Imagine There Had Been a Different Ending

April 2, 2010

At lunch yesterday my dear friend, Elizabeth, kicked me.

She picked up my boulders and shined light on the crawly things beneath them. She held my hand kindly, and used it to slap my face.

I treasure a good examination. I am grateful for friends who will say their piece, even if it makes me squirm or brings tears, putting a squeak in my speech.

Elizabeth chided me for watching my (ex) husband’s most recent YouTube posting. She’s right; I know better than to look (I’ve been pretty good about “forgetting” him, but sometimes I succumb to the “train wreck” phenomena and I find myself looking to see what he has been up to).

And she shook laughter loose from inside me, as we imagined evil and silly retaliation techniques.

Then she asked me: what if I imagined my husband had died. Dead. What if he were dead?

Case 6917235

Well that made me think. I mean, I hadn’t thought of things that way, really. Of course I have contemplated his untimely and painful demise, but that’s been from a bitter, spiteful, angry, hurt place. Here she was suggesting his death be imagined with something more of a healing function.

What if he had died?

What if my marriage was over because he was no longer living. What if my life with him were over because he was dead?

Her question launched a wave of sadness.

But I thought about it. And told her that the only difference really would be that I would be less hurt by “rejection”. I mean, I would still be suffering the loss of my husband, the loss of my marriage, the loss of my life as I’d known it. But not so much about rejection.

Today, I realize a more important difference.

You know that I have been fraught with anger and hate towards him, and I have been sad about that. And recently I have realized that in my self-protective mode I have been building walls between my life today, and all things about him and my life with him–the good things–and I am sad about that.

So today I realized that if things were different, if there was no divorce and instead my husband had died, I would still be able to love him. The memory of him, the memory of us.

Perhaps someday I will be so whole again, so healed, so spiritually evolved that I will love him. But right now the pain precludes such pretty emotions.

But I think I might take up my friend’s suggestion, and begin thinking of my ex as a dead person. It will be difficult to hate a dead person. And maybe easier to hold onto all the things that I loved about him and our life.

Photo: Case 6917235 by Leah Thibodeau and used with Creative Commons license

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

elizabeth April 2, 2010 at 3:30 pm

You inspire me to be a better person every day with your unbearably huge heart. Sometimes that is what gets you twisted up in yourself.

I am here for you when you are ready to “p”

Leah Thibodeau April 19, 2010 at 7:47 pm

Thanks for using my photo! You have such interesting thoughts here on your blog. You have a new reader!

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