On Winter Solstice last year, I received a voicemail that let me know that at least one of the folks on the other end of this family-of-affinity divorce had become aware of my decision in this matter. I wondered at the time if any thought had been given by her to what day it was. Scenes from the Winter Solstice celebrations we’d once shared flickered through my mind. All the hurt I’d been laboring through in earlier writings here and in what seemed like every other moment of my days flared fiercely. And I very purposefully set it aside. There were holiday traditions to observe. Presents to be enjoyed. Rat kings to see defeated.
In the months since, that every-other-moment thing hasn’t faded. I’ve written several pieces trying to work through this and published none of them because I want to be done. To borrow a cliche, I want to close this painful chapter in my life and move forward. As I observed in those unpublished writings, I expect this hurt will keep me company all my days. I hope, though, to get to a place where it’s not every-other-moment. Where I no longer wake too many mornings from nightmares about it. Where I no longer flinch at each photo, memory, association, song on the radio . . .
And then a few days ago, I got another voicemail letting me know that another of the folks involved thought I shouldn’t be done. And again with the flaring hurt. And again with the memories. And still with the every-other-moment. And more writing that won’t be published.
I want there to be a way out of this. My brain does that special thing that it does and follows the jagged loops of this situation around and around trying to find a way out. My ideal way out, though, is beyond my control. I cannot make people learn what they don’t want to learn. I cannot make people act in ways they don’t want to act. And years of experience make clear that this is not desired learning; this is not wanted action, this thing that I am needing.
So, I am doing what I can do. I am removing myself from relationships that hurt and exhaust me. Though brimming with blessings I count on the daily, my life of late has also brimmed with stressors – hell, sometimes they’re even the same things. And after over two decades of chronic illness, I am clear on my spoon count. I can’t sustain my presence in these relationships in their current states any longer. I cannot.
And perhaps more importantly, I will not.
If any of ya’ll read this, know that I wish you each and all well, and I’ll always miss the good bits terribly.