let's meet on the anniversary of The Darkest Day. She wanted to be sure I'd be ok with it. I reasoned that it gave me something to look forward to on that day, and if we went somewhere as a relationship, well it would add a happy memory, and if we failed I already hated that day anyway.

The morning of The Darkest Day last year was an interesting one, I had steeled myself to be sad and broken and hurt for the day. But when I woke up, yes I was sad, however I was also buoyed by good thoughts. Then I had an amazing moment. I could almost feel Jake telling me "Dad stop focusing so much energy on the day I died, I don't want to be remembered that way, remember all the days I lived."

So my thoughts while not exactly happy began to turn toward positive and happier themes. I had my boys that morning so we cuddled, we had fun and then I gave them back to their mom.

I hustled through cleaning up my apartment, getting ready for my date. We were keeping it simple, pizza and conversation.

When Julianne got to my apartment and texted me that she was here, I walked downstairs and stood waiting for her to get out of her car, anxious, unsure, scared of the future, but hopeful we would hit it off.

Then she said "Hi." and I was lost...Her voice was bubbly and sweet and I feel like I literally heard my soul say "That's the one." We hugged and headed inside.

She let me talk, let me ramble, let me tell her about my dead son, she asked questions, she told me about herself. I showed her my favorite videos of Jake, showed her pictures of my boys. She showed me her two wonderful kids. That night was everything I needed to believe in myself, in love, in possibility again.

I had decided even in the early weeks of us talking that I was just going to be alone, maybe a series of on again/off again romances, or short relationships.

It became clear by the end of that first night, we were sitting on something special. I was smitten, she was everything I had hoped she would be. Funny, smart, sweet, tough, but underneath that toughness was a woman that had been through her own Hell, but she still was able to be open, to be receptive to the idea of a relationship (even though on that first night all we were certain of was that we'd give it a chance).

Julianne was a voice calling out to me. I knew I was still lost in grief, and still struggling to make it through. She gave me a compass point. I blundered my way out of those woods by following her voice. I still occasionally find the trees, but I know if I wander too far, she'll be there calling me out of them.

That's important, and a wonderful thing to have in a relationship.

All of this meandering, long winded rambling to say, I am so thoroughly in love with her, so amazed by where this relationship has gone in the last year. I'm looking forward to seeing where we go next...


Smokey Joe Mayes said...

Vein open?


Nice work, Michael. Whaddya say we keep on writing?

Michael said...

I will if you will...🤣