Time again is paused as I sit in the stillness of the morning trying desperately to unravel the tsunami of emotion that swells up within me, threatening to drown everything I once knew, once loved. He comes today for the final time to collect his personal belongings ... this man who is my husband, or at least the stranger he has become. I know he will look the same as he steps through the door of our once-home, he will maybe even reach out to hug, lurching me from one reality to another and for a moment making everything seem normal again. Yet at the same time, his eyes will roam the hallway, the rooms into which he leads while I follow, seeking things he needs for his new nest in London, things essential to him, items he does not want to leave behind. In the end, it all comes down, for him, to possessions rather than those things that money cannot buy ... the sweet caress of a kiss, the touching, holding, folding of arms, nestling close to someone you know you love and trust as a comfort, a strength, those unexpected moments, the friendship, the support, the soulmate-ship, a partnership that once fitted together like two pieces of a puzzle joined as One.
To be told all this had ended in an email that swam in on the tide of ether one Sunday morning in July, churning up my emotions as I read it with such dread, was to bring about a breakdown. I collapsed. Somehow, since then, I have existed literally moment by moment, unable to think beyond. One part of me remains shocked that something like this could ever happen. Another part of me an ocean of tears. While the greater part feels betrayed, grieving for everything I believed in and the one who is leaving me behind, like a piece of discarded rubbish no longer worthy.
What did I do wrong?
Why would he abandon me in this way?
When a contract took him to London, I remained in our home in the North, asking why I couldn't travel with him as I'd done before. Writing is something you can do anywhere, with a laptop. We'd done it in Warwickshire. Why not London? But then, the expense, yes, I could see that. City prices for two rather than one. It made logical sense. But a three day contract went into five days, leaving me stranded with things I couldn't do in the house as I'm disabled. He'd come late Friday evening ... no more in the mood to celebrate his homecoming with a meal out. Tired, exhausted from driving. Saturday was spent in a fury of activity catching up on shopping, mowing the grass and jobs, before he was back in the car Sunday morning, driving in the fast lane back to London. It was as if he couldn't wait to get away ... and yet I'd waited all week for this, to simply be with the one I loved. One weekend he told me the contract would be 2-3 years. They'd offered him a flat to save costs. Okay, maybe I could be in the flat and we could re-establish quality time ... but then no, that wasn't in his equation! Suddenly, alarm bells were sounding, and swiftly there followed the email, cutting me off, drawing a line.
The flat was in truth a house. He was happy in London ... the buzz of the City, Tubes, travel, people. This was a whole new Empire inviting him to be a part. He thrived on the stress, the manic insane push and shove of it all, everyone focused on their own places to be, eyes locked on mobiles and i-phones. His email which tore my world apart had pushed out 'blame items' such as not being able to cope any more with my disability and past abuse issues, as if all this was somehow my fault. And yes, I took it to heart. Blamed myself. Must be something somehow I was doing wrong. Never mind I was dressed up ready for his homecoming, there must be something I was missing. But then, the first time I saw him since my birthday on 4 July, following the email on 19th, when I tried to talk, to draw out his feelings, to make some kind of sense of what was happening around me, feeling so helpless and out of control, there were other words overtaking the last, echoing in and through and around me ... he had been 'falling out of love with me'. 'Falling' implied a way back. It implied choice. A crossroads in his life. Wasn't our marriage worth saving? Didn't the time we had shared count for anything? And Love ... where did Love fit into all of this? That precious, most treasured gift of all, made up of so many qualities which couldn't simply be washed away on a tide of new proposals and energies and dreams of his own making. Surely couples who truly love one another talk and share, and keep on talking and sharing to work at resolving any problems, any issues that come between them? So why hadn't he done so the moment he realised he was 'falling out of love with me'? I'd sat faithfully waiting, waiting, always waiting, wondering when he would ever be able to spare quality time to bring back specialness and laughter into the love we once shared.
'Are you leaving me for another woman?'
The obvious question to ask.
But the answer was a firm negative. Could I believe him?
Time moved on. Now I am having to accept more and more that, once he knew he was falling out of love with me, and London beckoned, he began putting out for a replacement. Man on the Town! Never mind he was married with a woman who loved him waiting blissfully ignorant for him at home. It was the call of the wild. The call of a hunter already in the excitement of the chase. He felt free to make new choices, new pathways for the future. What was there to hold him back? Who could possibly stop the adrenalin flowing through when there were new pastures to explore?
It's the saddest tale of lost love. Yes, there is a deep-rooted anger throbbing inside me. I could have gone the way of other women who have been traded in for a new model and shredded his shirts, tossed his clothing out into the driveway, slung his possessions in a heap as a statement of defiance, a visual display of the way he was rubbishing me and that precious gift of love I offered so freely.
But I love him.
I can't simply switch off that love in the same instant he switched off his for me.
Besides, I have always taken the alternative path. This journey I am presently on is fraught with mixed messages and danger. Often I slip and fall. My emotions keep boomeranging back to me. Often I feel I'm living 'Groundhog Day' and the pain is incredible and deep ... so deep I simply don't want to be here any more.
What keeps me going?
The veterans of RAF 100 Group is the straight answer to that!
Brave heroes one and all, they send me the most amazing messages of support and strength and love. They telephone me from New Zealand and the States and Australia. These people saw war at first hand, a very secret war, fighting the enemy by identifying and jamming their radar, Guardian Angels in the skies watching over the bombers, working one-to-one with the Resistance, and so much more. They have lived at the sharp end of life and their words inspire me to live another moment of another day.
To love and to be loved is the most precious gift of all.
To lose the one you love most in all the world, someone who is so much more than a husband, but a best friend, a partner, a soulmate, is to lose a part of oneself.
And it hurts like crazy! Nights are filled with dread, an aching awful weight sinking into my stomach, plunging me into waves of panic attacks which, on waking, remain with me through the day. I'm sick. I can't eat or sleep. The pain takes over. I am awash with tears. Yet somehow I am still here. My world is black and white, the colour washed out a while ago.
And today, he is coming for the last time to collect his personal belongings. The moment he walks back out that door to his car and vrooms away up the road, my world will tilt and turn and crash, pushing me off the edge into the abyss of despair.
Pray for me, World.
Every single one of you who has someone close, someone to turn to, someone who means something special, reach out right now and take their hand, or write them a love letter, share your feelings, let them know you love them, you care, you are there for them ... always ... even to the ends of Time.