Our Story Begins:
Falling Out of Love
I fell out of love with my wife. There, I said it.
We didn’t get a divorce, we didn’t separate, she didn’t cheat on me, it just happened. I came to the realization just the other day.
How, you might ask, did I fall out of love with this woman when she died almost three years ago?
It came in phases. It came out of necessity. It came after she was gone.
First was the agony that comes with loss. I have four children, all of them with pieces of her showing. Every piece reminded me of her and it hurt all the more.
In the beginning, after I was able to stand on my own again, the tendency was to erect a pedestal. It was tall, beautiful, carved with amazing intentions. The cornice was decorated by the romantic story of our beginning and the beautiful smile and the insane attraction we had for each other. My children would laugh all at once and I’d hear her laughter in the timbre of their voices. I ached for the presence and affection again. Not any affection, but her affection.
Then came a year where, almost in reaction to the kids’ focus on what was missing, I started to chip away at the ornate dado and base. Sure she was an amazing decorator . . . but she never actually did the decorating, she had me do it. The kids’ school projects were brilliant, but she never finished them, I did. She knew calling me “Davie” drove me nuts and did it anyway! She was stiff, angry, wanted her way, wanted instant gratification on everything. When our daughter wanted to be an actress Andrea insisted – nay! Demanded! – that she go into a medical field.
To the kids I would never belittle her. But when my daughter would talk about “Mom’s beautiful smile,” I’d comment that Andrea hated photographs of herself. When my son would talk about the beautiful Christmas ornaments I’d state that Andrea wouldn’t let us use their homemade ornaments, she always had a “theme” and we couldn’t stray from it. They’d ask about dinner and I’d inform them that their Mom hardly ever cooked. It was bringing the statue just a little farther down to earth.
The need to ensure my kids didn’t put her on that same pedestal forced me to realize that I’d toppled it down, cracking the idol placed upon it.
It didn’t crumble, the kids never stopped loving their mother. But it was clear I was pushing her away so I would.
Then this week I put a silly post on Facebook:
“Maybe you’re just not into the “hip” trends of 2014,” one college friend of Andrea’s posted.
Without thinking, no malice, I replied with a deep affection in my memory:
“I was never actually ‘hip’ but if Andrea taught me anything it’s that sweatpants are good for post-party hangovers but certainly not for going out. I mean, really? I have on my ‘dress sweats?!”
It was then I suddenly realized I was laughing, Andrea’s blue eyes sparkling in my mind’s eye. The mundane, the day-to-day, survival mode took over and remembering what got me here – got us here – had slipped to a dark corner of my memory. I hadn’t fallen out of love, I had pushed her back in an effort to think of her without hurting so much.
I don’t pine for a touch or toss and turn because the bed’s empty any more. I miss her, but I don’t ache for her. Sure, there are harder days, some worse than others. It took this long to understand that’s okay.
I fell out of love with my wife. Then this week…I fell back in.
What about you? Do you miss someone? Did adjusting without a spouse or boyfriend, all of that create a hard time for you and your kids? What are your thoughts?