He agreed to stick with me through good times and bad, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.
I don’t think he realized it wasn’t just my sickness or my health. It was also Edgar’s.
Earlier last week we took Edgar to the vet to get his vaccines updated and to get a little check-up. We hadn’t been to the vet since last summer when he jumped out of a first story window…and then a second story one…and then ate an entire batch of oatmeal raisin cookies. We’d racked up enough frequent flyer miles for the year. And aside from a having a dog whisper visit the house, he hadn’t required much follow-up care.
While we were there, we asked the vet to examine what we thought to be a hernia. I was told the little nickel-sized protrusion on the center of his ribs was just that when I adopted Edgar. “Happens all the time. Lots of dogs get them. If it doesn’t grow and doesn’t get hard, don’t worry about it.” For two years, it neither grew nor hardened. All was well with his undercarriage.
Then, while Seth and I were away on our mini-moon and my mom watched Edgar, it got a little bigger and a little darker. Not too much cause for concern, but if we were going to be at the vet, we may as well get it checked out. So, she drew fluid. And informed us it wasn’t a hernia but, was in fact a xiphoid cyst. And still absolutely nothing to worry about. It was simply bigger and darker because he’d bruised it. Ok, cool.
My best friend, Mandy, took some of these lovely photos.
And some of the not-so-lovely ones. (Real life, what’re ya gonna do?)
My husband’s (gosh, that’s fun to say!) friend, Josh, took some too.
We are slowly but surely setting up our new life together. That includes packing up everything Edgar and I own and moving it down to the Lake to be with Seth. It’s going to take time. And patience. And lots of boxes. But, as with everything else that’s been happening around here – it’ll get done. (To offer a very quick update: in a matter of eight weeks I have started a new job, planned the wedding with Seth, then had the wedding, only to then move to Seth’s, and finally travel to Europe.) And it’ll be wonderful. Just like our wedding day.
Heartbreak is…heartbreak is… heartbreak is what, exactly?
Heartbreak is different for everyone. Different for the same person. Changing and shifting and morphing. At least, that’s how it’s been for me.
It has been painful, of course. Annoying, aggravating, cursed, unrelenting and seemingly unending. Those too. It has ebbed and flowed, ceasing altogether some days only to rear its ugly head the very next, with a force that quite literally took my breath away. It has been fleeting, flickering into my consciousness unexpectedly only to be whisked away in a moment. It has tugged gently at the edges of my memories, in those early morning minutes between sleeping and waking, when the dreams still feel real, before reality has set in and my mind and heart are still weightless, grief not weighing them down.
It has been necessary. Necessary to avoid “his side” of town. Necessary to avert my eyes when I think I spy his truck on the road. Necessary to sit in a hot, dark shower, water hitting my skin until it’s red and raw, the sounds of this song reverberating on the bathroom walls. Necessary to feel the ache in my chest, the hurt in my lungs, the catch in the back of my throat from another bout of sobs racking my entire body.
It has been strong.
I know I am stronger.
There was a time I didn’t know that, though. A time when all I could be was left. Alone. Again. I know I am not the first person to be broken up with, to be broken hearted, and I know I won’t be the last. I know there are worse things that can happen to a person, that other people have a harder time, but I’ll be damned if that means my experience and emotions hurt any less. Are worth any less.
My friend Kristen, in all her unending wisdom, equated it to a death. And as melodramatic as that sounds, as all of this has sounded thus far, something did die. A relationship is a living and breathing thing, and when it ends it leaves a void, a chasm. It dies. There were hopes and dreams and plans that ceased to exist. And for a while, I thought a part of me had gone along with them.
In truth, that’s the main reason for my silence these long, winding weeks (going on months). Sure, it was partially the new job, the juggling of a new schedule and new responsibilities, a desire to perform well and make connections with my new coworkers, impress the new boss. But, mostly, it has been heartache. Restarting my life without the person I was planning it around. Leaning into sadness and loneliness, leaning onto the pillars my family and friends have provided.
But I’ve gotten used to it. Or, at least, I’m getting used to it. That’s what we as humans do. We adjust, we carry on. Even as much as we fight and fear change, homeostasis is a biological inevitability. I have made new routines, started new traditions. I have grown comfortable falling asleep alone and waking up that way, too. I have begun filling my life, and my heart, back up. I have chosen to make changes after one was forced upon me.
That includes changes around here, too. To be more honest, more intentional, for better or for worse. I still firmly intend to share food and drink, but with less fluff, more substance. I don’t want to put up a post just for the sake of it. I want meaning. I want emotion. I want to be myself. Because, according to Kristen, who once again surprised me with a nugget of necessary wisdom, “that’s all I should ever be.”
And I am emotional. I know no other way. I have been called an open book many times – sometimes in admiration, sometimes in antipathy. My friend Danielle has expressed equal amounts of both after seeing the big, beating heart on my sleeve. She’ll probably think this post is too much info, would never do such a thing herself, but won’t ever hold it against me. Because she knows me. She loves me. So does Kristen. So does my dad. My mom. My grandma, sisters, aunts. Robin and Bunny, too. Shawn and Dawn, without a doubt. They prove there is still so much love in my life, even if I haven’t found the love of my life. Everyone who has rallied around me has shown me that, gifted me that. And I am eternally grateful.
In some small attempt to repay them for their love and kindness, their shoulders and strength, I have made treats. Efforts at returning the love so freely given to me. Cakes, cookies, pies. I know it is a small gesture, not necessarily life altering or affirming for them, that they don’t get the same buoying from a batch of biscuits that I get from a phone call back home. That their hearts aren’t as heavy, don’t need as much lifting.