The letter that should be sent but will never reach him. As I sit in my living room with my faithful friend, who is also my cat I am caught up in a moment of gratitude and grief. As my girl rests peacefully beside me gently purring, I am anxious and somewhat uneasy. I cannot determine the exact reason. Maybe because it is Christmastime and so many changes have occurred? Perhaps because I don't fully recognize this new place as "home?" The decorations are unfamiliar and unknown as they are all pretty new to me besides the ornaments which were my mother's pride. Beautifully lit tree in the corner with multi-colored lights illuminates my living room. A few gifts for my children sit, waiting to be opened. I feel a wave of nausea as I recall Christmas time from years before and my eyes sting. My chest feels tight, and my throat aches. The crying jag will soon be upon me, and I welcome the release, but I'm disappointed that I'll allow this pain to visit me once again. What I've learned over the last several years is that I must feel what is happening in the moment. Putting off this pain serves no purpose whatsoever and yet, I've avoided dealing with this pain for almost three days now. Why? Why do I avoid feeling? I think this comes from wanting answers more than anything. I still ache for him, and I wonder if I ever cross his mind? Especially during the holidays.

There are questions I have that will never be answered. I assume this is the unfortunate reality of ending a marriage, a family, a friendship and the severing of heartstrings. The irony of this situation is that none of that is really "gone" or even "severed," instead, those feelings are lingering. They linger in the darkest places of my mind and my heart. They stay silent and shut down until I have to open the box and let them out into the light to be acknowledged and that pains me. These are the ups and downs I've read about and thought I would be different in that this pain wouldn't visit me personally? The disconnect I wanted so badly for years isn't working and never has, but that hasn't stopped me from trying like hell to avoid. Avoidance doesn't work. Avoiding the realities of life isn't helpful or conducive to my healing.

At least this time I can recognize what is happening. Identifying the pain is an improvement compared to the past. In the past, I would be caught off guard, and I would surrender myself to the pain in ways that were unhealthy and sometimes dangerous. So for growth purposes, I'm grateful I know what I feel even if I don't know how to cope just yet. Early in my separation and divorce I would simply devour a bottle of wine and wake the next day feeling "better" and felt as if I had dodged a bullet of sorts. The truth of the matter is that I didn't dodge anything. I merely used alcohol to avoid feeling anything. Good or bad, I didn't want to feel, and I needed something to subdue the pain, the realities, and the anger. The issues were ever present and demanded to be dealt with in a way that was healthy. I still have these moments. I still wish I could medicate this reality sometimes. I sometimes close my eyes and dream of my old life and long for him again. I don't know why I do this because the truth is that I wouldn't allow myself to return to him or that relationship. Too much has happened. Too many manipulations. Too many lies and too much pain. I would rather suffer ( and I do ) than return. Don't get me wrong: He isn't asking me to return either. I think I've forgotten the sound of his voice. The last time I heard his voice was during our mediation for divorce and it was full of venom and hatred. Hatred for me, for the attorneys, for a million other reasons, but it was vile. So vile in fact it turned my stomach. I vomited from feeling his hatred for me. I remember leaving the room and entering the ladies restroom, and I lost it in there, without regard to anyone else in the room. I just let myself be sick. That was the first and last time I've ever had a physical reaction to anger. I think it was because the man I had loved for over 20 years no longer appeared to be the man I once knew. It was as if I were in a panic to escape what I was experiencing.

When you love so deeply, you are putting your soul on the line in many ways. I did. I thought that is how you love someone. I believed it was the way to surrender to love. I gave every part of me as a human being to him. I shouldn't be surprised that regaining myself is going to hurt and will require more than I once thought. It appears it will take a good long while and many evenings like tonight. It will require my honesty and acknowledgment of pain. This loss is no different than when my parents died. I had to acknowledge every part of that loss, and over time I felt stronger and eventually learned that I could smile and even laugh thinking of them. I could once again feel the warmth of what love I was awarded by my parents. Do people who divorce return to that too? Will I wake up one day and smile while remembering times past? Will I giggle when I think of our funny times? Will I sigh a sigh of gratitude for the life we use to have even if for my children? Will there ever come a day that I think of him and feel happy to have had that marriage and love? I want answers in the worst kind of way. I want that love again, and I know that is crazy thinking. Why would I want to settle for someone who is unable to love me in return? Where and how can I learn to value myself again?

In closing, I have found that my journaling is my escape route. It is how I face what is happening. I write daily now. I share what I think may help other people (here) and I sometimes need to be read or heard. There is no one I share. No one. I don't have a friend to talk to about this because my friends are the supportive "you don't need that asshole" kind of friends. I realize they love me, support me and are doing what they feel is needed, but sometimes I need to let it out and say "I still love him. Please tell me I won't love him forever." Please, I beg you or the universe to release me from the past.

As my new way: I finish whatever I am writing with something to be happy or grateful. My children will be with me Saturday night, and it is the first time in two years. Or maybe three. Hell, I don't have a sense of time, but I'm happy about that. I'm nervous about Saturday night because I feel I MUST keep myself emotionally together for my children. I need to be stronger during this time if just in front of them. I am healthy and active, my body doesn't ache, and I have friends who care about me. I have my mind which is still in decent working order. I have my goals for my ongoing education which allows me to focus on my future. I have healthy outlets today. I will survive this. I will be stronger. I am valuable to me today. I will hurt tonight. I will cry, and I will face whatever needs to be faced, and I will do it and move on from this pain. One day I hope to go back and read all my writings and smile and feel a sense of pride. However, tonight, tonight I will work on the emotion of the season, and I will face the loss of was my life. I will plan a new life and trust that I will be happy again. One day. Just hold on.