Crying, rivers and streams

I used to have a husband.

I used to have a man that loved me, took care of me, put me first and who put my happiness above all else. I married this man, I loved him, I gave everything to him, I tried to make him happy and to take care of him. We made two beautiful, perfect little lives together. I was exceedingly lucky.

Our marriage wasn’t perfect, but it was ours and it worked. For a time it worked. And then it didn’t work.

He got leukemia, twice, he had two bone marrow transplants; he developed an illness called GVHD (graft versus host disease), which some transplant patients get, but he survived. He survived, but we didn’t. I don’t even know when and how it happened, our marriage died, slowly, over time, we didn’t even notice. One day everything was fine, and the next I simply can’t take the fighting any longer and I ask him to leave, for the night, for a few days, just to get a break from it all. He left, and it was a nightmare, so he came back after a week, but he never really came back. He came back and slept in another room, he shut down or off or maybe I only then started noticing. He simply didn’t love me anymore. It took me forever to understand those words. How, how can he not love me anymore? We’re supposed to love each other forever. We’re supposed to love each other more each day, not less, not stop.

It took months, months of arguing, of crying, of trying to wrap my mind around it, months of negotiating, figuring out what we were doing, months of hopes and crushed hope, months of misunderstandings, of righteous indignation and of broken hearts.

Finally in September I accepted that I could not and would not try to keep a man who loved me, yes, because we’ve been together for sixteen years and have two children, but who no longer loved me as his wife, who no longer loved me for me. And then it took two more months before he finally moved out of the house, but only half way, all his stuff is still here. And after that we still went on for months trying to figure out a new routine, trying to parent together without being together, trying to become independent from the other while maintaining a good relationship. I never threw a vase at him. I wish I had. I wish I had yelled at him, I wish I had gotten angry at him and thrown plates at his head, I’ve got so many plates. I wish I hadn’t cried quite so much.

Last week he was diagnosed with leukemia again. AGAIN. And I’ve started crying again, and I can’t stop, I literally can’t stop. I used to have a husband, now I have a man that I love, but with whom I am no longer married – on paper, I am, but in every other way that counts, I’m not – who needs me, who I can’t abandon if for no other reason that he’s the father of my children and because I can’t imagine a life without him in it, and because he is my family and I am his. And so I can’t stop crying, crying rivers and streams.

Sometimes you can’t see the mountain for all the horse shit coming at you.

I’m in a ranty mood today, just thought I’d put that out there as a warning of sorts. The past few months haven’t been bad, per say, but they certainly haven’t been anywhere near the spectrum of good. I’ve been fine and the kids have been good and we’ve been going about our daily lives quite well, thank you very much, but the Husband, well, he could justifiably complain for a while.

He had problems with his eyes all summer. The industrial amounts of cortisone and other drugs he’s been taking in the last three years since the transplant have, amongst all the other side effects, given him cataracts in both eyes. Cataracts aren’t a huge deal, young and old people get operated all the time with few adverse effects. But, for whatever reason, his eyesight, which had been giving him problems off and on for a while went on a permanent vacation in July. He had to hire a PA from one day to the next to read him emails and drive him around. He became, for all intents and purposes, blind overnight. He called his doctor and threw a fit to have the operation on the first eye in the middle of August (unheard of in Italy, where August is considered the “vacation month”). He saw the light, literally and figuratively, for less than a week and then started having problems again – I had a mini meltdown on his one and only week  of vacation because I was feeling sorry for myself as I was having to shoulder all the responsibilities on my own again (boohoo). His doctor finally realized that he still couldn’t see because he had developed an infection from the cataract operation because… oh, yeah, his immune system’s suppressed. Surprise, surprise.

To make a very long, boring, and occasionally sad, story short, the past few months have been challenging. But that’s ok. Challenging is fine, challenging is not catastrophic.

We’ve also been having a long list of problems with the money pit that has become the house renovation, aka, the worse financial investment we’ve ever made in our lives, which, incidentally, is why I’ve never mentioned it again on here.

Apparently, renovating a house is what Italians do to atone for all past, future, and hypothetical sins. I’m starting to think we’ll be sinning a lot in the next few years due to all the atoning we’re doing right now (our past sins can’t possibly justify the hellishness we’re going through with the fucking house). I’m hoping we get over hating the stupid house by the time we move into it, if that ever happens.

 

But what I really wanted to talk to you about today is my friend. Because, I swear to God, I have no idea how she hasn’t yet snapped and started randomly yelling incoherently at people in the street.

This friend of mine, she is getting divorced. Divorce is a gigantic pile of horse shit, we know that, but looking at her I’ve come to the conclusion that in Italy there is no point in divorce, better just to kill the effing asshole and be done with it.

But let me give you some background. Last year, she finds out that rat faced bastard (rfb from now on, he doesn’t even warrant capital letters) is cheating on her, so in a fit of anger she kicks him out of the house. He moves to France and shacks up with the other woman. A few months later my friend finds out that rfb has gone bankrupt, she finds out because she has people knocking at her door and calling her house at all hours demanding money. Money she doesn’t have because rfb is MIA. So she sucks it up, sells all her horses (she bred mini horses), which she loved and hoped to find some sort of financial agreement with him. His family is loaded, with a capital L, loaded and shrewd as he has nothing in his name. Between insulting her wifely abilities, telling her she should have just sucked it up cause all men have lovers, and spreading lies about her in town, her in laws helped her pay the bills (after her car got repossessed and all her utilities, including electricity, had been shut off because he went bankrupt and hadn’t paid anyone in a while). Did I mention she’s got two kids? Both of which, hurtful rumors aside, are rfb’s. So between one breakdown and the next my friend gets herself a lawyer (paid by the state, because she can’t afford one, and won’t take money from her friends many of whom offered) and tries to put her life back together.

Unfortunately, she finds herself with a (female) judge who is really misogynistic or (likely) has been bought off by her in laws that gives her the most ridiculously absurd settlement offer ever granted in all the lands and then tells her to buck up and get a job to support herself and her two – school age, not independent – children. In a country where the unemployment rate is the highest it’s been in the past thirty years and only expected to get worse. Meanwhile, rfb is living in the next country over, which isn’t allowed after filing for bankruptcy in Italy, has opened another company under someone else’s name and is merrily working again full-time as can be evidenced by his girlfriend’s new car, house, and expensive toys and clothes for his kids.

But no matter, my friend she plods along, has started working part-time and teaching English to make ends meet. Did I mention she’s not Italian? She’s British. But she doesn’t have the option of moving to England, closer to her family where she could have some help (and quite possibly a better chance of finding a job), because rfb has joint custody of the kids.

But why am I sharing this tedious story? Because my friend, she came over tonight to catch up on the past couple of weeks, during which time she’s had to have her eight-year old dog, who she loves dearly, operated on (again), and has had herself several visits with her own doctor, as she hadn’t been feeling well lately. Her doctor tactfully (and I’m totally being sarcastic here) informed her that her thyroid is quite enlarged and along with the other symptoms she’s having, quite likely she has throat cancer.

Fantastic. Just fanfuckingtastic. Because, really, with the year she’s had what other news could she possibly have expected?

I’m in a really raving bad mood tonight, because life, it can be wonderful, but lately it really seems like a gigantic pile of shit. And the worse of it is that my friend, she sat there and told me this laughing and joking because the truth is if she cried I don’t think she’d be able to stop. And that just breaks my heart.