Friday, November 5, 2010


I? Am struggling.

It makes sense, I suppose. As my friend Katherine reminded me, just yesterday, I'm not SuperWoman. I'm just normal. I truly believe it is normal to have some kind of sadness when someone you used to love, someone who you used to be married to and had children with, dies.

What I didn't expect, though, was the anger.

The blinding, horrifying rage.

The rage that doesn't make sense. I hadn't seen nor heard from this man in more than ten years. Every interaction we had between 1997-2000 was extremely unpleasant. I was, dare I admit this? Happy when he stopped calling. Happy when he just went away and didn't bother anymore. Happy that I didn't have to bother anymore. Happy that I didn't have to share my kids with someone whose feelings about them were pretty questionable.

His death was a shock to me. I knew he had been ill for many years. I did not know the extent of his illness. I still do not know exactly what it was that he died of. My efforts at correspondence with his family have, thus far, been ignored. I expected that. They have always ignored my efforts to keep in touch. Never responded to the cards and letters and pictures I used to send. They blame me. I know that. I even understand that...understand that the way they coped with the horrible things he did was by making it about me and my failings. I understand it. But understanding does not help me.

I had a massive, sobby, painful breakdown because of this. It's all because of fear. Fear that this is heritable. Fear that one of my little children will get sick. Break down. Fall apart.

So I did what I always do. I made the phone calls I needed to make. I got the appointments I needed. I walked into the specialists office and asked her, point blank, what I needed to do to make sure that my children never got this horrible disease.

And she said, "There's nothing you can do."

It was like she was speaking Japanese or some other language I don't understand. Nothing I can do? Has she met me? That didn't even make sense.

So I said again because, clearly, she didn't understand what I was asking, "No, I mean, what do I do? What steps can I take to make sure they don't get sick?"

She looked at me so oddly.

"Stephanie, there's nothing you can do. There is no prevention. There are treatments...but there is no prevention."

There's nothing I can do.

If it's going to happen, it's just going to happen.

I'm not used to there being nothing I can do. I've been in bad situations before. I've been in really, really, really bad places. Just in the past few years I've been on my face before God, crying out in anguish at what things had become. There have been moments when I've looked objectively at what's been going on and thought, "There is absolutely no way through this. This is going to suck forever."

But I always work through it. Not always without help and/or divine intervention. But still. I work through it. I make a list, I get a plan in place, and I get through it. I'm a doer and a planner and a worker and I get through it.

I can't plan this. Can't work through it. Can't prevent this.

I am angry.

I am angry for a million reasons. I am angry because I married him. I am angry because I had children with him (and yes, I know that doesn't make sense because I would never, ever, EVER not want to have them in my life. No matter what). I am angry he didn't take care of himself. I am angry that he didn't even try, not even once, to try to make amends with them. His hatred of me (for what? I don't know) was so great that it overpowered his desire to have any kind of relationship with them. I am not worth that kind of anger. They ARE worth having a relationship with, though, and I'm furious that he didn't bother. Didn't care. That my children WHO MATTER SO MUCH, didn't even matter to him. Not even a little bit.

He was not a nice person. Dying did not make him a nice person. But I am grieving the person he could have been. The father he could have been. The man he could have been.

He didn't love me. The marriage we had wasn't real. It was nothing like what I have with Jason. Nothing even close to the family we have, the love we have, the home we have. I don't remember loving anyone before I loved Jason, because loving Jason is real. I've often referred to Jason as my real husband. My real love. For all his flaws, I know his love is real. I know he adores me...even with all my flaws.

The grief is not about love. I don't know if it's about anger. I don't understand it.

But I am angry. That won't go away. Years ago I wanted better for myself. Then I wanted better for my kids.

What we've been left with is a lot of unanswered questions.

I'll never know the answers.

And I am grieving.


Jill said...

perhaps its' something you can therepeutically write about and I dont mean on your blog.

Sheila Deeth said...

Grief is not about love... not about anger... Very wise. Maybe grief is big enough to merit a category all its own, and it's something that can't be avoided... like love and anger...

Paige said...

I kind of get this, because my relationship with my dad is similarly weird.

Dawn said...

Love you - ((HUGS))

Mrs Catch said...

What a shame for your kids. The unanswered questions that will never be resolved. That would tear at me too. But I'm also thinking thank god you had the strength and good sense to move ahead. And I'm extra glad for your kids. They sound amazing.

jo gragg said...

stephanie, there is a whole process to grieving and anger is one of them, although you have more reason than most to be angry, But, you take one day at a time, know that you have loved and cared for your children, and his hatred, and not caring for his children is HIS loss, and he will surly answer for it. so be angry and grieve and pray for him, because YOU are what you were supposed to be, A Great MOM! love you lady! jo

C. Todd Dolen, DVM said...

Believe it or not, this is a hard point for doctors to convey as well. "There is nothing I can do to prevent this" evokes negative emotions from our clients. They come to us for help...and we are not able to give it to them in the way they most want it. It's OK to grieve for this inability to act now. Know that you will be able to act IF this disease presents itself by doing all you can to combat it at that time. Know that you're a good mother...and believe it or not, a very good ex-wife.
I enjoy reading your struggles (though I don't like that you must struggle) and I know you will overcome them. You have the proper outlook.

val said...

You're grieving, and you have the right to. A lot has been lost over a long time.

Good things have come your way, for which you are grateful. But that doesn't change bullshit that gets dragged up from the past.

The stupidest thing you could do would be to stuff all this and NOT feel your feelings.

None of us knows the future. Even without genetic questions, things like accidents happen, illnesses...

One kid of mine was in a very beautiful toyota with a stuck accelerator with her nephew--my grandson in the back.

They were okay, but how do you plan for shit like this?

My oldest had a guy cross the median on a slippery day and he survived that head-on collision with just a stiff neck.

One of my uncles ran over his own four year old on their own property. The child lived in a coma for another 12 years, until he died of pneumonia at 16, having never woken up.

I backed into my daughter's car in my own driveway. I was upset about that for about ten minutes. Then I thought about my uncle and knew--a bumper and a hood? Do not matter a nit. Nada. I could have just as easily run over a child.

Feel you feelings and live your life, and know that kindness matters more than we ever imagine.

Life is scary, Steph. You just are more aware than most of us at the moment. love, Val

Bethany said...

I've had this post saved unread in my reader since you posted it. I want to say something to you but can't figure out what.

I'll just say...
You will be able to work through all of this. You are an amazing woman; the last few years have shown me that. Your pal, Jesus, will take care of the kids and their kidneys. I'm sorry you are going through this. Hope I don't sound assholio.

insomniac ellen said...

Steph-- I have SO been where you are right now. It will be 5 years in March since my ex climbed into the bathtub of his home and put a gun to his head.

And, yes, the anger still crops up on occasion--how could he put his family threw the hell of coping with a suicide.

You don't say that's how your ex died, but the signs are there in what you did write. He was battling depression right? And now you're scared to death your kids will have demons they can't cope with.

Like I said, I know exactly how you fell. And my daughter does too--she worries about her son inheriting his grandfather's issues. It's what us mother's do.

All I can say is be there for your kids--any questions they ask, answer them as honestly as you can. and go to a therapist yourself if you feel the need--it will show them that there is no shame in getting help.

Many hugs to you and your family.
Ellen D.

insomniac ellen said...

you are feeling guilt too, I'm sure. I did. "If I had stuck it out with him, maybe...."

DON'T. You did what was best for your kids and you. Be proud you had the strength and courage.

Mine were in there 20s by the time I left--after 6 years of dealing with his increasing substance abuse. Their dad's slow slide into severe total depression and drinking took another 6 years after I left. They finally saw why I had to get out--for my own well being. I couldn't help him and he wouldn't help himself.

Twisted Cinderella said...

I am so sorry.