This holiday weekend was a bit odd this year at my house. My first ex-husband (there have been two) Driver brought his seven year old daughter up to spend the weekend with Dj. Driver is Dj’s biological father, but Chef raised him since he was in diapers. We haven’t seen nor heard much from Driver all these years, so being around him was….different. Dj and his little half-sister, Faith, adore each other, so of course, she was invited to come hang with her brother any time she wanted. Frankly, it was refreshing to have a little kid around, asking billions of questions, watching children’s movies, and catching ourselves whenever we let a bad word slip. I really liked that part. I didn’t enjoy being in the presence of her father as much. I walked away from Driver. I had reasons, but I could have handled it all better, and I botched it bad enough to hurt him. I hate that. It is even worse when 25 years later, he still seems very hurt by it. Not bitter. Hurt. That sucks big time. Bitterness is easy to deflect for me; just plain wounded but willing to forgive easily and quickly…. unbearably hard for me to deal with.
I was married to Chef over 20 years, but only briefly married to Driver. It goes without saying, I simply never really got to know much about him. We were very young,
and very different all that time ago, and any mention of the subject of my brief marriage to Driver instantly makes me uncomfortable. He was very familiar at times, which made me freak just a little. Chef is the person I think of as my husband; evidently, Driver has always continued to see me as his wife. It was not an experience I can repeat any time soon.
Right after Driver and Faith left, I found myself drawn to Chef’s. I can’t really explain why. We aren’t reconciling. I just felt like seeing the man who I feel married to, instead of the one who still feels married to me. Talk about timing. I haven’t seen or spoken to Chef is some time. When I got there, I was surprised and saddened that he has been dealing with a health issue, making plans to leave the state, and desperately trying to move on with what is left of his life.
Chef is going blind.
He has been battling cancer for awhile now, but there is something more tragic about him losing his eyesight. My own inability to make this problem go away, or even to just share the burden with him, like we used to do, made me feel physically sick. I listened, comforted, and held him as he cried for all of the mistakes, and the losses he’s suffered, and the fear of the future that now has the added horror of being experienced shrouded in the dark. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, especially Chef. He’s moving away, leaving behind the broken dreams, which includes me, and hoping to find some happiness for whatever time he has left. I beg the Lord to give him exactly that. I can’t give Chef what I don’t have anymore, but I have forgiven him, and I have no desire to see him suffer. I guess this is what real forgiveness feels like. I’m surprised that this hurts me, and I am ashamed to admit, I kind of wish the numb indifference, or even the rage were still with me, because they seemed to shelter me from giving a shit.
I spent the weekend visiting my past. I see how different I am through Driver’s eyes, and I’m glad for a lot of the changes in me. Like pretty much everyone else, I was an idiot when I was 20. It is always a relief to find out you outgrew some of your worst traits. I felt sad for Driver’s wounds I caused, but Chef’s pain was so much worse. I sat looking at this hot mess I’ve loved for so long, and I silently acknowledged yet again, yes. Knowing how awful the ending would hurt me, I would have loved him all the same. He was worth it. I don’t regret him, and clearly, I will always love him.
It was an exhausting trip down memory lane, but I think a cleansing one. Maybe I celebrated my own kind of declaration of independence this weekend. I have made peace with my past, and I declare independence from the guilt, regret, and anything else negative that has been simmering in my heart all these years. That time is over, and there is plenty of things I wish I could have done differently, but I didn’t. I own the consequences, and they’ve incorporated themselves into the really good parts of my life too. I can’t truly say I’m sorry about any of them anymore, so I don’t plan to again. I like how my life played out…the good as well as the bad.
My Christian friends, please pray for Chef. This is terrifying for anyone, but he is alone going through this, and that is so much worse. Thank you.