Sunday, February 20, 2011
When Love Isn’t Enough
Above is my “love note” that was printed in the latest issue of Lupus Now magazine.
Why the public declaration of love? Because in the dictionary, love comes before lupus. Coincidentally, it also comes before rheumatoid arthritis, too. (Lucky me!) Because I’m in love; every hour of the day, every day of the week.
But I guess that doesn’t matter now. What I intended to write here isn’t what I’m going to write, because what I was going to write about doesn’t exist anymore.
My relationship of over a year is over. And honestly, I’m as shocked as you are.
Devastated doesn’t begin to sum up the way I feel right now.
Relationships are hard. They take work. And you don’t just take what we had and throw it away, especially without so little of a coherent explanation. It just doesn’t make sense.
I remember our first date like it was yesterday, and our second, and our third, and our fourth. I remember how my head fit perfectly into the crook of his arm as we slept. I remember the way that he took care of me when I was in the hospital, how he stayed with me all night in the ER after working for 24 hours the night before.
But I’ll also never forget the look on his face when he said, “I need to talk to you.” And I’ll never forget the pain of having to pack up my stuff from his place, to exchange keys, and say goodbye. I’m nauseous just thinking about it.
Or the way he cried, too. But if doing this is so upsetting to you, why did you do it?
Right now there are too many memories. Too many unanswered questions. Just too much.
Does love conquer all?
I don’t know.
Does love heal?
I don’t know.
But I am certain that love helps, especially when you find the person who is the missing piece to your puzzle.
The thing is, I really thought that I had found that person. What’s more, I wasn’t scared anymore. Well, that’s not quite true. I did worry that at some point, sooner or later, this would all become too much for him, and he’d realize he signed on to a nightmare.
But now I’m the one in a nightmare that I wish I could wake up from. I saw myself marrying this man, and having children with him, and coping with the ups and downs of illness together. No matter what, we would get through it together, as long as we had each other.
I loved, and still do, love this man with all my heart. Together we made sense, or so I thought.
I’m scared, first, of living a life alone that was once so entwined with someone else’s. How to be single again? How not to go to his place or call him on the phone to share the events of my day? How to live with the specter of illness, as a never-ending cycle, without it mattering in intimate ways to another person? And I worry that my health, which in some ways was relatively stable while I was in this relationship, won’t stay that way.
I know that ultimately, I will survive this. That’s what I do. I survive and I soldier on. Writing helps me cope, so I’m sure I will be sharing more with you as things become clearer, although I’m not so sure they ever really will.
In, reality, illness took a backseat to love. So now I’m left with me and these illnesses, in a world that makes no sense at all. And for right now, that has to be enough.
When you look in the dictionary, love comes before lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. But there’s a single letter that comes before all three of those things: I. No matter what, I have to love myself.