I still have a few of his ties and his tuxedo. They represent my reluctance to finally sever what is left of remembering him at his best. I used to say ‘remembering when he loved me’. The way he could smile and melt my heart, the wonderful evenings when we dressed and went out for the night, the fun he could be and the way he could make me laugh. He would court me, romance me back, win me over with his charm and lightness. They are difficult images to reconcile with the arguments, the humiliations, the sheer cruelty in the painful way he cut me down to my core of my being, and now I am beginning to feel and process what I could not have functioned with then; the terror.
For a long time I have wanted to believe he loved me the best he could. Not a love I’d ever want again, but I held it was all he had to give. It is yet another mourning to know his grand professions of love, even in his final goodbye, were only words and had no real meaning; another deception, something he gave or took away; wielded like a gift he bestowed as he appointed himself the sole judge of whether and when I deserved it.
I have been slow to acknowledge that if he was genuinely capable of feeling the love he professed this blog would not exist. I have held he loved me despite all the proof otherwise, as to let go is to accept my love was poured into a bottomless well and it was only my own love reflecting back as I looked down into it.
It is spring and I see lovers everywhere. Young and old, new relationships and time tested, awkward and innocent, trusting and comfortable, in an easy natural togetherness. As a voyeur looking in I observe, watching and waiting, realizing I am lonesome and longing to learn again what they already intrinsically know.
In my quest for freedom from this curse, I realize I do not remember how to receive love. I do not understand what it is, how it works. It was convoluted and twisted for so long I am uncertain I can let it in, to be loved. I sit with the uncomfortable questions of whether I am able to fully trust again.
I know women who have gone on to have wonderful meaningful relationships after abuse, so it is certainly possible. On the outside it seems so seamless but I realize that there is much work to do. Truly, there is no birth without pain, no reward without effort to be able to return to an emotional level that is healthy enough to be vulnerable and open to that level of emotional intimacy.
I fail, I fall, I forge ahead. I hope.
“Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me. See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone….His conversation is sweetness itself, he is altogether lovable. Such is my love, such is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.” Song of Songs