Loneliness and alone-ness.
That’s what she told me to write about tonight for a blog challenge. I have some of the best, most remarkable women in my life and they yank on my heart strings if I don’t keep a close eye on them. I am such a sucker for a girl-learns-to-thrive-after-prince-leaves-with-the-help kind of story and with all of this thriving she’s done, I sort of let my guard down.
Nothing she throws at me now could ever beat the heartbreak I felt when Loneliness and Alone-ness’s husband left, in part because I remember every single time I heard someone tell her that “they were perfect”. She would smile that appreciative smile and remind them that nothing is perfect, but I could see that dark cloud roll through her eyes. It haunted her… as if compliments like that are numbered and even without knowing the magic number, she knew she was one well-meaning admiration closer to the end of… well, everything.
At least it feels like the end of everything when the one you love wants out of what you understood to be a lifetime commitment. It is crushing. It almost killed me when it happened to me… but then it didn’t; and Loneliness and Alone-ness was a big part of the reason I survived. She listened while I cried, obsessed, and raged. She helped me, tolerated me, and loved me. She kept me company when I was desperately lonely. She celebrated with me (many years later) when I made peace with being alone. (Then, there was my second wedding she tried to keep me from having… but that is a blog for some other day.)
Then her world fell apart… and it was a dramatic unfolding, long and elaborate, one for the record books, complete with gems like “she’s my soul mate” and “I just don’t love you anymore, not sure I ever did.” You know, the shit people say when their hormones/demons/unresolved childhood issues have them by the balls (or ovaries, whichever the case may be). I think it’s tragic for anyone to go through that, but it was especially hard to watch because she did it… perfectly.
She went to therapy, alone and together (although that was like being alone because he was just banking away all of the therapist’s ideas to help him in the relationship with his soul mate), cried and yelled and prayed and even laughed. She did “the work” in true rock star form, not because divorce perfection was what anyone expected of her, but because she realized she’d built an entire world around being his wife… and she was desperate to find herself in the rubble of all that had fallen down around her. It was like watching a woman go from black and white to color, and the paintbrush was in her hand. Through the devastation, somehow she came to life.
It seems impossible that she could possibly have gotten from me even a fraction of what I received from her during this same period much earlier in our friendship, although I bet she would say that wasn’t so. She is a remarkable woman with many friends and had lots of support during this time, and sometimes I wondered if I was there for her enough… Loneliness and Alone-ness told me that it was me she always called when she was ready to hear the truth. She knows me so well.
For example, at my house we say: If you can have her, you can have her. It was adapted, of course, for my straight friend: If you can have him, you can have him. Yes it’s funny, but it is also the truth. If my beloved can be taken, then you might as well have her/him because they are no use to me. Her husband was absolutely of no use to her, and while she went through the righteously courageous process of finding that out… I stood here and watched, and tried to resist hitting him with my car.
I don’t know much about this loneliness and alone-ness that you speak of, dear sweet friend, but I know you. I know that you are beautiful and loving, generous and funny, courageous and strong. I know you can follow a recipe like nobody else. I know you are a good, good mama. I know you can make magic on that piano, and that you have the voice of an angel. I know you are an inspiration to me and to many other women. I know you are a gift from God (yes, I said God with a big G… as in Christmas tree, because this is for YOU).
And if being alone means being with you, I think you are… a very lucky woman to get to keep such great company! I love you. Thank you for being my friend for all these years and for giving me something so beautiful to write about tonight.
Photo credit: Mitya Kuznetsov via flickr