I’ve learned that grief has a funny way about it. Just when you think you’re over the hump, it returns, stronger and fiercer than before. It ebbs and flows. Waxes and wanes. It is peaks and valleys. My life is split into two halves: before my divorce, and after it. Before my divorce, I was empty. And after my divorce, I am so much more than that. I am happy and sad. I am angry and content. I am nostalgic and I yearn for my life of “before.” I am excited for my life in this “after.” I am confused and I am certain. My life is a jumble of emotions. Just when I think I’ve got it figured out, it changes again.
Strange things make me remember Joe and then the sadness comes. Every time Bella curls up in bed next to me, I am reminded of how she burrowed her way in between Joe and I each night at bed time. I ate a brownie on Sunday and thought of how Joe loved them, but they had to be the “fudgy” kind and not the “cakey” kind. I pulled an expired yogurt out of the fridge yesterday and ate it, thinking to myself that Joe most certainly would have given me grief over it and urged me to throw it away. He is wrapped up in so much of my life, so much of my history. He is everywhere, even now, even here, and I don’t know how to disentangle him from the fibers of who I am. I love him still. I think I will love him always. And I’m learning to accept that that’s just the way life is.
I love Dean too. That’s the hard part in all this. I don’t question my inexplicable love for Dean, this man who is so different from me in so many ways. I love Dean while missing Joe. I miss Joe while loving Dean. I sometimes wish I could combine the two men – the parts I love about each one of them – into one perfect person. There are nights when I lie in bed and just wish that I could have them both, because they each fulfill different parts of me. And then there are nights when I just want my old life back. The comfort and security and familiarity and easiness of my old life.
If I’m being honest, I know that had Dean and I met under different circumstances, we would not be together. We are not a couple that “makes sense.” We have different values and different goals in life and I do worry that this will ultimately be our undoing in the future. But our love is real and it is strong and it binds us together despite our multitude of differences. I am doing my best to take each day as it comes and not fret about what the future may hold.
So tonight I will have dinner with one man that I love, while pausing to remember the other. I am grateful that this heart of mine is big enough to hold them both.