House Beautiful

Tag Archive for 'heartbreak'

Page 3 of 3

I Loved. I Lost.

With great love comes the possibility of great loss.  We’ve talked a lot these past few months about hugging your parents, because we’re at the age where they can start to go unexpectedly.  I’ve seen it happen too many times this year to count.  We’ve talked about holding the people you love dear and squeezing them extra tight, because life can change on a dime.  In the blink of an eye.  In a New York minute.

…And has it ever.

I am the girl who waited it out.  I held out through my 20’s and through millions of bridesmaid dresses.  I held out through all the inappropriate “are you a lesbian?” and “when are you going to settle down already?” questions, and smiled, and said, “whenever I find the right person!”  I met dozens of genuinely wonderful dudes, but never really went past a 2nd date because I knew myself well enough to know – in my gut – none of them were right for me.  My New Year’s Resolution one year was even to try to give people a chance…  that didn’t last long.  I always got that feeling I call “the quease” when I was hanging out with the wrong guy – and everyone was the wrong guy.  After awhile, I resolved that maybe not everybody gets to have everything.  I was already so lucky – I had an amazing family, more than my share of amazing friends, and a completely blessed life…  maybe I just didn’t get to have the kind of love I wanted.  That was how I rationalized it.  I was perfectly happy being on my own.

Then – about 2 years ago – I met him.  Our chemistry was instant – we’re talking trumpets, fireworks, and 4th graders playing footsie under the table.  After the longest and best 1st date ever, I felt like I’d known him for 10 years.  After being together 2 weeks, I felt like I’d known him forever, but just hadn’t met him until then.  He felt like home.  He was wonderful, sweet, attentive, brutally upfront and honest about himself and his flaws, and all we did was laugh.  And hold hands.  Everything all of a sudden made sense, and I thought, “No wonder.  THIS is why I waited so long.  Thank God I held out, because in the end I got to find my other half.”

We were each others’ match, and everyone who knew us knew it.  We quickly moved in together.  Did holidays together.  Lived in a house full of love and hilarity.  We were a team.  He kissed me every morning when we woke up, told me he loved me, then went downstairs to make me coffee.  We took walks together.  We danced in the kitchen.  We made idiots of ourselves on every dance floor from New York to Mexico. He always reached for my hand first.  In fact, I would be hard-pressed to find many moments when my hand wasn’t in his.  We supported each other.  We sang each others’ praises.  We rooted for each other.  We traveled together.  People thought we were nuts, and we did not care.  He challenged me, and I challenged him.  He always took my hand and put it over his heart.  He left me sweet notes written on paper towels with Sharpies.

He bear-hugged and totally disarmed my grizzly bear of a Dad the first time they met.  We used to say that we knew we really loved each other because we would gladly wipe each others’ asses.  He liked to have his feet held, which I found totally weird and impossibly endearing.  For 600 nights, I fell asleep next to him, and for 600 mornings, he bear-hugged me in our kitchen. He made me laugh – saying things like, “when you wake up in the morning, you look like the kind of person who sniffs glue” and telling the cable lady that if she took away our Hallmark channel, he’d be sleeping in the street. We rarely fought… but when we did, we were better for it afterward.  We made each other better people.  We threw great parties.  We planned for the future, and we planned to grow old together.

Everyone who knew him pulled me aside and told me they’d never seen him happier… that he was calmer, settled… more patient. Everyone I knew said the same about me.  Sure – we had our share of issues, like anyone else – but it was a happy, happy life.  There was not one single day that I didn’t know how lucky we were, or that I woke up next to this man and took him for granted.  Not one day.  He was far from perfect, but I loved him – good, bad, ugly, baggage, all of it – and every day that we spent together I was filled with joy and gratitude, because I knew that what we had was something next-to-no-one is ever lucky enough to find.  I knew that whatever else happened, I got to come home to him at the end of the day, and that would make everything alright.  He was my family.  This was the person I loved and trusted more than anyone in the entire world.

Hindsight is 20/20, and I know now that there were warning signs, but I didn’t just want see any of them.  I thought I could love him through them.

In the blink of an eye, my life has turned upside down.  A switch flipped and everything spiraled out of control, without much of a plausible explanation.  I came home to an empty house, and it feels like someone died in here.  It feels like he was never really here to begin with, and that our life together never really happened.  I’ve heard of this kind of thing happening to people, but I never, ever, in a million years thought it could happen to us.  I’ve heard it said before that sometimes all the love in the world just isn’t enough, but I never really believed that to be true…  I thought it conquered all things.  Now I know that truer words have never been spoken, and that is the one of the cruelest possible realities to be faced with.  I feel like my guts have been wrenched out.  I am shattered.

The wound is still open and raw, and I don’t have all the answers, but I do know this: Whatever happens in the end, I will be fine.  I know it will have been for the best.  It doesn’t mean I won’t wake up every day for the next year or so and still struggle to remember where he went and what happened to our life together, but I know I loved as hard and as balls-to-the-wall as I knew how. I gave someone my entire heart and soul, and I know now that I have more capacity for love than I thought possible, and that I had the capacity to love someone enough to always see the best in them and to always put them first… that’s the way it’s supposed to be, and I’d never done that before.  No one could’ve predicted that anything like this could have happened, and while I want to feel like a fool, I just don’t.  I regret nothing, and in the end, I know I gave it everything I had.  Today I am in hell, and I’m sure I will be for some time.  And I may never understand what happened, but the 600 days we spent together were the best, the brightest and the happiest of my life, and I cannot regret that.  I also have to be so grateful for the amazing kindness I’ve been shown in the wake of this horrific, surreal ordeal:  friends who have force-fed me spaghetti, let me live on their couches, spooned me to sleep, and booked tickets to rush to my side without so much as a second thought.  The best Gus, ever, who knows something’s up and hasn’t eased off my lap in a week.  Parents who have more empathy and insight than I really ever thought possible.  And after all this, I know I’ll be a better human because of all those people. And no matter how things shake out, I know that I deserve to get the kind of love that I gave. They say there’s a silver lining in everything, and I guess that’s mine.

This too shall pass…  right?

Fall 2016:  Hi Guys!  Me again.  The above post was written almost 3 years ago; my decision to put that much raw material out into the world is now – as I look back – questionable, and was no doubt a knee jerk reaction to the most traumatizing thing that had ever happened at that point in my life. I logged onto our blog today to take it down, because I’ve been so far removed from it for such a long time that the feelings I had at the time scarcely even register; almost like being another person on the outside looking in. But… from what I understand, all that hoopla up there helped a lot of folks in one way or another, which was a thread of silver lining in the whole mess. So if there’s a chance it might help anyone else who stumbles upon it, then perhaps it’s best to leave it up. It’s foreign to me now but it is also one of a few experiences in my life that shaped me the most, and for that I am very grateful – no matter how horrifying it was at the time. I remember not being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and not understanding why/how any of it was happening… after that post was written, I quit a job I wasn’t happy with, left a place I didn’t love living in, threw Gus in the Uhaul and caution to the wind, and moved to California (where I had always dreamed of living) to pursue a career in Interior Design (which I had always, ALWAYS dreamed of doing). It was the single most invigorating and terrifying thing I have ever done. And it didn’t get better overnight – the sting of that loss stung for a long while – but I swear… one day I woke up living this technicolor, breezy existence in a little beach town, realized I was surrounded by a crop of the most salt-of-the-earth friends, felt sunshine on my face every day, and most days bounce between my favorite hot yoga class, the fish taco stand, and fabric showrooms. Because after a year and a half working for someone else, I started my own company, and I have never been happier. I feel like I’m EXACTLY where I’m supposed to be, and I could’ve never seen it then, but the universe had a bigger plan.