The ultimate no-contact

I shake the cartoonish tweeting birds out of my head and try to think straight.

“What the hell just happened??”

As if I haven’t been asking myself that for almost a year and a half now.

I speak Universe, and from my point of view it feels like the universe is bound and determined to decimate anything remotely familiar.  It giveth, yes, but it taketh away.  It took my former life, my cat, my father, and my health.

The latest?  My soon-to-be-ex.

The divorce had not yet been finalized.  In fact, there were ever more assets now, what with his court order-violation spending sprees, and I’d been gearing up to re-evaluate the lists of household and office items, when…

…I got sick first.  Not a virus, mind you, and certainly not da Rona.  No, this was different.  It was weird.  It felt like an “X-Files” episode.  Lab testing revealed abnormally shaped blood cells, which can’t grasp and carry oxygen very well.  I could move air in and out, but it’s like it didn’t “count” because I couldn’t actually grab onto the oxygen.

Over the next six weeks, I struggled to get that under control, and I was mostly successful in doing so.  Top Secret: it’s not Covid, but ivermectin helps anyway.

I’d been ready to approach him again when he got sick.  I didn’t think much of it, because even a garden-variety head cold or influenza, even milder strains, knock him down.  He can’t kick them very well.  When he catches a bug, it hangs on and on.  Something I get and subsequently get rid of in days will last a month for him.

But he does kick it eventually.  Usually there’s some kind of plateau and maybe the beginnings of a turnaround.  He only gets so severe before he levels out.

Up until this time.

A week went by, and he just kept getting worse.  That’s unusual, even for him.  I knew something was up.  The symptoms didn’t look anything like a virus, really.  He did have a dry cough, but he complained of chest pain that didn’t resemble a heart attack.  He mentioned a nauseated feeling.  It actually sounded a lot like a gallbladder attack.

That’s why I called the ambulance.  Gallbladder or appendix issues become critical medical emergencies right away.  The paramedics worked on him and loaded him into the ambulance.  I watched, as something in the back of my mind said this may be the last time I see him.

I quickly put that thought out of my mind in favor of happier thoughts.  He’d get his gallbladder or appendix out, and he’d be back to the office (and bickering with me) in a short time.

The hospitals aren’t very good about contacting loved ones and keeping them posted these days.  Rather, loved ones have to nag the hospital for status updates and other information.  Diabetic ketoacidosis, they said.

Along with viral pneumonitis.

Oh no.  My heart sank.  Yes, we were in the middle of a divorce and he was thinking and saying nasty things about me to plenty of other people, but I certainly didn’t wish him any ill will.  I was not feeling vindictive or vengeful.

In fact, I felt deep and profound regret.  I knew that by calling the ambulance, I had quite possibly sent him to his death.  Hospitals are incentivized to find Covid in patients who come in with other issues, and once that (often false-)positive test is “confirmed”, they are marched right down the Covid Trail.  And those “treatments” kill.  I would know.

A nightmare unfolded before my eyes as I helplessly witnessed his decline.  He had struggled for three weeks and one day before his sister and I made the joint decision to remove the “supports” – a ventilator on its highest settings that could not oxygenate him beyond the 50s, and some medications that artificially propped up his blood pressure.

Within 10 minutes, he passed peacefully.  I was there.  I know who and what he is, and yet I still felt the loss.  I still grieved.  I had still considered him somewhat of a friend.  Someone I’d had a long history with, at the very least.  You can’t rip that away without causing a fair amount of pain on some level.

It’s been a week tomorrow afternoon.  I leaned hard on family and friends, and even acquaintances and strangers, as my sister(-in-law, but who’s counting?) set up a CashApp address for me, to help with the astronomical bills, and other trails he left behind that I’m sure I’ll be at least partially responsible for.

Since he passed, much (if not all) of the resentment and pain I had felt simply dissipated.  It was no longer an issue.  I’m surprised by how much I talk to him, and I’m even more surprised by how therapeutic and healing that has been.  I feel I have truly let go.

Very selfishly and very pragmatically speaking, this is likely the better outcome.  I wouldn’t have wished anything bad to happen to him, and I really did try to save him the entire time he was in the hospital.  But I’ve always been one to look for silver lining; it’s always been in my nature.  And I have found that there is silver lining in nearly every situation, no matter how dark or harsh it is.

No longer am I triggered by seeing him drive by.  No longer do I have to work with him.  No longer do I have to battle with him, play the cat-and-mouse game of chicken.  I don’t have to delve into deep, dark, or twisted places to attempt to think like him in order to beat him at his own game because that’s the only way I won’t lose dearly.

Because we weren’t divorced yet and there is no legal separation in our state, the assets will go to me.  The debts may or may not.

Most importantly, I can forgive him.  Forgiveness is not about letting them off the hook, but about setting yourself free.  And I do feel free.  Even as I attempt to crawl out from under the debris and claw my way through his intricately-woven and complicated life, I am getting freer every day.

I’m struggling, for sure.  Money, of course.  I’m trying to stop hemorrhaging funds out of the very-finite account we shared and trying to direct more funds into it.  I’m still operating in the red, but I work every day to try to climb out just a little more.

The important part is that I’m learning so much I didn’t know before.  I’ve learned that he really didn’t like me very much, and hasn’t for years.  I’ve learned more pleasant lessons, too, like how to carry out various tasks around the office and do certain things myself.

I still lean hard on my inner circle, and I feel a little guilty about that.  I’m blessed that they don’t hesitate to be by my side and willing to help me with whatever I need.  I can only hope to pay that back–or pay it forward, whichever–someday.  It’s because of them that I’m not curled up in a fetal ball, overwhelmed and having succumbed to the weight and pressure and stress.  It’s because of them that I do learn new skills and I can take steps forward, even if they’re baby steps.  When I look back over the past almost-week, I realize how far I’ve come.

Days are so jam-packed that it’s hard to remember everything I did in one day.  Sometimes I work with a fuzzy brain that feels like it’s underwater, due to the blood disorder.  Other days, my head is much clearer.  On the better days, I can remember things better and keep track of the big picture and figure out where to go from there.  Executive function is important, especially when you’re steering a mammoth ship and you’ve never been taught to sail.

There’s no way around it but through it.  I will own that I’ve shirked my responsibility for All Things Adulting and allowed him to take control over everything.  I understand that my inaction led to a situation in which the way the world works had drifted far enough from what I’d known that it had become unrecognizable.  I accept that by not keeping up with “things” and by not pushing even harder to learn in the later years, I had screwed myself.

It’s time for a massive correction, kind of like what happens in the real estate or stock markets, and that’s exactly what’s going on in my life.  It’s time to learn how to stand on my own two feet for real and carry out adult functions for myself.  It’s also time to learn how to spread my wings and fly freely, without being weighted down.  And it’s time to be able to heal without being tethered.

It’s going to take time.  But I can do this. ❤


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