“You stopped blogging?!”
I know. I know. Sorry. My brain went on retreat. I had some personal work to do, some freedom to feel, and some focus to refocus. I’m not sure if I’m finished, but I’m a whole lot closer than I was three months ago.
I realized that I was living and re-living the parts of my life I don’t like over and over again. I was giving waaaaay too much attention to the things I didn’t like. I had to let go of “reality” because my claws were in it way too deep. I’ll share more on that whole experience when I’m further away from it, but for now, we’re moving on.
And we’re moving on to fall television.
Last week, I was on my period. (Sorry, gentlemen.) I was crying over EVERYTHING. Abe’s balloon popped. I cried. Bear had a miscommunication with a contractor. I cried. I decided I wanted ice cream for dinner.
But let me tell you the very lowest point I’ve hit in a long time…
It’s a little show called, This is Us.
I saw Mandy Moore in the previews and I just adore her, so I recorded it with the expectation that we would have a new grown up show/movie to watch that doesn’t include people being blown up or Kevin Hart. (Those are pretty much Bear’s choices when it comes to entertainment. Did you know that you can make the exact same movie 700 times? Kevin Hart knows…) And so Friday night when the kids were fed and settled in, I hit play.
I was physically weeping from my entire body within 5 minutes.
WHOLE. BODY. CRYING.
Bear smiled and held my hand for a few minutes until he realized that with every new scene, I began a whole new series of hiccups and shaking. So, he did what any man would do.
He opened a bottle of wine.
“Here, baby. I got you a wine prize.” (That’s what we call it.)
Then…I’m not kidding…he got out a bar of chocolate.
“Look, sweetie! Yum!”
Finally, he asked, “Do you want me to…hold you?”
But it didn’t matter what he did. I drank the wine. (Sorry, BillieFBB.) I ate the chocolate. (Again. Sorry.) I curled up in his arms. There was no stopping me. This stupid show apparently required me to be 100% dehydrated by the end.
I am going to talk about the final scene of the pilot episode of This is Us. Don’t continue reading if you don’t want to know a huge reveal.
The final scene of the show pulled together a number of lives into a single hospital nursery in the 70s. A father who’d just lost his child during childbirth was seemingly gifted another one who’d been given up by drug-addicted parents. It took me up until that moment to move on to a new phase of my own personal grief. It was all coming out at once. This. is. it: I’m past the anger phase.
I’ve moved on to sadness.
I didn’t get angry over my divorce until about a year and a half after it was finalized. Then I got REAL mad. Luckily I’m surrounded by a GENEROUS group of women who encouraged that anger and listened intently every time I lifted my pointer finger and began, “And ANOTHER thing…”
There was never any indication that there would be more grief when I finally woke up one morning no longer feeling angry. I thought I’d finished that chapter. Especially when I got married again!
But as it turns out, a new husband does not eliminate the pain of having an ex-one of those. They aren’t even related topics in life (although many women do tend to see them as being intertwined and I’d like to beg them to stop doing that). Bear proves that to me everyday in the way that he allows me to continue to grieve my last marriage. He really does.
Side note: I don’t even want to call him my ex-husband anymore. He is not an “ex” that left my life. I talk to him all the time. I raise a child with him and his wife. He is my prior husband. The one from before. My before-husband. Let’s try that.
In the last scene of This is Us, we watch a young couple bringing home a baby that quite obviously does not belong to them. And that unlocked the sadness level of our grieving game.
Several weeks after I moved out for good and my before-husband filed for divorce, we got an email.
It was an email from the adoption agency.
I don’t remember his name. They may have mentioned it, and I may have blocked it out. I still have the email and it’s not something I’m willing to go back and open.
We’d already written to them months before explaining that we were separated and no longer candidates to adopt a new baby. They were shocked, very sad, but completely understanding. After months of adoption classes (that I blogged about) and paperwork and home visits trying to get ourselves on that coveted list, we were off the list. Just like that.
I guess one person didn’t get that memo, though, because we received an email with a picture. He was a little boy, blonde with blue eyes. Born addicted (I’m not sure to what), he was only 16 months old and he needed a forever family that could give him an opportunity at a life he wasn’t currently living. And we were the people chosen to give him that.
I know deep in my heart that he has amazing parents now. I saw the other families in those adoptions classes, all salivating over pictures on the foster websites and rushing through to finish certification in an attempt to qualify for “this set of siblings” or “that baby girl who needs the feeding tube.” They were glorious folks vying for the babies other people gave up on. Not good people or better-than-you people, but the right people.
I desperately thought we were the right people, and as I look back and see how things fell apart, I can’t believe the people we turned out to be. To be clear, I regret nothing and neither does my before-husband. He is incredibly happily married and finding his own way with grace and dignity. But we aren’t who I thought we were. And that makes me sad.
He would be 5. That little boy that was chosen for us would be 5 and I am so sorry and so sad I never met him. I am, on the other hand, so grateful I somehow ended up with two sons anyway. Cub is my little gentle soul, making his way through life with so many random, thoughtful comments and interesting perspectives (and a VERY secret new chicken recipe he shared with his Dad and I that I can’t tell you but it’s going to be REALLY good and he’s going to dye the sauce green so you can’t guess what’s in it based on what color it is). Abe is my ham and my BS detector, constantly calling us all on our misalignment in ways we can’t possibly ignore.
I will never know what role 5 would have played in our family. But I’m thinking about him, and praying that he never feels a sense of rejection by the parents who didn’t have their shit well enough together to accept him as a gift at the time he was offered.
Grief can happen overnight, from beginning to end. It can also take as long as the experience itself took. (I’m hoping my process is somewhere in between.) For now, I’m crying at commercials and rainbows and flourishing flowers and dying flowers alike, because for me it’s all representing the next layer I’ve got to shed. Though I might throw a Kevin Hart movie in there sometimes just to lighten shit up…