It is not "fair" that those young babies died, that cancer even exists, that mean people have more and better stuff than nice ones, that your family is nicer than mine, that disease and alcoholism and seizures and cavities exist. Fair is crap. Stop talking about it. It just messes up everyone who tries to fight for it. Fight for honesty, happiness, compassion, kindness, justice, harmony...those things make sense. Life is not a bowl of cherries- it's a bowl of crap cake. But you can see and feel and smell and experience all sorts of beautiful, amazing, fun, thought provoking, loving, mind blowing things while soaking in the crap bowl. You just can't ever get out of it. Neither can anyone else, though. Even those people that seem to have better and more stuff, the girl or guy of their dreams, the more supportive family...we are all living in our own crap cake bowl.
And this is where I start wondering about Right and Wrong and Good and Bad. There are certain things I think are just bad: murder and rape, for example. Definitely bad. Cancer. Bad. Death camps and Nazi's- bad. But I think of a friend whose husband cheated on her. And I used to think about how awful that was. But I never liked her husband, not even back when they were just dating. I kept my opinion to myself because they seemed okay. But I don't know, now, how to judge if it was right or wrong that they got married in the first place- they have a beautiful child together and that child wouldn't exist if they hadn't gotten together. So I think about if it was good or bad, right or wrong that he cheated and they divorced. He didn't treat her that well, was often demeaning, and now, she has a guy that seems fantastic. So, really, wouldn't it have been more wrong for them to stay together? Even my parents splitting up- if that hadn't happened, I wouldn't have my awesome sister...so how could their divorce have been wrong? Or bad? Even with all the pain it caused. It's all just too intertwined.
I feel like the only thing that matters is helping to ease someone's journey here. But how do you decide who needs more help? What if, in trying to ease one person's pain and sorrow, you hurt another person? Was it wrong to try to help in the first place? I just think it is too complicated to judge. At least some of the time. Perhaps more often than we would like to admit. It's like the tattoo on my back:
I chose this symbol mostly because of the duality within it...the warning against "back biting", which I usually describe as "betrayal", but the simultaneous need for forgiveness...if you do something to someone else in malice, with the intent to hurt or break or ruin, that is different than if you are doing something that feels right to you, that gives you hope and lifts you up, but hurts someone else by accident. Recognizing that is hard, but important. I feel like there were ways in which John hurt me, but there was never ever a time when he intended anything but love. I worry that as I feel the desire in my heart to move on, people around me won't understand, to varying degrees...I will feel like I am betraying him, our love, our marriage, our kids. But I know that isn't true. And when I think about dating, at 40 years old (this December, baby!), I think about the guys that are out there...do I even want to date someone who has never been married, been single this long? Do I want someone divorced? What if they cheated and that is what broke their marriage? Is it true, once a cheater always a cheater? Do I want a widower? Someone who knows the pain of loss; losing the story you had hoped would be and needing to build another?
Not looking for love is not an option. John and I talked about that. He was NOT happy with the idea at first. And then we had my counselor here and I told him that never dating after he is gone would mean that I would basically have to choose the path my grandmother and mother traversed. Both were divorced at moderately young ages, and neither ever dated again. Ever. My parents were divorced when I was six. My mom died when I was pregnant with Aiden. I remember, perhaps in high school, her saying that she hadn't had sex in so long, she was a virgin again. TMI, I know, but that was how my mom rolled with me...what can I say? I told John that if that is what he wanted, I would do it, for him. Then I held my breath, silently begging him to understand. He paused, frowned, and sighed his release...no. He told me he did not want that for me.
But here is the difficulty: no matter who comes next, if time and space could be bent to allow it, I would always choose John. Because to not choose him is like saying I am glad the cancer took him. Which will NEVER be true. For eight million reasons. So how do I expect someone to love me and embrace me, when there is this part of my heart that will always be John's? Who actually has a heart big enough to do that? And wouldn't committing to that person, knowing that John is and will always be my first choice, isn't that wrong? And of course, there is the horrible thought that intrudes, saying that maybe I will find someone better...someone who dances, who likes Thai food, that let's me talk more...But how can they be better, even with those things, than the guy who hid my keys. We fought and I was ready to leave, but couldn't. He had hidden my keys. He taught me how to face those scary things, talk about them, and end up cuddling and kissing. I had never done that. He was the only one who could have gotten me there. You can't get better than that.
And yet, I have to try. Because that is moving forward. And I want to. And I know I shouldn't worry about the nature of that need, because it is what it is...but how can that be right? Even though I know it's not wrong.