Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Sequel

In the movie The Shawshank Redemption, the character Andy Dufresne makes the observation that one must "get busy living, or get busy dying". In so many ways that simple statement is profound.

I apologize to everyone I made worry about me with my last post. Indeed, the outpouring of concern was astonishing. It seems like people did everything short of calling out the National Guard to go door to door. Here's something to keep in mind, though: in the battle between me and the world, bet on me.

Sometimes, you have to hit the absolute bottom before you can begin your ascent. For me, Friday was the bottom, and admittedly, from my mental position, any effort to go forward seemed futile. I did a lot of painful soul searching, and finally remembered what George Patton once said: "The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his."

With that in mind, I endeavored to reinvent myself, and begin what I have affectionately started referring to as "Life 2.0". For me, this means many things, and consequently, it made Saturday was a very busy day.

When I talked to the kids' therapist (who, by the way, was amazed that I was able to keep my cool when my son had his meltdown), I got a referral from him for someone good for me to talk to. (I've frequently commented that I think mental hygiene is like dental hygiene -- about every six months or so, you need a good cleaning.)

I also made an appointment with the optometrist, and updated the prescription for my glasses. As long as I was updating, I decided to also update the style. Then, using my daughter as fashion consultant, I ventured to give myself a new casual look.

With my newly minted physical shape (having lost almost 30 pounds, etc.) I discovered that a lot of doors have opened for me in creating a trendy casual look. Frankly, I think I look pretty good in jeans. I even bought a new wallet and cleaned out all the crap so it would be nice and thin (I know where the ladies are looking).

After seeing me, a female friend gave me a very nice compliment on my new look. She said, "You were cute before, but now you're hot." It was music to my ears. Even my daughter who doesn't want to think of her daddy as the object of female affection was forced to agree that it works well for me.

I have some other very exciting changes planned for this week. I won't go into too many details here, because I don't have to - I've decided to start a new a new blog. This is partly to quell the uprising that I stirred up by suggesting I wouldn't write anymore, partly to give me a little more control over who reads it (I started to get the impression that a certain individual was using the insider information obtained from this blog to play a game of cat and mouse with me), and it is also somewhat symbolic. As I begin this new journey forward, it only seems fitting to document it in a new place, with a new perspective.

If you want to read the new blog, you can get a link to it the same way you found this one. If I gave it to you, ask me for the new link. If a friend gave it to you, ask that friend. If you saw it posted somewhere, check the place you found it.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The End

It was another bad night. I don't want to go into all the details, but I think it's enough to say that my son had a complete meltdown that culminated with him spitting in my face. I don't mean metaphorically. I'm talking about warm frothy rheum rolling down my cheek like a snail on the wall of an aquarium. I think it was a new low in my life.

I've decided to stop writing about it. I've realized that sharing my suffering is just that -- it's letting other people go through it too. In my constant ups and downs, backs and forths, happiness and misery, I'm dragging other people with me. Particularly, I'm dragging along those who care about me the most, and that is simply not fair.

This is a burden I will have to bear alone, by myself, and privately. I'll put on my happy face and slog forward as best I can. I want the few special people (who should know who they are) to know that I love them, and I'm glad they've been a part of my life. And to my wife: I'll never stop loving you.

Thank you for watching me heal. I'm sorry we couldn't finish the journey.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Song Snippet

While I have to admit that including song lyrics is somewhat of a page from the annuals of a soccer mom in terms of blogging style, I think sometimes posting a bit of a song is a great way to express my current mood. That being the case, here's an excerpt from one that's on my mind today:

Have you ever needed someone so bad?
Have you ever wanted someone you just couldn't have?
Did you ever try so hard that your world just fell apart?
Have you ever needed someone so bad?
And you're the girl I gotta have.
I gotta have you baby, yeah...

Pleasure and Pain

It was October, 1990. I was 17, and stationed in the Army at Fort Gordon, Georgia attending communications training. I had volunteered for my unit's 10K team (for those who don't know, 10 kilometers is about 6.28 miles), and this afternoon the other "volunteers" and I would get to enjoy a little extra training for the big race.

We formed a loose formation, and our Drill Sergeant, a tall, lanky black man with bulging biceps, stood out in front to address us.

"Privates, " he said, cocking his head to the side and rubbing his hands together in a display that was part condescension, part camaraderie, "last night I tried to map our run route for today, and my car ran out of gas."

A couple of hours later, having run more than 10 miles for the first time in my life, I made an astute observation that has held true even to this day: sometimes pleasure is merely the absence of pain.

Applied to my present circumstances, I think sometimes a "good day" is defined as merely not being a bad day - at least for the time being. In the times I do feel a bit more normal, I'm just happy for a respite from the suffering.

I wish I could write that I got up this morning and everything was sunshine and lollipops again. Unfortunately, things are never that simple. Still, dark grey is an improvement over black.

Oh, and in case you're wondering - my team took 2nd place on race day, and we all got letters of commendation from the Battalion Commander.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


An observer would note that the pendulum has now swung back the other way. I expect some who read this might find all of the back and forth maddening, but the point is to document my journey, so I have to write about where it takes me.

I'm struggling with depression, and I can't decide which is worse: the feeling that things will never get better, or the sense of apathy that seems to be taking hold. I've started having thoughts and feelings that are too deeply frightening and personal for even me to write about, but it seems to boil down to this: I'm tired, and I'm losing my will to fight. I feel like I'm flirting with insanity... or worse.

Some people don't understand why I would write about my most deeply personal feelings and experience. Some would even think I'm weak for showing such emotion, but that's fine. At the end of the day, we each have to cope with situations in a manner most effective for us.

I have a 9-day cruise booked for March. It's already paid for. My parents are going, and my wife and I had an adjoining room. While I enjoy spending time with my parents, I really don't want to cruise alone. Furthermore, since I've only cruised with my wife, I fear that being by myself would only serve as a reminder of what is gone.

To that end, I've made it no secret that I still want her to go -- even if only as friends. She has been "thinking about it". Last night, when I spoke with her very briefly, she said she didn't think she wanted to go. My heart sank. I wish there were some way I could change her mind.

She seems to be doing quite well. She shared some pictures with me of things she's been doing to her apartment, and I was floored. She's exercising a level of creativity that amazes me. (I asked her if I could post a link, and she said she would prefer that I didn't, so you'll just have to trust my description.) I was also torn about how I feel.

On one hand, here is this amazing woman who is creative, smart, and talented. Boy do I want to know her better! On the other hand, I feel a bit cheated. Why didn't she show me that side of her when we were together? Did she think I would shun her work?

I also feel a little sad about it. She is clearly having an easier time with this than I am. It reminds me of the chorus to She's Gonna Make It:

She's gonna make it
And he never will
He's at the foot of that mountain
She's over that hill
He's sinkin' at sea
And her sails are filled
She's gonna make it
And he never will
Last night my son had a meltdown. This happens from time to time, but this episode was especially venomous. Generally, I just try to give him space until he calms down, but at one point, he said "I know I'm part of the reason [my wife] left." I stopped what I was doing and said, "That's not true. Come here and let's talk about it, son."

He fired back, "Oh, so you'll talk about that but not other stuff?" I told him that was low, and I didn't want to be manipulated. Then he said, "You wanna know why [my wife's name] left? Because you're a lazy bum!"

Although I know they were merely the words of a child said in a moment of anger, I could not prevent being wounded by them. That nagging doubt in the back of my mind began asking whether or not maybe he observed something I had missed.

When I crawled into bed (which, this week happens to be the couch downstairs because I have company), I was really looking forward to sleep. Yes, I was tired - not just physically, but mentally, and emotionally - more than that, though, I wanted the escape offered by a deep slumber.

My wife has maintained that anytime I need to talk, if I'm having a rough night, I can call her. I decided to cash in that blue chip, and I called. We chatted very briefly, but then she complained of a sore throat and said she didn't want to talk anymore. I burrowed into my pile of blankets, and began my search for sleep. When it finally came, it was deep and restful, punctuated with dreams about the upcoming cruise.

When I got up this morning, I had another nasty surprise. As I have mentioned, I'm embroiled in custody litigation with my first wife. I could write page after page of the details, but the crux of it comes down to this: I already have primary physical custody of my son, my daughter has lived with me for two years, I want to memorialize the current situation with the court to make the legal documentation more accurately reflective of the current situation.

After some wrangling between attorneys (and her attorney telling her that her case was unwinnable), I ultimately extended a settlement offer to her that involved each of us paying our own legal fees, her not having to pay child support, and her getting extremely liberal visitation with the kids. She agreed that it was "fair" (a very subjective term), and I had my attorney draft the paperwork.

Although she's had the settlement paperwork for a month, and she's even signed and notarized it, she has yet to deliver it to my attorney to be filed. Recently, she's started dodging my phone calls, so when I finally was able to speak to her Saturday, I explained that this had gone on long enough, and that if she didn't have the papers to my attorney by 5PM Monday, I would be forced to rescind the settlement offer and simply allow the judge to decide what is and is not fair.

Sunday night around midnight, she called my daughter and told her to tell me to speak with her before I talked to my attorney. I've spent the last 2 days trying to call her, but she's still dodging.

What greeted me this morning was a note my daughter left for me when she went to school. It read:


Can you please stop the legal fighting with my mom? Yesterday, she called me to say that she was going to turn in the papers today, but she never wants to talk to me ever again because I'm not her daughter anymore. I don't know what to do. I know you've spent a lot of money on this, but everything is completely out of my control. Help Me.

- [her name]

In a word: despicable. I'd love to call her mother and explain how inappropriate and damaging that was, but she still won't take my calls. Instead, I'll make a note to talk to my daughter's therapist about it, and try to be as understanding and supportive as I can.

And so my life goes on, one day at a time, one challenge after another. I keep hoping things will get better, but I'm terrified that I may have reached my breaking point. I'm standing on the precipice, and the ground is crumbling beneath my feet.


I've lived a rich and full life. Indeed, I think I've lived more at 34 than most people do in their entire life.
  • I've been to 47 of the 50 states
  • I've been to more than 20 countries outside the US
  • I've taken 9 cruises
  • I served my country honorably a faithfully as a Paratrooper for almost 7 years, including a combat tour in Iraq
  • I successfully made it through both Airborne, and Air Assault school
  • I made Sergeant in the Army, and got to experience leading soldiers
  • I've lost everything and started over -- numerous times
  • I overcame bankruptcy
  • I completed both a Bachelors and a Masters Degree
  • I made it to the top of my profession
  • I've worked in New York City, or more specifically Manhattan
  • I've owned (and still own) my dream car (A BMW 325i)
  • I've known friendship that transcends time and distance
  • I've experienced the love and adoration from a child that only a parent can know
  • I know what it's like to fall from the sky, and dive to the depths of the ocean
  • I've rapelled from buildings, walls, towers, and hovering helicopters
  • I've piloted an airplane
  • I've been the Jumpmaster and had people entrust me with their life on an actually military jump
  • I accidentally walked through a minefield, and lived to tell about it
  • I've witnessed the miracle of childbirth, and experienced the anguish of death
  • I've seen the attrocities of war, and the resilience of human nature
  • I've gone swimming in a crystal clear lake deep under the ground, inside a cave
  • I've been skinny dipping at natural hotspring
  • I experienced Marti Gras before New Orleans was defined by Katrina
  • I've stared death in the face more times than I'd like to count. In a sense, we've become old friends.
  • I've been honored and reviled; loved and hated; followed and ignored.
  • I've managed to sample most of the spicy seasonings that gives life its variety

In short, I'm almost finished. There are very few things that remain on my checklist. What I have not accomplished is watching my kids to off to college, and writing that book.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Song of the Day

I almost never reproduce song lyrics in their entirety. Today, I'm going to make an exception, so grab your kleenex, read the lyrics, and think about how well this particular song fits.
When You Come Back to Me Again
by Garth Brooks

Theres a ship out, on the ocean
At the mercy of the sea
It's been tossed about, lost and broken
Wandering aimlessly
And God somehow you know that ship is me

'cause theres a lighthouse, in the harbor
Shining faithfully
Pouring its light out, across the water
For this sinking soul to see
That someone out there still believes in me

On a prayer, in a song
I hear your voice and it keeps me hanging on
Raining down, against the wind
I'm reaching out 'til we reach the circle's end
When you come back to me again

Theres a moment we all come to
In our own time and our own space
Where all that weve done, we can undo
If our heart's in the right place

On a prayer, in a song
I hear your voice and it keeps me hanging on
Raining down, against the wind
I'm reaching out 'til we reach the circles end
When you come back to me again
And again I see my yesterdays in front of me
Unfolding like a mystery
Youre changing all that is and used to be

On a prayer, in a song
I hear your voice and it keeps me hanging on
Raining down, against the wind
I'm reaching out til we reach the circles end
When you come back to me again
When you come back to me again


I may have to add this post to my list of regrets later, especially if it solicits an unfavorable reaction from my wife, but it is helpful for me to write.

I've come to the conclusion that I love her, and I am not giving up. I don't care if it's not healthy. I don't care what people think. I will win her back, or more accurately, the new person that I am will win over the new person that she is. I don't care if I spend the rest of my life alone while I do it. I know what I want, and I know what it is worth to me. The sacrifice is insignificant and ultimately unimportant.

I told a friend not long ago that I would happily trade the final 20 years of my life in exchange for spending the time between now and then with her. I said it, and I mean it, for what use is 20 years of a meaningless existence?

I recently wrote of marriage vows, and especially the part about "for better, for worse". I won't be a hypocrite. I didn't get where I am today by quitting, and I'm certainly not going to start now. We may be going through the "for worse" part mentioned in my vows, but I wont' give up so long as there is breath in my lungs and fire in my heart.

Blood Pressure

While I was out on Saturday, I took my blood pressure. When this first started, I clocked out at something like 160/93 - definitely not good. I was happy to see that I'm now down to a more reasonable 123/72 with a heart rate of 64. That's not spectacular, but it's also not life threatening.

I attribute the change to diet, exercise, reduction of stress, and better sleep. With a little luck, the next time I check, the numbers will be better still. I guess that's something for which I should be grateful, if not happy.


As I mentioned, I've been doing a lot of reflection. In doing so, I discovered that I have a lot of regrets - both from my marriage, and from the way I have handled this separation.

I am really sorry I asked her if she wanted a divorce. In a sense, I backed her into a corner. I forced an issue that should have been left alone. Like teasing a dog to see if it will bite you, sometimes you're better off leaving things alone and waiting to see what happens.

I'm sorry I took off my wedding ring. Again, I forced her forward in a sense. I could still be wearing it; I am still married, after all. By taking it off, I encouraged her to do the same, and she did. Now I have a permanent groove in my finger, even after 3 weeks, to remind me of how stupid I can be sometimes.

I'm sorry I didn't insist on counseling. Initially, she agreed to schedule some counseling after things had a while to calm down. I realized that she was doing this to make things a little less painful on me, but still, I think it might have been beneficial. Now I'll never know, and I regret it.

I'm sorry I forced the "I love you" issue, because now I'm afraid to say it to her, no matter how strongly I feel it or how often I think it. In fact, I'm terrified. She told me to "cool it", but I don't know if that means to not say it so frequently, or to not say it at all. I haven't been saying it at all because I'm too afraid that she won't reciprocate. I should have been smart enough to see that it made her uncomfortable, and just toned it down without having to be told.

I'm sorry I wasn't more helpful to her during our marriage. I made her feel like second fiddle - like I was somehow more important and my needs came before her own. I made her feel like she was merely an accessory to the person I am, rather than her own person. I didn't make her feel like a partner, and I regret that very much.

I'm sorry I didn't reach out to her before it was too late. I should have realized that she wasn't happy, and I should have been willing to do whatever was necessary to get things back on track.

I tell my kids that you don't learn from the things you do right. That is true, but it's unfortunate that sometimes a "learning experience" has long-term or permanent consequences.

Family Interraction

On the heals of a wonderful visit on Friday, I spoke with my father-in-law on Saturday morning while the kids were in counseling. As I mentioned, it's become a weekly routine.

As always, it was a pleasant conversation. I told him that I had seen his daughter the night before, that things had gone well, and that she looked really good.

He suggested I take her to dinner or something with just the two of us. I told him I would like that when she was ready, and then at one point, he told me that he was confident we were going to get back together. I was really torn between trying to jump on the optimism bandwagon, and feeling bad that perhaps he doesn't know the situation that well. I simply said that I hoped so, and left it at that.

I also spoke to her grandmother. She still hasn't told her what's going on, and it was a bit awkward. I had to do some creative explaining to avoid getting myself boxed into a corner where I might have to lie.

I told her I was just taking the kids to their weekly counseling, and I wanted to see how she was doing (she broke a few ribs a short while ago).

At one point, she asked me where my wife was, and I told her that she was still at home (true) and probably still asleep (also true). This resulted in her grandmother explaining that she could understand why my wife would be tired, what with her career and taking care of kids and a husband. It's a lot of work, after all. I simply agreed, and left it at that.

Going forward, I'm going to give my wife's grandmother distance unless I know that she wants to talk to me. Apart from the awkwardness, I want to make sure not to invade my wife's space too much. I may simply encourage my wife to call when I'm curious, and then get the details from her. In any event, it is her grandmother - not mine.

Friday Visit

I mentioned in another post that I was afraid of seeing my wife on Friday. It turns out that she was very nice to me in our interactions all day Friday, and the visit went much better than I expected it would.

I didn't cry, I didn't get upset, and I was proud of myself for being so strong - so optimistic - so in control of myself. What I did do was go home from work and spend several hours boxing up stuff for her.

When she arrived, it was a bit awkward at first. Do I hug her? How do I act? What do I say?

She looked spectacular. I mean that. She literally took my breath away. We've both lost a substantial amount of weight, and this was the first time I'd seen her in about two weeks. She was also wearing some new hoop earrings that are a different style than I'd grown used to seeing her wear. My heart skipped a few beats, and I felt myself growing as nervous as a teenager asking a girl to the prom.

Finally she broke the ice by asking me how I had been and giving me a hug. We went upstairs to survey the odds and ends I had picked out for her, and to see if there was anything I might be missing.

Then something very interesting happened. I found myself genuinely enjoying the time with this person. It was someone new, yet with elements of someone familiar. We joked and we laughed together, and at one point I even found myself tickling her. I don't know how she feels, but I might even say we flirted a bit. One thing is certain, though. Seeing her beautiful smile had a profound impact on me.

At one point, we ended up kissing. I have replayed that in my mind dozens of times, and I continue to do so. For that brief time, I felt complete. I knew it had to end, but those precious few moments will live in my memory for eternity.

Then, after everything was packed up and it was time for her to leave, she got into the truck (actually, it's a Durango), and it became clear that we were going to kiss again, so I paused and asked her if it was for me, or for her. (Based on the previous visit, I was afraid it was something she was indifferent to, but was doing because she knew I wanted it.) She told me it was for both of us, and my heart melted.

She called me when she got home to let me know she made it okay. Then, I slept as sound as a hibernating bear for the first time in a while.

A Lot to Say

My wife came over Friday night, and I have a lot of things I want to write about today. Apart from details on how things went (surprisingly well), I've done a tremendous amount of soul-searching, and I think it would be helpful for me to articulate my thoughts and feelings.

Rather than publishing one enormous post, I've decided to break my thoughts into several smaller posts about specific topics. This is the first of what is bound to be a lot of activity today.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Completely Random Thought

I don't think those "door close" buttons in an elevator actually do anything. It wouldn't surprise me if you looked behind the control panel and found out that they aren't even hooked up.

Maybe the elevator people just put them there to make you feel better. Maybe it's something even more nefarious. Maybe, just maybe, some engineer had a twisted sense of humor and rigged it so that when you push the "door close" button, it actually takes longer for them to close. It certainly feels that way when I push it!

Making a feeble old lady have to take the stairs has never been more difficult. Will the aggravations never end? ;-)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Fear of Friday

I posted a while back that my wife was going to come exchange a few things with me, but ultimately that didn't happen. Since we still need to swap some stuff, we had planned on doing it Saturday evening instead.

It turns out that won't work so well, because my parents are coming to visit for a while. Their power has been out since last Saturday, and there's no telling when it will be back on.

So, with Saturday not good for me anymore, we decided to do it tomorrow night. For some strange reason, that fills me with a strong feeling of ... fear. So I'm sitting here with an upset stomach trying to figure out exactly what it is that I'm afraid of.

At this point, it may just be that I've started to associate seeing her with pain. The last time I saw her, I cried. That was almost 2 weeks ago, so I hope this time I'm stronger. Still, although I try to gird myself, I really don't know what my reaction will be. Wish me luck.

For Better for Worse?

Traditional marriage vows: we all know the words. They're so prevalent in our society that I think even children can recite them - particularly the part that goes:

" have and to hold, from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part..."
It's unfortunate that nobody seems to take them seriously anymore. It is just too socially acceptable to leave at the first sign of trouble. The sad truth is that most marriages today end in divorce. People just don't take marriage seriously anymore.

Yes, things do go wrong. Yes, people change. Yes, there are bound to be bad times. But divorce should always be the absolute last course of action after you've explored every single other option (from counseling, to just accepting things the way they are). Then, and ONLY then, when it is absolutely clear there is no hope at all, should someone even contemplate the consideration of divorce.

As I look back on my own marriage, I see many times when elements of that oath that I swore were tested. I can count a number of situations when it would have been easier for me to simply cut and run, yet I hung in there. To be honest, it makes me a little angry. Then again, nobody ever said life was fair.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


I think I'll come out of this experience being a better husband. I've come to see that no marriage is bullet proof, no matter how long you've been together, and no matter how it might feel. Every day must be a courtship, and sometimes it's the little things that count the most.

Something that came to mind during my workout this morning was that I'm a very driven person. I also tend to drive those around me, if not by actively pushing them, then passively by driving myself (who can really sit by and slack when someone else is working hard?)

This works really well when I'm in charge of a team, but perhaps not so well if you happen to be my wife. I can't help but wonder if this factored into the present situation at all? Was some small part of it that she got tired of the pace? I'll probably never know.

In any event, I've decided to strive to teach my children a strong work ethic, but also to make sure that they learn to temper their drive with reason. Being driven can achieve great results, but you have to be mindful to not let it consume you. In the end, the brightest flame burns out first, and when the fire goes out, sometimes it cannot be re-lit.

Dentist Visit

As I mentioned, I went to the dentist yesterday for a cleaning. It was a mixed experience - part painful, part encouraging.

First, I ended up having to wait for a little bit before my appointment. As I was sitting there captive, listening to the music they pipe in, I got thrown a curve ball. The song Don't Know Why by Nora Jones started playing. This song is significant because my wife sang it at Karaoke on a cruise we took, so it always makes me think of her, and it reminds me of her beautiful voice and how pretty she looked that night.

I damned near started crying right there in the waiting room. I desperately wanted to get out of there, but I couldn't. I was trapped, and it was downright miserable. I swallowed the lump in my throat, choked back the tears, and tried to think about other things until the song was over.

Finally my turn came and I was able to escape purgatory. My hygienist came out, greeted me with her usual stunning smile, and invited me back.

Now, in the spirit of disclosure, I should say that I've had a "thing" for my hygienist for about the last 2 years. That may sound juicy, but it's fairly innocuous. She's happily married, as I was I, and it's something that both my wife and daughter teased me about - an open secret, as it were. Some people are just naturally sexy (it's something about the way they carry themselves). She is one of them.

During the course of our conversation, she asked me when my wife would be in. I had to explain that I didn't know, and then a little bit about why. She was absolutely shocked. Her words were "I can't believe that! She was just in here a while ago and she was telling me how wonderful you are!" I should start a club for people who are baffled by this. The membership would be huge.

During the course of the cleaning, at one pause, I tell her to make sure to give me a pretty smile because I'm going to need it now. Much to my surprise, she responds by saying that I already have a great smile, and there's nothing she needs to do. It made my day. :-)

On Life and Being Single

It's a funny thing. The stereotypical "male response" to situations like this seems to be to go crazy with new found freedom. That may be the stereotype, but that's not how I feel at all.

Several weeks ago, I had a funny conversation with my son. It went something like this:

Him: Dad?
Me: Yes, son?
Him: Does this mean you're going to start dating again?
Me: Oh, I don't know, son - probably eventually. We'll have to see how it goes.
Him: I don't want you to.
Me: Why not?
Him: Because I don't want you bringing any skanks home.
Me: (laughing) Well, I'm not really attracted to those type of women, so I don't think you need to worry.
Him: (pausing to think) What about "money grubbers"?
Me: I'll be careful. I think I'll be okay.
Him: Okay, in that case, I want you start dating. Why don't you go on a date this weekend?
Me: (smiling) Well, son, I'm not really ready for that. How about this: when I feel ready, if I happen to meet an attractive lady and I feel like I'd like to have dinner with her or go to a movie, I'll ask her out then.
Him: Okay
(I give him a hug, and he seems more cheerful)

So here we are several weeks later. I haven't been on any dates, I'm not seeing anyone or grooming anyone to see them later, and I have no plans to do so. I did have a nice phone conversation that helped put things in perspective, but as I predicted, nothing came of it, and that's fine with me. I guess you could say I'm taking a little time to get to know myself.

I've gotten used to my new role as single parent. I don't mind running the house by myself, doing the cooking, or any of that. Mostly, my unmet needs at this point are emotional. It would be nice to share life's problems with someone, or to have that encouraging hug when I've had a rough day.

Everyone tells me how well I'm doing, how strong I am, and how fast I'm getting through this. Outwardly, that is certainly the case. From my perspective, though, it's Hobson's Choice. Of course I continue - I have children to worry about. Of course I go to work - I have bills to pay.
Of course I look on the bright side of life - the alternative is much much worse.

I actually started humming an old song yesterday (must be my subconscious at work), and when I realized it, I looked up the lyrics. They fit this situation rather well. Here's a sample from part of the song (emphasis added):
Ever since I met you
You're the only love I've known
And I can't forget you
Though I must face it all alone

All at once,
I'm drifting on a lonely sea
Wishing you'd come back to me
And that's all that matters now

All at once,
I'm drifting on a lonely sea
Holding on to memories
And it hurts me more than you know
So much more than it shows
All at once

Nobody ever said it would be easy, and it's not. But I keep going forward, one day it a time, one foot in front of the other, as the journey continues.

Another Notch

It's undeniable: I'm going to have to buy some new clothes. I had to drop another notch on my belt this morning.

I don't really do the saggy look, and I suspect my ass is starting to look like 5 pounds of crap rolling around in a 10 pound bag. I feel like I'm wearing a potato sack, and I'm not sure, but I think people feel like they should drop some money in my begging cup. ;-)

The sleeves on my shirt are also creeping up as my neck and shoulders get broader and thicker. Now I know how Bruce Banner must have felt.

While I'm limited in my work options because I have to wear a shirt & tie, this might be a nice time for me to pick up a new casual look for those off hours. Since I have about as much fashion sense as a rottweiler, I'll be soliciting guidance from some friends and my daughter.

These are good problems to have, and I'm grateful.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Father to a Daughter

My daughter and I have a great relationship. I'd even go so far as to say she feels comfortable talking to me about almost anything (how many dads out there were the first to know when their daughters entered puberty?) Through this experience, she has become fiercely loyal to her daddy. Sure, she was my girl before, but with this shared experience, we seem to have an even stronger bond.

For the record, I also have a very close relationship with my son. That said, the purpose of this post is to talk about what's going on with my daughter. I'll discuss my son in another post.

Today my little girl (I guess 15 still counts as a "little girl" to a father) had final exams, so she was out of school at 9:30. She took public transportation home, and called me when she was on her way. When I talked to her, she said she was really close to the grocery store, and asked if I would like her to stop and pick up some of the turkey sandwiches we both like so much. That way we could share them for lunch. She even paid with her own money! Lunch with a daughter may seem like a small thing, but it's something that I really treasure.

As I've said, I have a great relationship with my daughter, and I support her in a fair amount of activities (e.g. ice skating). Still, as a single dad, I think it's important for her to have a positive female role model as much as possible. So when she asked me to take her shopping for some clothes, I decided that was an opportunity for her to have a little womanly mentoring. Thus I asked a very special friend if she would mind taking my daughter on a little field trip.

In the spirit of anonymity, I cannot disclose the identity of this individual (she's happily married, so don't go getting any ideas). I will say that I really appreciate her support, though. She and her husband have really been there for me through this. So yesterday she and my daughter took their little field trip, and I think it was a very positive experience for both of them.

I'm realizing that although there are some things that I cannot do by myself, that doesn't mean I will falter or fail. At the end of the day, I'm a person who gets things done. Sure, sometimes I have to be a little creative, but the results are what matter.

No More I Love You

Well, another milestone I have dreaded has passed. My wife quit telling me that she loves me, and asked that I "cool it" with telling her. I suppose under the circumstances that is understandable. What bothers me is that she never comes out and directly tells me anything. Instead, I'll have a gut feeling that bothers me so I bring it up. Inevitably, she won't want to talk about it, but ultimately I get the message. The thing about this approach... It hurts. A lot.

About 6:00 last night (already a long day at work) I found out that the stuff I've been working on had to be finished by morning. I knew I had hours and hours of work left, so I went home, made dinner for the kids, and went back to work. I finally finished up and went home around 11PM. By then, I was utterly exhausted and completely spent - both mentally and emotionally. I called my wife on my way home and told her that it was a bad night to meet up, even though she was going to be in the area. For me, this was a moral victory. As badly as I wanted to see her, I did the right thing.

Eventually, I'll have to see her again to exchange the final few belongs that we have for each other. With any luck, I'll be stronger when that time comes. At least, I hope so.

Today is another busy day. For me, it started around 5:30 this morning so I could take my car in to get it serviced. I also have a dentist appointment, and I have to go pick up my car after work, and then stop for milk on the way home. I tried to make waffles for the kids this morning, only to find out after I mixed the dry ingredients that we didn't have enough milk. Single parenting is so much fun! ;-)

Thanks for reading this. I'll continue to put one foot in front of the other, take things day by day, and post my experiences here so you can watch me heal.

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Male Psyche

My wife is coming over late tonight to pick up a few things, and drop off some others. The kids will be in bed when she does. In thinking about this, I'm realizing some interesting things about my current emotional needs.

Plainly put, right now, I would rather have a kiss from my wife, than sex from some other woman. That may sound like a strange statement to make, but it's a strange way to feel.

In cases of infidelity, they say that men cheat from the scrotum, and women cheat from the heart. What this means is that generally men step out to satisfy sexual cravings, whereas women give in to sex as way to meet some unfulfilled emotional need. How odd that I find myself on the more feminine side of this human behavior in that I crave emotional contact rather than physical.

It seems that right now my emotional needs are so strong they overpower even my primal lust. Take that, Freud!

Odd Dream

I had a really strange dream Saturday night, and I thought I'd share it.

In the dream, I was driving on the freeway, and my car broke down. There were people with me, but I don't remember clearly who (I think it was my kids). I called a tow truck, but when it arrived, there was no operator, so I had to hook up my car myself.

I hooked the car up and lifted the front wheels off the ground. Then, because the cab of the tow truck was locked, I knew I'd have to ride behind it in my car. The problem was that there was no driver. Instead, there was a control box with a long wire that I strung back to my car. So I ended up sitting in the driver's seat of my car, trying to remotely control the tow truck that was towing me.

Driving on the freeway was a little challenging, because I couldn't see over the tow truck. I tried to go slow, use my signals, and watch for other cars as much as possible. Then I woke up.

I think this dream could have several meanings for me. It could mean that I now have to help myself. It could also mean that I realize that I now have to do things myself that traditionally I had help with, but that I'll manage. Another interpretation might be that although I cannot see the road ahead, I have no choice but to take control and go forward. Maybe it's a combination of all three.

I welcome any other amateur interpretations.

It's Not All Bad

Looking on the bright side of things, I've now lost about 26 pounds, plus about 2 inches off my waist. At the same time, I've added an inch or two across my chest and shoulders. My clothes are starting to fit a little funny, but of the problems I can have, that's not a bad one.

I also put together my goal list. I find it's helpful for me to keep focus if I list the things I want to accomplish over the short and long term. For example, long term I want to finish my Pilot's License, and write a book (among other things). Daily, I intend to drink more water, exercise, and get enough sleep.

As silly as it sounds, years ago (the last time I was single) I took a dry erase marker and wrote on the bottom of my bathroom mirror: "What have you done today to further the accomplishment of your goals?" I'd like to be able to answer that question with at least one thing each day.

It's Over

Sometimes it's helpful to take a few days off and let things sit before I write about them. For those of you who have been waiting and wondering, I'm sorry it has taken so long.

On Thursday, my wife read my last blog post, and I guess it gave her the courage to do what she feels she needs to. I asked her if she wanted a divorce, and she told me yes. I explained that I didn't want one, but that I would not hold her in a relationship she didn't want, and she thanked me. After a little discussion, we decided to file in Virginia (where she lives now) because the laws are a lot better than in Maryland. It will take about another 5 months for all to be said and done.

I have not told the kids, although I did discuss it with their therapist. My reasoning is that telling them will not change anything, but it will probably be very upsetting for them. By waiting, they won't have to worry about school because they'll be out for the summer, and they will be much more used to the situation. Their therapist agreed with my approach, so apparently, it is a good one.

I have good days and bad days. I think that much is clear from what I write here. Although I am doing better, sometimes it is extremely difficult. I find myself thinking about her all the time. Everywhere I go, with everything I do, I see her in my mind. I often times find myself reminiscing about happier times, or wondering what she's doing. We've agreed to be friends, and honestly, if that is all I can have I'll take it. Some would think me foolish, but the situation is what it is.

She told me she feels like I write this blog to put on a show, and that I'm painting her as the bad guy. I wish I could make her understand that I am not trying to do that. I told her she was free to leave a comment on the blog, but she expressed concern that the other commenters would attack her. Somehow, she sees my readers as minions who will blindly defend me even when I'm wrong. I don't think that's the case at all, and I would hope that everyone who reads this realizes that there are two sides to every story. This blog only presents one.

When this first happened, I called my in-laws to let them know that as far as I was concerned, this would not change the relationship I have with them. My father-in-law never had a son, so in many ways, I've filled in as a surrogate. I've also taken care of the Website for his business for the past 8 years, and I wanted him to know that he didn't have to worry about it.

The response I got was heartwarming, and comforting. Her parents told me that they loved me, and me not being with their daughter anymore would not change that. They said they still want to see me and the kids, and that I am always welcome in their home. I really appreciate that.

On Saturday, I talked to her parents again. I've started calling every Saturday just to stay in touch now that we don't have that common link anymore. That might strike some as odd, but her folks are good people. They event sent my parents a Christmas card.

She hasn't told her grandmother yet, so although I desperately want to talk to her, I'm not really comfortable doing so. Her grandmother has a reputation for being a little difficult, yet she has come to the conclusion that I can do no wrong. Frankly, I think she's a pretty neat lady, and I worry about her health. I'm not sure when she'll get the news, but I hope she's not angry with me for not telling her. In any event, it's not really my place to say anything.

My wife has not been in contact with my parents since she left. That's unfortunate, because I think she might be surprised. My mom is (obviously) very sympathetic to what I'm going through, and she hurts when I do. She's also very intelligent and worldly. As a logical creature (much like myself), my mom is able to separate her grief from the situation and look at things semi-objectively. Indeed, several times she has told me that her heart also goes out to my wife, and that she understands her position.

It's foolish, perhaps, but I'm still of the opinion that we're not to a point where there is no going back (or forward, as the case may be). Like her father told me Saturday, as long as things are friendly, there is always hope. One never knows what tomorrow might bring.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


I really meant to post yesterday, but it turned out to be an extremely busy day. The good news is that it was the best day I've had since this all started. The question is then "what changed?" The short answer is simply that I gained some perspective.

Tuesday night, as you may recall, things were quite black indeed. After I wrote the post about how I felt, I reconciled my bank account. Strangely, that made me feel a bit better (I've been putting it off for a few days). Maybe it was that I felt a bit more in control of my own situation, or perhaps it was a reminder that I'm going to be okay, but for whatever reason, things seemed just a little bit brighter.

I have a philosophy that I affectionately refer to as "Faith in the Unknown". Essentially, it means that sometimes problems seem insurmountable, but generally something will come up to help, and it's usually something you never thought of. If things seem bad, and there's nothing you can do, give it a little time -- something will change. I haven't been optimistic enough to exercise this philosophy for a while, but something happened after I paid my bills to restore my "faith".

I ended up having a long conversation on the phone with a really nice young lady. For a plethora of reasons, she isn't relationship material for me (including her age [21], her location [far], and several other twists); still, our conversation served as a very interesting reminder. I was reminded that apart from the role I've held as a dedicated husband for the past 7 years, I am also an individual. Furthermore, I am also attractive to the opposite sex (everyone likes to know that - even people who have been happily married for 40 years). It gave me some perspective on the situation that there will be life for me after her.

Armed with perspective on the situation, I was able to accept a lot of realities that I have been previously unable to deal with. She's not coming back. Life will go on. I'll be happy, even without her. Furthermore, I didn't have her in my life for the first 26 years, and it didn't bother me a bit.

I even selected our break-up theme song (it may seem strange, but I always do that), and I think it fits the situation perfectly. This time, I chose "Time for me to Fly", by REO Speedwagon. The lyrics seem to have been written for my situation. You can read them here.

Work is going well. I noticed yesterday that I don't feel so much like the new guy anymore, and I feel like I'm adding a lot of value to the company, which is also important. I've managed to find my focus, and I've been extremely productive this week.

On the home front, I've also seemed to find my groove. The kids and I have routines established, and the house is running smoothly. We've even re-instituted our weekly game night where a couple of my friends come over for dinner and we play games, joke, and generally socialize.

Sure, there will be bad days ahead. Not everyday can be great, but I'm going to get through this. I've made it halfway into the forest, and now I'm working to come out the other side.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Farewell My Love

This morning, I wrote another poem. I even gave this one a title. I call it "Farewell My Love", and I thought I'd share it.
Farewell My Love

Why have you done this?
What did I do?
Wasn't I always
A good man to you?

Wasn't I there
When the going was rough?
Didn't I help you
When things seemed too tough?

Who are you now?
I don't really know.
Who is this person
You've chosen to show?

Who is the real you
Deep down inside?
Where is the woman
You're trying to hide?

Where are you going?
What do you do?
I can't figure it out,
And that makes me blue.

But life must go on.
Time doesn't stand still
While I fear that you won't,
But hope that you will.

So now I release you
And hope that you'll find
Whatever you seek...
What you see in your mind.

Farewell my love
We had a great run
At times we shared sadness
But most of all, fun.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007


It's been a long, exhausting day. I worked through lunch hoping to get finished at a reasonable time, but I wasn't quite that lucky.

I'm in a bad way right now. I feel like I'm losing myself as the black water of depression envelops me. I realize that it's only a bad day, and under the circumstance, is to be expected. I tell myself this, and it does no good at all.

A few minutes ago, I got an alert on my cell phone that I needed to delete some text messages or I wouldn't be able to receive any more. Happy for the distraction, I set myself about the busy work of deleting the old messages, when I came accross one that got to me. It was from my wife, at 12:59PM on November 29th (the day before my life fell apart), and it read simply: "I love you. Please be happy." My hand trembled, the words became blurry, and a single tear rolled down my cheek as I put my phone down as careful as a young mother nestles her newborn child. I didn't delete the message. It's the last reminder of how things used to be. If I could, I'd go back and live in that moment forever.

Today's Theme

My thought for today is actually a couple of verses from the Chumbawamba song "Tubthumping". Given the situation, they seem very appropriate:
Don't cry for me
Next door neighbor...

I get knocked down
But I get up again
You're never going to keep me down

Succinct, germane, to the point, and yes, a bit cheesy. But it fits.

A Novel Idea

Those who don't read the comments left here, might want to take a look at this post, and read the comments. Generally, I respond to many of the comments left. In this case, I also posted an idea I have.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Why Help?

One reader of my blog whom I've been corresponding with, and who also happens to be going through something similar to my situation, asked me why I would want to help a stranger.

When I think about it, it's an interesting question. The answer in part, oddly enough, is because I'm an Atheist. As I've said, since I don't believe that some supreme deity is going to intercede on anyones behalf, I think it's our responsibility to take care of one another.

Also, I have often relied on the kindness of strangers. Arguably, the support I get visavis the comments on this blog is an example of that.

Finally, I genuinely like helping people. As I noted in a previous post, I'm a fixer.

Moving Forward

Well, I've been very very busy. That's part of the reason why I haven't posted in a few days. The other part is that I'm trying to avoid turning this into another soccer mom Live Journal. That said, if you can make it through this post, there's good stuff at the end.

Today, for the most part, was a good day. At least, it has been so far. But, I'll come back to that in a moment.

I had great plans for Saturday. It turns out that I had to work Sunday, so I wanted to make sure to optimize the one remaining day of the weekend. I planned it so that I would get up, take the kids to their therapy appointments (we go every Saturday), then do the grocery shopping, hurry home to do a load or two of laundry before my wife came at 4:00 to pick up my son for a day out. I figured they would be back around 6:00, which meant I would start the spaghetti around 5:15 so we could have a quick meal before I had to leave for a birthday party I was invited to Saturday night. It looked good on paper.

On Friday my wife called because the brakes went bad on the vehicle she's driving. I told her not to worry - we'd get it taken care of. So the plan was for her to get up, get an estimate, have the repair, then meet with a mutual friend to pick up some furniture and have coffee. That should have allowed her time to get to my house and pick up my son.

What really happened Saturday was that nothing went as planned. On my way to the grocery store that afternoon after therapy, I called to see how the estimate was going, and my wife was still asleep. Fortunately, the shopping went well, and I simply adjusted the schedule to reflect reality. I was bound and determined to get things back on track. Then, when she arrived, things went downhill for me.

I hadn't cried since the last time I saw her. For some reason, when I saw her again and sensed that she was further withdrawing from me, I cried again. She also didn't want to stay for dinner. Honestly, I think I need to do a better job of managing my expectations.

I managed to upset myself enough that I threw up after she left (note to self: chew lettuce better). Then I resolved to get things a little more under control, and do a better job of letting go. When she dropped off my son, I told her I was going to leave her alone. I explained that I meant I was no longer going to have expectations, and I'd try harder to give her space. She gave me a strange look, but said okay.

When it came time for the party, I was exhausted and didn't feel like going - particularly since I found out it involved a 45 minute drive each way. I bagged it and spent the time with my kids instead.

Later that night, circa 1AM, my son puked all over the stairs. You know it's bad when you hear a splash that sounds like throwing a bucket of water in the bathtub, and then you realize that it's carpet. To compound the issue, he flatly refused to even help clean it up. Now, I've been angry before, but this made me furious. Having your 13-year-old yark chunks all over the stairs at 1 in the morning, and then belligerently refuse to clean it up (or go back to bed for that matter) is the ultimate test. He was sorry the next day. Still, it was frustrating - the perfect end to the perfect day.

On Sunday, I worked until about 7PM Sunday trying to get my project back. I made excellent progress, although I'm still working to bring it in for the big finish. While in the office, I bumped into a coworker I have chatted with a few times. She is very calm, easy to talk to, and has a son about my age. In the military, I would have referred to her as "dark green", which is a reference to her African descent (there is no black or white in the Army -- only shades of green).

We grumbled about having to work the weekend, and then for some reason, I felt the urge to open up to her. I told her I assumed everything we were saying was off the record (a fair assumption, since she made some pretty unflattering remarks about my boss). She chuckled and said she certainly hoped so.

Then I told her that something else that made it difficult for me was that my wife decided to leave right before I started this job, so I've been struggling with that and doing the single parent thing. Her response surprised me.

Without hesitation, she moved closer to me, wrapped her arms around me, and gave me a hug. While we embraced, she said, "I don't really know you that well, but I know that you need that. I'll tell you a secret. Just before my birthday in December, my husband of 25 years told me he wanted a divorce."

Sometimes, the smallest gesture makes the biggest impact. From now on, I will always feel a sense of closeness and kinship with this lady.

So, today was another busy day. I spent a large part of the night dreading my boss' reaction to the project not quite being finished, but in a stroke of really good luck, he was in a good mood today. Things went very well.

Against this backdrop, I've had another epiphany (for those who bothered to read this far). I've spent too much time worrying about what my life might be, and not enough time worrying about what it is. The truth of the matter is that I'm in good health, I make good money, I like my job, I have two wonderful kids who love and support me, and I'm surrounded by people (like you) who genuinely care. Does it really matter if I'm divorced a year from now? In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Latin Words of Wisdom

Here's something to think about, and I think it's true:
"Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit..."

The translation: "There is no one who loves pain itself, who seeks after it and wants to have it, simply because it is pain..."


Today has been a mixed grab bag. In fact, on the way back from lunch I was a bit surprised at how much my moods can fluctuate even within the span of only a few minutes.

On one hand, I'm improving. I'm listening to the radio while I drive again, which may sound funny, but is something I haven't been able to do since this all started. I'm also in better physical shape every day, and my total weight loss is now up to 20 pounds. I feel better, and I look better.

On the other hand, it's been a rough day at work. While admittedly my focus has been less than razor sharp lately, I apparently didn't realize how off I've been. Consequently, I managed to really piss off my boss. Seriously - he was visibly angry.

I had the dubious task of letting him know that I had grossly underestimated the level of effort required to complete a project I've been working on, ergo it won't be finished on time. I hate those conversations, but I always try to be honest, own my mistakes, accept the responsibility that belongs to me, and let the chips fall where they may. It's never fun, but it's all part of business. The bottom line is that I may end up working this weekend to make up for lost time.

Notwithstanding my flub (that I attribute to a lack of focus), I actually did do quite a bit of work today. Honestly, it felt pretty good to dig in and be productive. I was reminded that I really enjoy what I do, and I'm pretty good at it. (For those who don't know, I'm the Director of Web Development for a small, well-funded company that is owned by a large, well-funded company.)

Still, right now I could really use a reassuring hug. I want to be cuddled. I want someone to tell me things will be okay. I need to be comforted.

Yes, my kids are there, and they're always good for a hug. Yes, my parents are supportive, and they tell me things will be okay. Yes, I have friends who also reassure me. But at the end of the night, when I crawl into bed, I'll be lying there alone.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Grocery Shopping

Last night I had to stop at the store on my way home from work. Since it was my son's birthday, I managed to sneak out just a bit early, and I noticed a few interesting things at the grocery store just before 5PM. The thing that struck me the most was that the place was full of women. I was one of only a very few men there. Some were married, some were single, all were on a mission, and quite focused on what they were doing. It was almost creepy.

As long as I had planned on hitting the grocery store on my way home, I offered to do some shopping for my wife. She's been having to run around a lot lately, and I know she probably didn't feel like it (plus she felt a little sick yesterday). Thus, I talked her into giving me a list of things she needed, and carefully made my rounds to retrieve items from her list and my own.

Then, as I was shopping, I had a sad thought. Maybe if I had done a little more shopping a little sooner, things might be different right now. There's nothing like the "what if?" game to drive a man insane.

My son's birthday party went pretty well. My wife came over for cake, as did some family friends. After she went home, it occured to me that last night had been the last "obligatory" visit. (Since the day she left, there has been a littany of things that required her to come over.) This birthday party marked the last. It made me ... well ... sad.

I tried to get to bed early, but I had a rough night punctuated with waking up in a sweat several times, and not being able to get back to sleep. The worst came at about 2AM. I struggled, and forced myself not to call my wife. The urge became nearly overwhelming at least half a dozen times - all I wanted was to hear her voice, and somehow I felt like if I could, I'd be able to rest at last.

Funny Thought

It's odd the things that go through your head while you're struggling with something like this. One funny thought I had today was, "Do you have any idea how long it takes to be comfortable enough to fart in front of someone?"

Another Poem

I had a very very bad night. Unfortunately, a bad morning usually follows. I'll have an update post coming later in the day with details, but I mentally composed a poem in the shower this morning, and I thought I'd share it.
In self-pity, here I wallow,
'cause inside I'm feeling hollow,
And it seems the only thing I know is pain.

But I carry on my life,
Even though I have no wife,
And I hope that I will learn to love again.

On the outside I seem cheery,
On the inside I feel weary,
And to see me you would never really know,

That when she left she broke my heart,
And sadly now that we're apart,
I can't imagine where my life will likely go.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Losing Momentum

It's funny how much your mood can change throughout a single day. I started out today pretty optimistic. I got up at 4AM, got a little computer time in, and made waffles for my kids for breakfast before they had to go to school. I didn't even mind ironing my clothes. Unfortunately, I'm beginning to lose my optimism. I think there are several reasons.

First, I talked to my wife this morning, and I managed to make her mad. She feels like I'm still invading her space. I wish there were a handbook for things like this -- then I'd know what the rules were so I could just follow them. In any event, after our positive visit yesterday, things seem worse today. (Up, down, up, down, up down...)

Really, it's my own fault. I just can't seem to stop myself from letting that optimism creep in. Granted, there's nothing wrong with optimism in and of itself, but it has a tendency to pull you up, which sometimes means that the drop is that much further when you have to come down again. (Up, down, up, down, up down...)

I just came out of a business meeting, and it looks like I may have to go to Boston for a day or two (more? I hope not) next week. For some reason, that thought makes me lonely, nervous, and tired. That means I'll have to find someone to stay with the kids. (My wife, you say? I suspect that would violate the space rule, but again, I have no handbook.) Also, traveling is a financial burden I could really do without at present time, to say nothing of how exhausting business travel can be. Furthermore, let's face it: Boston isn't exactly a vacation destination in January. (Up, down, up, down, up down...)

I haven't said a peep about what's going on to anyone at work. If they knew, I'm afraid that it would become a convenient excuse anytime anything went wrong. If they don't know it's happening, they can't use it to assign blame. It's not that I don't respect my coworkers. In fact, quite the opposite is true. It's a mere question of human nature. (Up, down, up, down, up down...)

The net result is that I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. Today is my son's birthday, which means it's going to be a rough night in more ways than one. I have to stop at the grocery store on my way home from work. Then, around 7, some friends are coming over, as is my wife. (Up, down, up, down, up down...)

This should be the last obligatory visit now that the holidays are over. Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about that, either. I guess the simple truth is that a part of me is still hanging on. (Up, down, up, down, up down...)

I hope things go well tonight. I'm emotionally exhausted.


Well, another weekend and another holiday season are behind me. All things considered, I think it was a fairly productive weekend, and a few interesting things happened.

Friday morning, I took my wedding ring off. It's strange - after more than 7 years I seem to have a permanent groove in my finger. I've always been the type of guy who never takes off his wedding band -- I even wore it in the shower and while SCUBA diving. My basic philosophy was that no matter what I was doing I was married, so I would always keep the ring on.

Initially, my wife didn't notice that I wasn't wearing it anymore. Then on Sunday, she saw it sitting on my desk and asked what it was about. She seemed a little troubled, and said she wanted to think about it. The next time I saw her, she had taken hers off too. I don't think either one of us is sure how we feel about it.

Sunday, December 31, 2006


My daughter is waiting for me to go grocery shopping (we made a list of our meals and what we need to buy), so unfortunately, I don't have time to write a very detailed post right now. But, I realize that many people watch this blog and are concerned for me. That being the case, I'll offer a quick update and fill in the details later.

A very interesting thing happened the other night. I had a very painful conversation with my wife. It wasn't easy, and at one point she actually used the words "it's over". I resolved myself to accept the situation as it is, and live my life based on that. Right now, she is gone. Period. She isn't coming back, and I cannot sit out on the porch gazing over the horizon waiting to see her silhouette come walking down the road.

It's possible that she may find what she's looking for, and decide to come back. It's also possible that some rich relative I've never met will leave me a large inheritance, but I cannot make my decisions based upon either possibility. Time waits for no man, and I have to go on. If she has a change of heart in the future, the burden will be on her to win me back - not the other way around.

After I made the decision, I cried. When I finished, I accepted reality. That night, I slept the whole night through without waking up shivering in a puddle of sweat for the first time in a month. Sure, I have down moments during the day, but I'm trying to focus on the positive, and I managed to make it through the whole night again last night.

I've dropped about 17 pounds, and I've started to work out again. I'm feeling better both physically, and emotionally. It's not too surprising given that studies have shown exercise to help reduce stress. Admittedly, she looks great too. That's not so easy for me to accept, but again, it's reality.

I really appreciate the outpouring of support I've gotten. Thank you for continuing to watch me heal.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


Some days are up; some days are down. Today is sort of in the middle. I'm not as positive as I was yesterday, but I'm not as negative as the day before. On the plus side, I feel a lot better physically - much as I suspected I would.

Sometimes I find myself feeling down, and it's really frustrating for me. I know I need to let go, but I just can't seem to do it. Then I get a little angry at myself for being weak, and yes, even a bit pathetic.

For now, I'm content that the lows are no longer quite so crushing, and the highs are a little more frequent. As with any roller coaster ride, the scariest part is the first drop.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


I've had an epiphany. I don't have any control over this situation, and I find that thought ... liberating. Let me elaborate.

This morning, a good friend of mine observed: "I think a lot of your trepidation with her leaving has more to do with your own feelings on your ability to be in control of your life." While I don't know that I necessarily agree 100% with that statement, it does have elements of truth. Part of this may indeed be a control thing for me. But, it's a funny thing about control, sometimes not being in control can be a good thing too.

When I was promoted to Sergeant in the Army, one of the first things I said was "You know, there's a lot to be said for being a Private." My reasoning was that as a Private, you really don't have any problems. If a problem comes up, you tell your Sergeant and now it's his problem. As a Sergeant, however, not only do you have to deal with all your own problems, you also have to take care of your subordinates and look out for their well-being.

In this situation, I don't have any control. That also means I cannot be held accountable -- especially to myself. I have done everything I can, and I can do no more. It's time to focus on things I can control.

Looking Up

For some reason, I feel a lot better today. I'm realizing that this isn't the end. It's not even the beginning of the end. It's merely the end of the beginning.

I still love my wife, and I still want her back. No matter what happens, I always will. Still, it's nice to not feel so black.

Ironically, while I'm feeling better emotionally, I'm feeling worse physically. I'm one of those people who very rarely gets sick, and when I do, my immune system knocks it out quickly. Unfortunately, stress takes its toll even on me. I'm achy and I have a scratchy nasal passage and throat. Also, my knee is killing me today (7 years as a Paratrooper also takes a toll). But I know the knee will feel better in a day or so, and I'll probably just end up with a mild cold.

Perhaps one reason for my optimism is because things went well for my daughter's birthday last night. I picked up an ice cream cake for her (as requested), and cooked her favorite meal. The meal turned out great, she loved the cake, and she was ecstatic with the birthday presents (jewelry).

My kids have been my island of sanity through this. We seem to share each other's pain. I grieve when they do, and they hurt for me as much as themselves. I think seeing them a bit more happy perks me up, and I hope my new found optimism will have the same effect on them.

Another thing that has really helped me through this is my parents. I call them 5 or 6 times a day, and they are always willing to listen. Sometimes I cry, sometimes I complain, sometimes I rejoice. Regardless of the reason, they're always willing to share it with me and to offer some kind words and hope. I love you, mom & dad.

Although this is anonymous so I can't really give the credit deserved, it's worth mentioning that I also have a few close friends who have really stepped forward. You know who you are. All I can say is thank you for telling me when the sun is shining.

Finally, I think writing helps. I've always been an emotional creature. Unlike a lot of men, I prefer to talk about my feelings. I'm generally the one who wants to talk things out. Also, I like show tunes and theater - but don't tell anyone. ;-)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Progress Hurts

"Most things break, including hearts. The lessons of life amount not to wisdom, but to scar tissue and callus."

- Wallace Stegner

My wife just called. She's going to look at an apartment. Although I've been expecting this moment, I now find that I'm not prepared.

I'm a zombie. I walk through the office and smile at the people I pass by, but they don't know that I'm dying inside. I want to go somewhere and cry, but I can't.

I know I have to let her go. I know that if there's any way she'll ever come back, she has to find what she's looking for. For me, it is the all-consuming question, and I'm terrified of the answer. I can't remember when I've ever been this alone or afraid.

I'll see her tonight for my daughter's birthday, and when I do, I'll do my best to put on that same smiling face that greets my new coworkers. Later tonight, when the kids are in bed, and she is gone, I'll listen to some music, reflect, and try to cry it out. Tomorrow is another day.

One Foot in Front of the Other

Well, the weekend is officially over. It was a little strange, frankly. At least I can check it off my list. Now I just need to focus on getting through New Years...

Today is my daughter's 15th birthday. My wife is supposed to be coming over tonight to wish her a happy birthday and share some cake. With a little luck, she may also decide to stay for dinner. My daughter asked me to make Chicken Parmesan for her birthday, and while it's a lot of work, I think I do a pretty good job of it.

Since the kids are out of school all week, I'm going home to for lunch to see them. Generally, I find that I need to get away from the office a little each day, and seeing my kids is a great bonus.

As I mentioned before, my wife and I went to the movies on Saturday afternoon. It felt really awkward for both of us, and she left without having dinner. Maybe it's still too soon for things like that.

The next day was Christmas Eve, and initially, she really didn't feel like coming over (or doing anything, for that matter). I vented a bit on her (perhaps unfair, but even terse communication is communication), and ultimately told her that maybe it would be best if she didn't come. For some reason, after that she decided to come and spend the night.

While wrapping Christmas presents for the kids, I explained to her that I was going to forget everything for one night and just enjoy her company and be happy. I explained that I'd like to just pretend things were normal, and in return, the next day we could sit down, finish our business (splitting the finances, etc.) , and go on.

Even though I knew I'd have to deal with it later, I just wanted a small break from the torment. I wanted to have my wife back for a night -- even if only temporary. I wanted us to be a family again for Christmas. In many regards, I approached it like the end of the movie Artificial Intelligence: AI. Even though I knew it would only be one night, I needed it so badly I was willing to accept the implications.

As we wrapped presents, I jokingly told my wife that there were two things I wanted for Christmas that we couldn't put under the tree: I wanted her to help me with a quest in an online game we both play, and then take me to bed. "I think that can be accommodated", she told me with a grin. And she did.

Christmas morning we got up with the kids and did our unwrapping. I think this was the first time we didn't open a single gift on Christmas Eve. The kids seemed happy with what they got, which I think pleased both my wife and me.

Later in the day we sat down for the unpleasant task of dividing our debts. Admittedly, I cried a little, and she showed me a softness and understanding that I haven't seen from her in a while. I tried to steel myself against the upset, and we continued.

In October, we moved into a somewhat expensive place ($2,450 a month) so my daughter could go to a very good school. My son's school is right next door, and is equally impressive.

Let me tell you what kind of person my wife is. After we equitably divided debts, it began to look as though I were going to have a pretty tough time. She juggled some numbers around, and then insisted that she pay $500 a month of the rent so the kids wouldn't have to change schools or be disrupted.

I'm really torn by that. On one hand, my machismo is killing me because I have an ingrained sense of chivalry. True, I don't get any child support for the kids, but that's not my wife's fault (they're from a previous marriage). Still, I feel like I should be the one being the hero to the rescue - not the other way around. Then I realize that perhaps that is one of the problems that caused this outcome to begin with, and I commit myself to not let pride interfere. This is something she wants to do, and I'm going to let her. In either case, I appreciate the help, but even more, what it represents.

I'm still holding on to hope. Hope is one of the things that makes us human. Hope motivates us to strive for greatness, and sees us through the struggles in life. Hope can also be maddening. I'm coming to realize that hope fits naturally with love and passion - that in order for something to be wonderful, it also has to have a dark side.

Thank you for reading this. I promise that if you keep reading, I'll keep writing. Together we'll make this journey, and one day, maybe someone else will be able to use the map we create.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Some Days Are Better Than Others

I feel down today. I realize that it's part of the process, and I keep telling myself that, but it doesn't change the way I feel. It's all a part of the wonderful roller coaster ride.

I think part of the way I feel has to do with the holidays. Holidays are a family event, so I'm surrounded by constant reminders of what's happened.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Setting the Record Straight

It is human nature to assign blame. It seems like everything always has to be someones fault. I think that plays into our sense of justice -- there are good guys, and bad guys. Everything is always the bad guy's fault. But what if there is no bad guy?

While I sincerely appreciate all of the well wishes and support, I think it's important to prevent the perception that I am the "innocent victim" here (e.g. the good guy). Clearly things would be easier if we could write this off as one of those things that is all her fault. Meanwhile, back in the real world, things are never that cut and dry.

First, understand that you're only getting one side of the story here -- mine. Even at that, you're only getting the things I feel like blogging about. You won't read, for example, that I didn't get my wife anything for her birthday this year (even though I deeply regret it). Yes, I planned on getting her something, but at the end of the day, I failed.

I would also point out that we each took risks when we got together that we knew were risks. She was exceptionally young. I knew it, I knew it was a risk, and I knew that this was potentially one of the outcomes. I accepted the risk, which means I must also accept the consequences. Furthermore, I was not young, and I had the benefit of experience. If you burn your hand on a hot stove, most people don't blame the manufacturer. It's a stove - it's supposed to be hot!

For the record, my wife was always and continues to be very caring, supportive, and concerned for my well-being. It's one of the things that I love about her. She didn't leave me for another man, and she didn't denigrate me as she went out the door. As I understand it, she merely felt like she needed room to grow.

Sometimes it's easy to forget that apart from the couple entity, a marriage also consists of two individuals. As 1/2 of a couple, I'm extremely hurt by all of this. But, as an individual, I support her decision. 20 years from now, we may look back on this as something that preserved our marriage (the fact that we were allowed to grow individually, as well as together), or we may look back as friends, and decide that it was a good decision for the friendship.

In any event, I don't think this is a situation where assigning blame is productive or deserved. I haven't, and you shouldn't either.

PS: As odd as it may seem, we have a date today. She should be here in about 45 minutes. Please wish me well.

Friday, December 22, 2006

She's Gone

She's gone. I have to come to terms with it. I must accept it. I have to extinguish my silly childish dreams that any moment she'll change her mind.

I talked to her candidly this morning, and I told her that I felt like she wanted me to wait while she went off and did her own thing, and if she didn't like it she'd be back, but if she did, well, it was fun while it lasted. She confessed that in a way, that was exactly what she was asking. Then we began discussions on how to separate our finances.

Honestly, I think not knowing is worse than anything else. At least if I know it's over, I can begin the healing process.

When I was a kid, we had a mangy old black tom cat who would go out, roam around, get in trouble and come home all torn up. He was a mass of scars, yet he never seemed to give up his perpetual fight. I remember one time my mom had to doctor him with peroxide, and it bleached his fur. He looked ridiculous, but still carried himself with a a level of arrogance known only to cats. Now it's time for me to put peroxide on my wounds. My ears are torn, I'm in pain, and I'm tired from years of the same, but I must continue the fight.

They say if you love something you should let it go. There is no question in my mind that I love her. Amazingly, after 8 years, my heart still skips a beat when I see her. But when you love someone, you have to do the right thing. So now I let her go. I sincerely hope she finds what she's looking for - she deserves to be happy.

I don't know what the future holds. I don't know what my life will be in 3 months, or 6 months, or a year. Maybe she'll go out and realize that the grass isn't really as green as it looks from here. Conversely, it's equally possible she'll discover that she's happier on her own.

In either event, I know you can never go back. If she changes her mind, and if I feel the same, we can go forward together perhaps, but nobody can ever go back. No matter what happens, though, she is my friend, and I love her. Goodbye, by wife.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Yesterday I wrote a poem for my wife, and I'd like to share it.

The plan was that she would meet me after work so we could wrap up some Christmas shopping for the kids. I stopped on the way and picked up a single red rose, and a card. I wrote a short note in the card explaining I was empty without her, and put the handwritten poem, neatly folded, inside for her to find.

She waited for me in the driveway, and when I got in the car with her, I gave her the rose and said "I thought I'd show this rose what something really beautiful looks like." Then I handed her the card.

Honestly, I'm not sure what her reaction was. It was a little awkward, but she was gracious and appreciative. Anyway, here's what the poem says:

Today seems better than yesterday,
Although she is still gone, and I
Kind of worry that I'll have to live
Every day without her from now on.

My kids love her, I love her, and
Everyone says we're perfect together.

But no matter how much I try, it
Always seems to be in vein. I
Can't seem to make her want my
Kisses the way she used to.

Perhaps she'll realize that I
Love her more than anything,
Except I worry that maybe she
Already knows, and the problem is
She hasn't decided that she loves me
Endlessly like I do her.

Now the kicker. There is a hidden message in this poem. Can you find it? Here's a hint: use the first letter of each line, and read from top to bottom.

My wife is exceptionally smart, and very good at puzzles. I told her there was a hidden message, and she found it without needing a hint. Somehow, I knew she would.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


"Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane."

- The character Red in The Shawshank Redemption

I had a better night last night. My wife came over to help get my son ready for a choral concert, and then we attended the concert as a family. Things almost felt normal for a while, and it was a welcome respite from the suffering. Even temporary relief is relief.

I did make one slip up: I showed her this blog. I knew it was a risk, but I decided to take it. She felt like it was an attempt on my part to make her feel guilty. Actually, she was part right. It was an attempt on my part to influence her feelings, but guilt wasn't a factor in what I had in mind. I guess I keep hoping for one of those great movie moments where the wife has the dawning realization that her husband loves her, and she loves him. Guess what, movie buffs-- things don't work that way in real life (or so I'm finding out).

After my faux pas, and based on what she perceived as an unfavorable reception from the kids, she was inclined to leave before the concert. I convinced her to go along, and agreed that she wouldn't have to stay for dinner after if she were uncomfortable. As it turns out, she opted to stay (even if briefly).

We talked a little, and I was reminded of the friendship aspect of our relationship. The simple truth is that I really do enjoy her company. She has a great sense of humor, and we have literally hundreds of inside jokes that nobody else would understand.

Which brings me back to hope. She agreed to go to some counseling with me after things calm down a bit. We also tentatively have a date to go to the movies this weekend, and we're playing it by ear to see how it goes for Christmas.

Hope keeps me going, but it also scares the hell out of me because I'm afraid it will cloud my judgement. Will I be able to see a problem, or will I be a damn fool and ignore the truth merely because it's not what I hope will happen? Is it reasonable of me to hope I can win her back, or is she merely being nice to me out of respect because she's a good person?

She is a good person, but I'm hoping that she's not just being nice. That's not to say I want her to be mean, it's merely a question of me hoping that there is some deeper meaning in how she treats me.

I slept a little better last night. I only woke up shivering and soaked in sweat twice. That may sound like a lot, but it was a vast improvement from the night before. Also, although I woke about every hour or two, I still got more sleep. Things always seem better with a hot meal and a night's sleep.

I hope the rest of the day goes as well. Her and I are supposed to goChristmas shopping for the kids tonight.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

One More Chance

It's late afternoon, and I find myself falling into the "if I only had one more chance" trap. If she just gave me another chance, I'd make her see...

I wouldn't say I was/am a bad husband. I'm not husband of the year or anything, but I don't think I was bad. I mean, I suffer from the laziness common to a lot of men in the United States. I didn't clean up after myself, I didn't help with the housework, and I was generally unappreciative. It all seems so silly to me now. I'd happily do every bit of housework until the wee hours of the night if I could then crawl in bed beside her. (Men take note!)

Perhaps foolishly, I still hold out hope. It's still not too late to go back. In my heart, I'm hoping that she'll "come to her senses". After all, she is still struggling to get equilibrium with her thyroid hormone levels.

In early summer, she was diagnosed with Grave's Disease, and in concert with her Endocrinologist, we decided to pursue the radioactive iodine treatment to kill her thyroid. I hope that she'll get her thyroid levels under control (as of last week, they were extremely high), see what life is like outside our little family, and decide that it's worth it to work things out.

Maybe even more foolishly, I saw a shooting star a few days ago, and I made a wish. I think you know what I wished for. So far, no luck - but tomorrow is another day.

Blissful Numbing

I keep going over the phone conversation with my wife last night. On her way "home" from the airport, she chose these words: "We need to talk. I'm moving out."

I can't stop playing that over in my head, and each time it hurts as much as the first time. Over and over again and again she tells me. Logically, I expect I'll probably go through this until I begin to numb from it, and I no longer feel quite a profound stab in my heart at the implications. Emotionally, I wonder how long that will take...

A Daughter's Love

Mixed in with the other emotions I'm going through, is an ample dose of guilt. I feel terribly that I was not able to shelter my kids from this. True, some things are beyond my control, but I still feel responsible for any unhappiness they may have as a result.

My daughter turns 15 in about a week, and my son 13 a week after that. They are both exceptionally smart, and very empathetic. Last night, when we had to tell them their step mom (who, by the way, I've been with more than twice as long as I was with their mother, and who has also been an important figure in their lives) was moving out, it broke my heart. Unbelievably, these two kids, who clearly have their own pain to deal with, were more concerned with my well-being than anything else.

Demonstrative of this point, at about midnight last night, my daughter slipped a note into my room. It was neatly folded, and on the outside was written "Sleep well, Daddy!". The inside makes me cry every time I read it. Here's what it says:


I love you so much!!! To me, you are the bravest person in the world. Tonight is probably going to be the toughest night on you probably in your whole life, but I just want you to know that I feel your pain, too, and I will be here for you all night if you need me. You're the only person I've got to lean on. you're my only friend closer than 2,000 miles. I know things will turn out better, no matter what happens. Things couldn't get much worse than what has happened. If you're there for me, I'll be there for you. I love you! [heart]

[her nickname]

Previous Thoughts

For me, this started on a Wednesday morning almost 3 weeks ago. If I would have known ahead of time how that day was going to turn out, I would have just stayed in bed.

I shared the commute to work with my wife, and on the drive, she dropped a bomb. She told me she was starting to feel like she married too young. We discussed things, and she explained she was unhappy. It was upsetting for me, and embarassingly, I stopped and puked in a garbage can in the parking garage on my way to the office.

Continuing my bad luck, later that afternoon I was summoned by the CEO. The bottom line: much like my wife, he was unhappy too. His recourse: you're fired. (Termination is always painful, but when you're a Director in the company and making $125K, it's even more so.) What a day!

Although there are many more details, I can only write so much at a time. My hope is that the whole picture will eventually be painted, and I can fill in more detail later.

When things started getting bad, I wrote an open email to my wife. That later became more of a journel. In either case, this seems like a more appropriate venue, so I'll share it with you.

December 11th

Supposedly, writing about your feelings is supposed to help. I don't know that I'll ever work up the nerve to send this to you, but I thought that perhaps it might be beneficial for me to share my feelings with you.

I expect this may be a process of discovery for me as much as you. Sometimes when I used to write blog posts, I'd find that it helped me focus my opinions, and indeed learn a little about myself in the process.

If I do manage to send this, I'll update it as I have new things to write about. With that, I'll begin this first installment.

You may have noticed over the course of our relationship that I've been reluctant to put my feelings in writing. Admittedly, doing so now makes me a bit uncomfortable. The invariable question I expect people to have is wondering why I would be uncomfortable. It's a little difficult to answer. I think it's about the risk. In putting things in writing, I risk being ridiculed (strange though it may seem), or having my very words used against me later. I don't think you would ever hurt me with my words - at least not consciously - but the nervousness remains. I now endeaver to trust you (and perhaps myself) by attempting to verbalize the way I feel.

I know I say it frequently, but but I mean every word when I say that I love you. In fact, it's more than that. Sadly, the English language has but one word for love. They say the Eskimos have something like 30 different words for snow, yet we have only one very broad, very general term for something that can be so profound. With that in mind, it certainly appears that the challenge is articulating exactly how I feel about you with any degree of accuracy.

I am a realist. Realistically, I know that if you left me, my life would continue. It simply has to. There is no alternative -- at least not one I'd like to entertain. Emotionally, however, I cannot imagine having a life without you in it. The very thought of it makes me physically ill. I don't know if I've ever felt quite as empty and lonely as I have since we started having problems.

I want you to know that I consider you my best friend. You're someone who knows me perhaps even better than I know myself.The issues I didn't get to yet, that I still would like to write about are:
  • Taking things for granted / courting
  • Insecurity
  • Controlling nature
Maybe after I take the kids bowling tonight, I'll write some more...

(Note: my wife was out of town over night on a business trip when I wrote the next entries)

Entry 2
12/12/20062:35 AM
This was a bad night for me. One of the worst I can remember. Oddly enough, I think it was rough on me in part because of some of my undiscussed items from last time.

Right now I feel:
  • helpless
  • out of control
  • afraid
  • worried

As I contemplate these things, I'm coming to the realization that I'm probably not in the right frame of mind right now, so it would probably be better if I waited until tomorrow. It's amazing how different things can look with the benefit of a nights sleep.

I expect I'll struggle with sleep (too much on my mind), but if I set my mind to it, I'll grab some Z's and be able to talk to you in 4 and a half hours.

I love you now and forever...

2:42 AM
Here's another quick thought: Yesterday was a good day. When you called me (without prompting) and sent me email, it really made me feel loved.

2:46 AM
Another update:After getting in bed and cuddling up to your shirt, I realize you do love me. You left a small part of yourself here with me. Sure, it's only a dirty shirt, but you chose to do it, and the symbolism is striking. It means more than you could know. Thank you, honey.

Now I know why people equate passion to love. My god, I love you so much...

12/12/2006 1:40 PM
Mood: uncertain
Blood Pressure: a bit high
I've decided to turn this into more of a journal than an open letter. Maybe one day I'll look back on it and wonder what the hell I was thinking, or maybe I'll be able to look back and know exactly what I was thinking because I documented it. In either case, I'm climbing the walls, so I need to do something to get it out.

I can't seem to focus. It worries me, because I'm starting that new job tomorrow, and I know I'll have to focus. I sure hope I can.

In struggling with this, I'm realizing that I'm a fixer. Looking back, it's been a habitual problem for me. I always want to fix things. This is evident from the fact that I keep letting [my brother] borrow money, to the way I've dealt with [my first wife]. Even when my own parents divorced, I held out hope that I, the oldest son, would somehow be able to fix things and get them back the way they were. What it means to me today is that I feel like there's something that needs fixing, but I just don't know what I can do.

I feel like my life is slipping away, and that my sense of reality is a little distorted right now. Mentally, I've been replaying our marriage. The problem is that it's hard not to create a scorecard -- a checklist, as it were, for everything that is wonderful about my wife that I'm lucky to have, and I feel like I'm losing.

Individual items on my mental list aren't entirely uncommon. The sum of them in one person, however, is exceedingly rare. For example, I really want to be with someone who is smart. Now, there are a lot of smart people in the world, but is there someone who is smart, does not want children but is good with kids, is an Atheist, loves to travel, doesn't mind my corny sense of humor, has an appreciation for books, can approach life's problems seriously but still have a sense of humor, and perhaps most importantly, will love me? This far in life, I've only met one: [wife's name].

That thought terrifies me. I find myself struggling with the classic depression symptom: feeling like I'll never be happy again. Intellectually, I know this isn't true. I've had hard spots in life before, and the sun always rose the next day. Emotionally is quite another story, though. Emotionally, I feel like I just can't go on. Then I'm reminded that I don't have a choice. I have to perservere for the kids. I can't crack up (or worse) because they need me. Frankly, although I love them very much, the thought is exhausting.

The Zoloft doesn't seem to be doing its job anymore. I've been in a perpetual anxiety attack all day, even though I've taken my pill meticulously, so my levels of the medication should be what was prescribed. I may have to go see the doctor to get a higher dosage, or something else to help me through the valleys. That in itself makes me feel weak.

On that subject, I feel like I've [explitive deleted] up royally, to use the vernacular. I feel like only if I had done this, or maybe if I would have known that, everything would be okay now instead of where it is. Again, logically I tell myself that some things are beyond the realm of a man's control. Once again, logic is trumped by emotion and pain.

Sometimes, I think about giving [my wife] little hints to reassure me that she loves me and she wants to work things out. Often, I stop short because I'm so afraid of what the reality might be. I'm afraid if I press the issue, she might just say "you know what, I don't really love you anymore". Even as I write this, that thought makes me cry. But I have to be strong. I HAVE to be, because I feel like if I show too much weakness, it will be an extra burden on [wife's name] and provide yet more incentive for her to seek peace elsewhere.

I'm still holding out hope that if I can gut out the next few months, things will get better. In a sense, that helps get me through. I've often said I can take just about anything for a finite period of time. The problem here is that nothing is defined. In Philadelphia, I had a sense of when it would end. Here, I have no idea. I can only speculate and hope.

[My wife] is going back to [her home state] to visit this weekend. It's childish, but part of me hopes that it will remind her of where we came from, and make her feel like she needs/wants me. Then I'm also reminded that I get along pretty well with a lot of her family, and I wonder what will become of those relationships if she decides to leave. That makes me think about the kids again, and what this might do to them. I go back to [my 14-year-old daughter's] comment about not being able to imagine me without [wife's name], about the two of us being like Peanut Butter and Jelly. Right now, I feel more like liver and onions. (2:15 PM)