Just a thought… If life can remove someone you never dreamed of losing, it can replace them with someone you never dreamed of having. [Rachel Wolchin]
We’re just about on the cusp of the first long weekend of 2022 and it just so happens that Rob and I also mark our wedding anniversary this weekend. Well, actually, “mark” might even be too strong a word for it. It falls on a holiday weekend, so we didn’t bother trying to book any time away, since every place would likely be busier than we’d prefer right now. And it’s not a milestone; next year will be 35 and if we make it ’til then, maybe we’ll do something. Who the heck knows?
I joke about us not being together and neither of us has even the slightest notion of life without the other. Okay, that’s speaking for myself because without me, Rob would play even more hockey than the four games he’s booked for this week and a lot of women would scoop him up in a heartbeat. But you see, I don’t really keep his life running the way he does mine.
Seriously, I can’t imagine going on without him. And that’s why it is so painful to sit and worry one month after my brother-in-law of 40 years walked out on my sister, saying – at 80 – he wanted to live happily the rest of his life with someone else he’d recently met. And no, he didn’t leave for a younger woman. He had one: my sister is 18 years his junior. The new partner? 80. I know age doesn’t matter, but you might have had some notion of why he left.
This one sister hasn’t worked outside the home in decades and now, in her early 60s, doesn’t have any plans to, and you get a whole lot of confusion and despair. Oh – and she lives in Mexico, where their community circle is small. So, what to do?
I’ve always shared with you the personal in our own lives without getting private, and believe me there is a line, even though I blur it every now and then, but you can imagine – actually maybe you’ve even been through it – the anguish that her sisters are feeling on her behalf. Dad doesn’t know; we fear it would confuse him terribly and he’d be paralyzed with concern when there is literally nothing he can do to help. I know the feeling.
A few weeks ago I was ready to clear my calendar, chuck my fears about Covid and get on a plane to be with her, but she decided she needed time alone to figure all of this out. The helplessness one feels so far from family – from my Dad whose gal pal is in hospital and then likely rehab now for who-knows-how-long after a fall and a resulting hip replacement, and of course from an older sister, whose motto – whether dealing with a life-threatening auto-immune disease for most of her adult life, or any of the other challenges thrown her way – has been “get over it” (softened through the years to “it’ll be fine”). Mine is “get through it” and I think that she is doing that as best she can.
I tell you this story, not to air anyone’s laundry, not to garner pity or anger on behalf of my sister – believe me, we’ve got that covered, we Coven of Davis women – but just as a reminder that those of us who are in a relationship that is solid and sometimes blessedly dull cannot for a minute take it for granted.
As a co-worker of mine once said after his ex wrote a book and their break-up was a part of it: “No one knows what’s going on in a relationship except the two people in it – and sometimes even they don’t know.” Bob was absolutely right. And when we feel helpless and don’t know what to do, as in all things, we can be grateful, offer support or, best of all, just listen. And that includes in our own partnerships.
As I say, we won’t be celebrating our anniversary per se, but we will be celebrating family in all its forms. For all the foul-ups and dust-ups, the mistakes and misunderstandings, they’re ours. And if they love us, then that makes us lucky, doesn’t it?
Have a good weekend. I’m going to take Monday off and post on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter now and then (if you care to join me). You have nearly 40 Drift episodes that are free to enjoy here – be my guest! And sweet dreams.