When night falls on me, I’ll not close my eyes (car accident PTSD-PSA)

August 27, 2005

I can sum it up in one sentence — my life changed forever.  It was one day, one decision, one mistake.  I got in that car.  By rights, I should never have done it.  I had my own car, but why waste the gas when I could catch a ride with my mother?  She’d drive me back later.  Except I never went back later.  I ended my evening with a trip to Hartford Hospital on LifeStar.  The hours, minutes, seconds of that evening are a blur.  There are moments, lost in time, that I’ll never get back.  Most of them are moments I never want to have back.

To nearly die is such a surreal thing.  At the time, in my head, there was never any question that I was going to live.  There was never even a second where I was lying there and thought “I might not live through this.”  It took me half an hour just to wrap my brain around what had happened to me.   The first time I remember realizing what had happened to me — “I was just in a really bad car accident” — was when I was being carried off the helicopter and into the emergency room.  Before that, I mostly felt heavy.  Tired.  Searing pain on the right side of my body.  I didn’t even realize until a few days later that my face was messed-up.  I didn’t even notice the pain in my cheekbone, near my right eye.  My biggest terror, the only one I voiced, was when they were prying the door from out of my side, and I thought that I was paralyzed because I couldn’t move.  As soon as I knew I wasn’t, I calmed down a bit.  I didn’t realize how bad the accident was until my aunt, coming to visit me in the hospital after taking my mom to sign over her totaled car, said to me “I think you’re lucky to be alive.”  Or, until months later, when I saw the photos of the car itself.  What was left of it.

A lot of people thought that the worst part was the injuries, the hospital visit, the rehabilitation, the physical therapy.  And I’m not going to lie and say those things didn’t suck.  They did.  A lot.  I would never, ever want to go back and revisit those moments of my life.  But the hardest part came after I got better.  When I was home again, in my apartment, and everything was the same, except for in my head.

Me – Autumn 2005, two months after the accident.  If you look carefully, you can see a little bit of “road burn” from the crash in my right cheek, hidden by my hair.

Car accidents aren’t usually the first thing that someone thinks of when they hear the words “post-traumatic stress disorder”.  Most of the time, we think of veterans hitting the deck, or rape victims, or those who were horribly abused in childhood.  But 10% of motor vehicle accident survivors will be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after the fact — and that is only the number of people who seek a diagnosis.  Motor vehicle-related PTSD may effect anywhere from 3.5 to 7 million people in the United States.  It is more prevalent in our country than we may be aware.

I can speak only for myself.  I spent three years in hell.  From 2005 to 2008, my life went off the rails.  I couldn’t sleep.  I couldn’t eat.  I had days where I would walk to my door, to try and leave my apartment, and I would go into a panic attack just reaching for the doorknob.  I stayed up too late.  I drank more than I should have.  I tried to pretend that it didn’t bother me.  I refused to seek counseling.  I refused to get medicated.  I insisted I could handle everything — a full time job and graduate school.  I got fired from one job and laid off from another.  My GPA tanked.  Worst of all — I lost who I was.  I couldn’t shake the feeling that the person I had been, before August 27, 2005, died in that car.  The EMTs pulled out an entirely different person, and I didn’t know how to find myself again.

Over the last five years, I’ve clawed my way out.  It was not easy.  I am not proud of the person that I had become.  It was an uphill climb, with several steps back before I could step forward.  I had to drop out of school.  I had to go through four different brands of pills before I hit on the one that was right for me.  I had to concede and commit to counseling.  More than anything, I had to really self-reflect, to look at the person I had become since the car accident, and say that yes, it was different; no, it couldn’t be the same.  But it could be better.  I could be better.  I just had to accept that I maybe couldn’t do it on my own.

I don’t view it as a personal victory.  It wasn’t about winning or losing; it was about salvation.  I couldn’t go on the way I lived from 2005-2008.  I was losing every piece of myself, everything that made me a likeable person, a good friend, a loving daughter, a caring sister.  There was only one way my life was going if I continued on that path.  It took me three years to figure out that this wasn’t the way I wanted to be.  I had to take back my life.

Now, eight years later, I can look back and say that I am certainly not perfect.  I am probably not where I would have been, if I had decided not to get in that car that Saturday evening.  But I can look in the mirror and say, I’ve got this.  I’ve been through it, and I handled it, and now I’m doing okay.  I wish that I could have become somebody that I liked, without those three years of disorder and chaos, but…that’s not how the world works sometimes.

If there was anything that I could say that is good from all of this, it’s…yes.  It sucks.  It hurts.  But you can get through it.  You can pick up the pieces and be who you were again.  Get help.  Put your pride in your pocket if need be.  Your health is more important.  Your life is more important.  Your relationships with your family and friends are more important.  It’s going to be tough, and yes, sometimes, it is going to hurt.  But God, once you get over the hump, once you get to the top of the mountain and you can look down and see how far you’ve climbed…the view is truly spectacular.  

And it’s all worth it.  Every second.

Me today – Summer 2013. First day of my last year of grad school.

 

The following link is a great resource for people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder of any kind:  Helpguide.org.

 

 

Fall to pieces

I reread some of my old blog today.  Posts from last summer, from our first “separation” that lasted all of five days.  We moved back in together, not because we realized that we were making a mistake, but because he got caught doing something he shouldn’t, and he wanted me to forget about it…and because I had a complete nervous breakdown and couldn’t handle it.  Or didn’t want to.  Whichever.

Rereading those entries really drove two points home to me.  The first being that we’re making the right decision, because being put through the wringer like that by someone you love is unacceptable, and should never be acceptable.  And the second being that I am afraid — really afraid — of falling to pieces again like that.

Of course, the chances that this will happen are slim, and I have to keep reminding myself of that.

1. The “divorce” has already happened.
Nothing is going to change except that, by law, David and I won’t be husband and wife anymore.  This has already happened.  We live in separate apartments.  Our finances are separated.  We have no bills together — except our cell phone bill, which we retain until January so we don’t have to pay an astronomical fee for breaking our contract.  The only time we encounter each other, really, is in our social strata. 

2. I’ve been mentally preparing myself for this for months.
Separaion #1, in July of 2012, was something that occurred after three months of talking about separating.  I hadn’t prepared myself for it at all.  In this case, I first brought up “I want a divorce” in September of 2012.  It has been nine months since then.  Everyone knows about it, nobody is going to be shocked (I think — although I did just run into someone from church who hadn’t known), and I’ve had time to think about it and wrap my brain around it for quite some time.

3. Nothing is going to change.
Except my name.  I won’t be “Megan B.” anymore.  I’ll be “Megan F.” again.  That’s…it.  Everything else that is going to change, already has.

I’m not going to fall to pieces.  I’m not going to let myself fall to pieces.

I’m in a sort of depressive funk right now, but it won’t last forever.  And I’m wondering if that’s more because of this horrible dreading of anticipation.  That we’re only a week and a half away.

I just can’t wait for this all to go away.  And then I’ll be okay again.

Even if the sky is falling down

I am…not in a good place today.  And I couldn’t tell you why.  I got home yesterday feeling low, and it hasn’t improve one bit since then.  If anything, it’s gotten worse.

I mentioned in my last entry that, while I was at Wildfire, my hair caught fire when I was doing a trick with my fire staff.  I brushed it off as “no  big deal” and at the time, it really wasn’t.  One of my friends said “I don’t understand how setting yourself on fire is ‘no big deal’.”  But I really wasn’t trying to be cavalier.  It just…didn’t upset me as badly as I had thought.  Well, karma had it in for me, because on Saturday night, I really did catch on fire, and it was not good.

I was spinning fire staff at a friend’s house.  My safety was my friend Drea.  The treeline at my friends’ apartment is low, and I didn’t properly “spin off” the excess fuel on my staff before beginning.  During a trick, I accidentally brushed the wick of my staff against my shirt.  And my shirt went up in flames.  Drea, who hadn’t been safetying long, saw the flames and froze.  I tried to brush them off but I only succeeded in making a bad situation worse.  With nothing left to do, I threw the staff aside in order to “stop, drop, and roll”, like we’re taught when we’re little kids.  Until age 29, last Saturday night, I’ve never once had to do that.  But it was instinctive, and it worked — sort of.  There were still a couple of live flames on my shirt when I hit the ground, and those were quickly beat out by a couple of my friends.

Unbelievably, I wasn’t burned.  My left side was slightly singed, but the pain stopped after a couple of hours.  I’m very fortunate.

I have been feeling off ever since this happened.  There are so many stupid, ridiculous, painful feelings right now.  Something that usually makes me feel so powerful, so happy, so free, is frightening to me.  That primary rule “respect the flames” — I feel like I only thought that I did, but I wasn’t taking it seriously enough.  How could I have been, to have screwed up so badly?  I’m lucky I wasn’t severely hurt.  I’m embarrassed that I screwed up, and so badly, in front of my friends, most of whom are much more experienced than I am.  It’s also two times I’ve set myself on fire in two weeks.  The first time was no big deal — a lot of people screw up tricks and hit themselves with their wicks, especially when learning.  The second was a stupid, stupid mistake — an incomplete spin-off that left an excess of fuel on my staff, which transferred to my body and set me alight — that could have easily been avoided.

I don’t know why it is hitting me so hard lately, but I feel like an overwhelming failure.  Which is a complete 180 from where I was a couple of weeks ago.  Back then I was feeling powerful, strong, smart, talented.  Now I feel…empty.  Useless.  Weak.  A failure.

There aren’t too many lower points that I’ve hit, than lying on the ground, crying from fear and pain while my soon-to-be-ex husband frantically beats the flames out of my shirt.

 

 

In any case.  I’m fine.  Everyone’s fine.  I’m just…not where I was a couple of weeks ago.  The path my life has taken in the last eighteen months has been very “two steps forward, one step back”, and sometimes…I’m just not in a good place.  Like right now.  I hate that, but it is what it is.

The good thing about the low points is knowing that — like the high points — they’re not forever.  Life is a series of ups and downs.  I am out of the horrible darkness I was in a year ago.  I am not quite where I want to be, but I’m in a better place than I was.

 

And when the darkness begins to lift once more…I will spin again.

You have to set yourself on fire

The last few weeks have been a roller-coaster, and of course, the ride isn’t over yet.  I am putting the finishing touches to the edits on my prospectus…and it’s a nightmare.  The fear of not being good enough is all-consuming.  Worse, there’s a depression that’s hung over me since the move.  It’s not the apartment (I love it), it’s not my roommate (she’s wonderful).  It’s just that I put way too much pressure on the move, too much emphasis on thinking that once I moved, I wouldn’t hurt anymore.  Surprise!  Not the case.  If anything, I think I may have felt worse, because the move, with the due date for three major papers just behind it, combined with the choice timing of some douchebaggery from David, spiraled me into a very bad place over the weekend, and I’m still struggling to crawl out of that, and get back to where I was before.

Depression, stress, anxiety, and way too many tears, combined with work pressures (I’ve had to go into work on a weekend two weeks in a row) and some overwhelmingly bad nightmares, and the result most days is…this:

Sometimes, I just want to give up.  My life took an abrupt turn for the worst on September 26, 2011.  It has been twenty months since then.  And twenty months is a fucking LONG-ASS time to be sad a majority of the time.  Sometimes I get so damn frustrated with myself.  Why are you not over this yet?  Why is this divorce still bothering you?  Why can’t you move the fuck on and stop living in the past?  Why do these things still make you sad?

It has the combined effect of making me irrationally angry.  At myself.

But you know, I looked back in my blog a few months, to the entry dated January 29th, 2013, entitled “Death of All Dreams.”  And I read back to those words that I wrote, pre-filing, pre-moving, pre-…everything I’ve done since January:

There before me, on a funeral pyre, are all the dreams I had for myself, all the unfulfilled promise that we had when we met, aged 23 and 24, so ridiculously in love, ready to embark on this great journey of life.  We were going to be different.  I know that nobody goes into a marriage planning on divorcing.  From day one, we said that divorce was not an option.  And then…it was.

They lie there, on this mythological pyre, so many memories and dreams and plans.  I turn them over in my hands before putting them back down…

And although he has stripped the memories, the dreams, the hopes, even the love, bare, and laid them on the pyre, I haven’t been able to set the pile alight.  Because you see, he won’t.  He won’t do it.  Only I can do it.  Because he never will.

He left them there and walked away, he thinks I can never bring myself to end what I never wanted to end.  To light all of those dreams on fire, watch them melt and run together and evaporate into thin air.

He doesn’t realize that once they are burned, once they are gone forever, once I give them up…I can start dreaming again.  I can hope again.

I just have to find a way to strike the match.

Lord, help me find a way to strike the match.

 

And sometimes it seems like I haven’t come so far.  But when I look back on there…I did find my way.  I filed.  I moved.  I struck the match and burned it to the ground.  The only way that I could move on was by burning the past, and I did it.  I did it.  I burned it.  It’s still burning.  There’s no sense staring back and trying to reach in to salvage the pieces as they catch and burn.  I’ll only hurt myself.  Even if I pull them from the wreckage…they’re still charred, they’re still gone.  No sense in looking back.  Burn it.  Burn it all.

And then, when it’s over…it’s over.  And you can begin again.

When there’s nothing left to burn…you have to set yourself on fire.

Longing for the other side

Oh chickies, I don’t know how much effort I can put in to writing about the weekend but suffice to say it was a blast and I’d love to do it again, but not right away, because driving through New Jersey sucks (I hate it now for more reasons than just the Jets) and staying up until 3:30 AM drinking wine the night before you have to drive six and a half hours home is a poor life decision I’d rather not revisit.  But it was amazing just the same.

Pictures as promised!

All of us at lunch.  Can you see me?

Samantha, Nicki (my driving partner), me, and Nichole (who let us crash at her apartment over the weekend):

One of my favorite pictures from the weekend…back at Nichole’s house later that night (after a few glasses of wine).  Nichole, Morgan, me, with Nicki on our laps and Nichole and her husband Tom’s roommate Calvin photobombing:

It was an absolutely amazing weekend, but let me tell you, the driving part hurts, and I’ll be very, very happy to never, ever drive through the state of New Jersey again.  New Jersey sucks.  (Sorry to anyone who may be reading this who is from New Jersey)

Aaaand this is the week where anyone who knows me, knows that I go absolutely batshit insane.  It’s Holy Week, the week of Easter, the busiest week in our calendar, and this is the sixth time I’ve gone through it.  For some reason I’m always in less than tip-top shape the Monday of Holy Week.  In 2011 I fell off my bicycle in a nasty road accident the Friday beforehand, and came in Monday still hopped up on pain pills and sore as hell.  Last year I was sick.  Today, I’m just exhausted.  Tack on going to the courthouse (again) this afternoon and then counseling with DS and I am just…shot.

 

Sometimes I feel a little…bipolar? shall we say?  Split?  I have days when I think What a relief it is that I no longer have to worry about what D is doing, who he is talking to, if our marriage is going to end, etc.  And then there are days (like last night) where I cry and I think I just can’t do it, I can’t go through with this, I can’t be strong, I can’t get a divorce, it hurts too much, God, just don’t let it happen to me.  There are days, still, days nobody sees or hears about, when I lock the door to my apartment and I curl into a little ball, clutching my extra pillow against me as hard as I can, sobbing and repeating over and over again, “I don’t want to hurt anymore,”

And then I straighten up, and I dry my tears, and I come back to myself, out of the hole of my anxiety and terror, and I move on with my life.

There are two quotes that I keep to myself, during times like these.  One of them is from Andrew Lloyd Webber, from years ago, and the other is one I just read, the other day, from a friend of mine’s blog.

“Bad moments come, but they go.
Some days are fine, some a little bit harder.
But that doesn’t mean we should give up our dream.
Have you ever seen me defeated?
Don’t you forget what I’ve been through, and yet
I’m still standing.”

– Evita

“Five years ago, I remember casting desperate pleas to my future self; months away, years away, decades… I just wanted to release some kind of gossamer thread into the yawning abyss and feel my future self ripple back some reassurance that I was going to be okay.
That it wasn’t going to be dark forever.
That I would heal.
That it would get better.

Right here & right now, I’m grabbing the other end of that gossamer thread and rippling back that yes, darling—
yes, it’s going to get bright again, even brighter than you could ever dream.
Yes, you are going to heal.
Yes, it is going to get better, and at times, you’ll feel such a fierce gratitude for how much better than you’re not sure you have the capacity to hold it all—
but, of course, you will.

&, yes, above all things,
it going to be absolutely worth it.”

I am not

I hate to write “downer” entries, but this blog is called “Honestly, Megan”, and I can’t always be 100% optimistic.  I am not feeling well today.  Part of that is due to staying up until almost 1 AM watching the Oscars.

Part of it is because D told MIL yesterday that he wants a divorce…and then told me on the phone how truly miserable he is.  All this time I’ve been telling myself how happy he is, how much he wanted this, when in reality, it’s not that he wanted it, it’s because he was too scared to do anything except step aside and let this marriage fall to pieces.

Part of it is because I look back on the last two years and see a beautiful relationship that imploded, and it just hurts, it hurts to see every hope and dream we ever had in shambles, damaged and irreparable.

Part of it is because I am so tired that it truly hurts.

Part of it is because I am tired of crying, and I’m even more tired of people telling me that I am foolish for crying, foolish for hurting.  I hate that certain people act like I have to put on a happy face all the time, because sometimes, I am anything but happy.  Sometimes I need to grieve.  Sometimes I need to hurt, and shunting my feelings under the rug?  Doesn’t help.

I am sorry that my crying and my pain and my grief is offensive to people.  I am sorry if people think I am better than that, and in reality, I am not.  That I am tough and strong and I DGAF that my marriage fell apart, that the man I love changed into a completely different person, that even though so many have told me that this isn’t my fault, I still feel responsible because we were each other’s responsibility and I never realized that something was really this wrong until it was too late.

I’m sorry that people don’t want to see the mess left behind.  They want me to feel nothing.  They want me to be stronger, and I’m not.  I’m just me.  Honestly Megan.  Just me.

And even though it’s just one more nail in the coffin, and a nail I’d been expecting, I can’t pretend that it doesn’t hurt like hell when it goes in.

This is not going to be an easy ride.  You can get off it at any time.  I can’t.  I am in this until the end.  It’s started, I can’t stop it, and I only have two choices.  Ride it out, and pray that there’s something good at the end.  Or throw myself out and die.  I can’t do the latter, so it has to be the former.  I’m sorry if the ride is longer than you thought it would be.  It’s much, much longer than I expected, myself.

But I have no choice, I have to ride it out.  Ride or die.

If you can’t handle me at my worst, then you can go.  This is unfortunately as good as it’s going to get right now.  I can’t promise that it will get better soon, but I can promise that it will get better.  I just don’t know when.

Right now, it just hurts.  And I need to grieve.  I don’t mean shut myself in my room, I am not doing that.  I am not sitting here mourning all the time.  But I am going to break down and cry.  I am going to be sad.  I am not going to be gleeful as my soon to be ex husband falls apart.  I can’t sit and calmly talk about severing the marriage that we so lovingly built up.  I can’t think about seeing my MIL for the last time, of never seeing my IL’s again, and not tear up.

I am not made of stone.  And I can’t apologize for that.

Frederick William Elwell – The Wedding Dress, 1911

Depression

I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder and PTSD back in 2008 (well, PTSD in 2006, anxiety disorder in 2008, if we’re being fair).  I have never experienced depression.  I mean, we all have our moments.  But I’ve never had five days where I’ve just cried, and cried, and been lethargic, and done nothing, feeling broken and unable to pick the pieces up again.

So much has happened in the last few days that I just…can’t comprehend.  The short story is that, after a slew of really painful incidents last Wednesday – Friday, I hit a point where I just stopped.  it was like a piece of my brain broke, and I couldn’t get it under control again.  And where I’ve cried probably buckets of tears since September 2011…I probably cried the equivalent of that just between Wednesday, February 13, and Sunday, February 17.  Generally over the past year, I’ve been okay when I’ve been around other people.  That isn’t the case anymore.  I cry anywhere, any time, and it’s…inconvenient, to say the least.  Embarrassing, to say the most.

But the worst comes after dark.  When I’m alone in my apartment, and the thoughts that used to eat me alive when I was a teenager come back. 

I am a bad person.  I must be.
Things like this don’t happen to good people.
If I was a good person, my husband wouldn’t have cheated on me.
My friend wouldn’t have lied to me.
My boss wouldn’t have yelled at me today.

My parents wouldn’t be disappointed in me.
If I was a good person, these things wouldn’t happen to me.

I don’t feel strong anymore.  I don’t feel sure anymore.  And if you get all psychological, this is just one more step on the Kubler-Ross grief scale, and I was going to get here eventually.  But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck, every minute I go through it, every day.

I’ve tried slogging through it, pushing through, thinking to myself I am better than this, I will not let myself fall apart.  But in the end, it just prolongs the inevitable.  And I get more upset with myself for falling apart, when it does.

I am afraid to go to my friends, or my family.  I am afraid of being judged or being a burden on anyone.  I cry all the time, and I pick the skin from my fingers (I didn’t realize until this morning that this is a thing that people do when they’re anxious or depressed, I figured it was just something that I did that was fucked-up), and after months and months of pushing through and being strong and being okay, I’m on a downward spiral that just goes nowhere, ends nowhere.

The one person who promised he’d stick by me and be there for me regardless of anything, isn’t there anymore.  Doesn’t want to be here, doesn’t love me or care about me.

I’ve known this since April 2012.  You’d think I’d be over it by now.  I thought I’d be over it by now.

But I’m not.  And I hate that I’m not.

Ommmmmmm

Today I am a mess.  I realized last night that D’s stupid car payments are still coming out of my bank account, and when I called him to try and rectify the situation, he ignored my phone call and has thus far ignored my texts, except for one excuse saying he could put the money in my PayPal account (I don’t have one), and refusing to respond to any other forms of communication.  I’m not sure where he is, or who he’s with, but I definitely have my suspicions, and I’m betting they are right.  They usually are.

This resulted in a massive panic attack last night, another one today…and today I hurt.

It’s not even because it’s Valentine’s Day (though I could definitely live without the hearts and happy little sentiments on FB all day), and I’m “single.”  If anything, it’s because I just can’t believe sometimes that the person I fell in love with, the man I married, the human being I thought I knew so well, could turn out to be this selfish, this cruel.

How could my judgment have been so poor?

There’s nothing I can do about it now.  I can’t get that $148 back until he deigns to contact me.  I’m seeing Crazy Bruce in about an hour, so that’s…something.  I’m going to my friend Jess’s tonight for “Valentine’s Day” and I made chocolate almond gooey cakes for it.

Nothing to do for now, except say “Ommmmmm” and try to relax.  No sense in worrying about what can’t  be fixed.

There was a bright spot in the last 48 hours.  When I went to D’s yesterday (we’ll skip over how incredibly sketchy he was being about having “things to do” — probably getting ready to go where I think he is right now), I was going through my old nightstand and I found a box of junk jewelry.  It fell open and the contents rained out, and out fell my undergrad class ring, which had been missing for about two years.

My white gold, mother-of-pearl, Salve Regina University class of ’05 ring.  I was so, so happy.  I thought it was gone for good.

(The more astute among you will notice that I’m wearing it on my left hand.  It doesn’t fit on my right ring finger anymore, and I figured today, after the events of last night and this morning, was as good a day as any to stop wearing my wedding band.)

Send help

Guys.  Send help.  Seriously, I feel like I’m drowning in my own mediocrity this week.

Plan was to go to the gym on Wednesday and Friday.  Wednesday did not happen.  Friday is still up in the air.

I haven’t gotten more than about four hours of sleep a night.  None of that is uninterrupted.  I sleep like garbage.  I tried to remedy that by using Law and Order SVU to sleep by (surprisingly, this usually works).  It’s not working right now.

Due to to the financial burdens of separating, my bank account is…sad.  We’ll say sad.  Savings is good, checking blows, D’s car payments this month came out of my bank account instead of his, and though I AM going to get that money back, you can’t get blood from a stone, as they say, and D now owes me $300 for this month.  Super.

Oh, grad school?  BAHAHAHAHAHA.  I am about halfway finished with The Behemoth.  As for reading for my other class…not even close.  I emailed the two Civil War historians on campus, per my thesis adviser’s orders…and they haven’t responded.  Thanks, guys.

I vacillate between “I am okay with getting divorced, this is going to be a new start”, terror about the idea of dating, feeling sick over the idea of divorce, and freaking out because this was not supposed to happen.

Hopefully I’ll be feeling better tomorrow.

Death of all dreams

We’ve been separated now for two months.  There is a reason why we’re not divorced yet, and that reason is twofold.  1) Because as much as D wants to be single and live by himself, he is not ready to fully take responsibility for his actions.  And 2) because I’ve been deluding myself the entire time, hoping that his reluctance to proceed heralded him rethinking this, that maybe he would undo what had been broken, and maybe — just maybe — we didn’t have to do this.

That’s not true.

I cried last night (this is nothing new, I cry all the damn time).  I cried because everyone is right; certainly, he is dragging his feet, but I am not forcing him to face up to what he has done, what he has destroyed.  I am not facing up to what he has destroyed.  There before me, on a funeral pyre, are all the dreams I had for myself, all the unfulfilled promise that we had when we met, aged 23 and 24, so ridiculously in love, ready to embark on this great journey of life.  We were going to be different.  I know that nobody goes into a marriage planning on divorcing.  From day one, we said that divorce was not an option.  And then…it was.

They lie there, on this mythological pyre, so many memories and dreams and plans.  I turn them over in my hands before putting them back down.

Lazy summer days at Hampton Beach, watching the sun go down, laughing at chubby-legged infants being bounced in and out of the waves by their proud parents, imagining bringing our own chubby baby with brown curly hair here someday.

The way he would languidly grab my waist when I tried to get out of bed on Saturdays, dragging me back in, begging for just ten more minutes of cuddling before we actually had to get up and face the day.

That wonderful afternoon we spent at the reservoir in Lawrence, rolling down the green sloping hill, throwing new fallen autumn leaves at each other, kissing, always kissing.  I never imagined a day when those kisses would stop coming.  I never knew they had a finite end, that within five years I would not be able to coax a kiss from him again.

The future — the dreams we had.  The house in Wakefield, Massachusetts, with a finished basement and an office for me.  Children, a boy and a girl, hopefully, that we would send to private school, that I would teach to ice skate, that he would play catch with.  A husky puppy.  Growing old together, just like his grandparents, two people in mutual love forever.

All of that changed the day he texted me at work, the day he told me he felt nothing for me anymore.  It’s been a year and a half, almost.  And although he has stripped the memories, the dreams, the hopes, even the love, bare, and laid them on the pyre, I haven’t been able to set the pile alight.  Because you see, he won’t.  He won’t do it.  Only I can do it.  Because he never will.

He left them there and walked away, he thinks I can never bring myself to end what I never wanted to end.  To light all of those dreams on fire, watch them melt and run together and evaporate into thin air.

He doesn’t realize that once they are burned, once they are gone forever, once I give them up…I can start dreaming again.  I can hope again.

I just have to find a way to strike the match.

Lord, help me find a way to strike the match.