It’s another sleepless night. I could sleep OK when I stayed with Lisa on the weekend, but now that I’m back home, sleep is alluding me again. I wander around the house late at night like a lost soul waiting until I’m so tired I can’t help but sleep.
Along with Ron’s dark moods, something else started to become a problem which grew worse and worse. Ron started drinking more and more. He played darts and started coming home drunk. He didn’t drive, he always got a ride with someone else, but when he came home, he was often in a very dark and ugly mood. I began to dread those nights. He was never violent in any way – I never was afraid of that. I knew instinctively he would never hurt me, but some nights the things he said hurt just as much.
Much of this time is a blur. I don’t remember a lot of it and I don’t want to try. During this time my mother passed away. It wasn’t a surprise, she had been quite ill, but still, it was a real blow. I really began to see two Ron’s, the good Ron and the bad Ron. I continued to blame myself for his ‘moods’ and I added his drinking to the mix too. My self esteem really began to take a tumble. I know that’s become almost a buzz word – but that’s the best way I can put it.
When Ryan was in grade 2, I went back to work. It was great where I worked. It was a grocery store right across the street from the school the boys went to. I had the great comfort of knowing I was near them if any emergency ever came up. On top of that, I worked a lot of afternoons and evenings so that either Ron or I were always home with the boys. I hoped that by working, I could get some of what I had lost by staying home back again – that sense of contributing – but I was too far gone and Ron’s problems continued. The pattern I’d set of blaming myself continued and I became more and more unhappy. In the meantime I also lost my dad. This was a much harder loss and I took it very hard.
I knew in the back of my mind I couldn’t continue to live the way we had been living. It took a few more years before I reached the stage where enough was enough and I couldn’t live with him anymore the way things were. I secretly made plans to leave. Finally the day came when I moved out. If I had to live my life over again, I would have done things so much differently than I did; I did a lot of damage to my relationship with Ryan who was always very close to his dad when Ron began coaching him in baseball. Only now, years later, is it beginning to heal. I had been trying to tell Ron for years how unhappy I was but either I didn’t say it loud enough or he wasn’t listening. I got his attention for sure by moving out though. Part of me was very, very angry with him that it took such a drastic move. The first thing I did was cut my hair short. He had always liked it longer so by cutting it short, it made a statement. I waited a couple of days until we had a discussion about what I had done. I told him that I didn’t like who I had become; an angry woman mad at him 80% of the time and longing for what we used to have the rest of the time. I told him I wanted a year apart so we could try and work things out. He was shocked and hurt but he agreed. After I told how we first met and put the pictures up, I think it was Tara who said we were babies when we got married. That is exactly what we were. We got married too young and we got married to soon. Never, in all the years since I had first met him, did I regret marrying him, not once! But we should have waited longer. During that year apart, we dated (each other) and rediscovered what we had lost over the years. We got the 'spark' back again and we talked to each other like we hadn’t done in years. But the biggest thing to happen was that Ron began to open up to me. He told me that the black moods he had over the years actually had nothing to do with me. He suffered from depression. Wow. You have no idea how much that meant to me, first off that he would finally tell me and second that it wasn’t something I had done wrong all those times. He was horrified when he realized how much I blamed myself for them. In addition to the depression, he often also suffered from panic attacks that really frightened him. He hadn’t really looked into what they were and didn’t know exactly what they were or how many other people suffered from them too. He said the drinking helped with the panic attacks, kept them from overtaking him. While he loved coaching baseball, it was extremely difficult for him to do. So much of why he was the way he was I could now understand. It took an extreme amount of courage on his part to tell me all this. He agreed that his drinking had got out of control and he really wanted to stop. I convinced him to see a doctor and to start taking medication instead of alcohol. As the year apart came to an end I had to ask myself some very serious questions before I agreed to move back. Had I gained enough strength, that even if he didn’t change, could I handle it? Yes. Did I still love him? Absolutely! Would I be happier with him in my life? Without question.
So, I moved back. He didn’t have the black moods anymore. Sure, he would still get in moods sometimes. I know that depression isn’t something that just goes away, but they weren’t nearly with the severity of what they had been. And he stopped drinking altogether. He eventually started drinking again, but it wasn’t an issue at all. He never got drunk. We were happier than we had been in years.
At this point it would be nice to say our problems were all over. Unfortunately they weren’t.
Although the black moods had almost disappeared and the drinking was no longer an issue, he still began withdrawing more and more from the rest of the world. But now the real problem wasn’t him, it was me. I don’t know how to put it really, but I couldn’t relax. I was terrified that things would go downhill again. I was constantly waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop and things began to deteriorate between us again. I wanted to go to marriage counseling. He flat out refused. We had been once before years ago, before I left him, and it was mostly unsuccessful. He had become a very private person except with me and he wasn’t about to open himself up and talk to someone about our (my) problems. I gave him an ultimatum. I made an appointment and said either he go or I would leave and this time it would be for good. He said he wasn’t going. The appointment was for after work, the location was close to where I was working. By this time, I had finished working at the grocery store, gone back to school, got a diploma in computers and was working in an office downtown. I headed to the appointment, thinking I would be asking advice on how to end a marriage I really didn’t want to end, when I was in the car and saw him crossing the street, headed to the appointment. It was at that moment I had an epiphany. I suddenly realized something about this man. He loved me so much that he was willing to do the most difficult thing in the world for him to do because it was important to me. I knew at that moment that no matter what happened, we would be OK, that the love he felt for me, and I for him, was boundless and that we would stay together – no matter what happened. He wasn’t one to tell me very often that he loved me. That bothered me since I had no problems telling him I loved him. But he proved it beyond a shadow of a doubt to me when I saw him across the street. We went for a few sessions as a couple – that’s all we needed, but I continued on for a while longer. This was a few years ago now and I can honestly say, I love him more dearly and with a deeper, accepting love than I ever thought possible.
I know that the thought of soul mates can make some peoples eyes roll, and I know it sounds kind of silly and cliché, but that’s what we were. I know that we were destined to be together and if we hadn’t gone through the struggles we did, I probably wouldn’t have had the strength it took to take care of him when he got sick. I told him near the end that he was the most important person in the world to me, that I loved him from the beginning and not a single moment ever went by that I didn’t love him with my whole heart. When he first got sick, he said he was sorry for all the pain he had caused me and I told him it was forgiven, forgotten and a thing of the past and to shut up, I didn’t want to hear it *grin* and I meant it.
Ron – you weren’t a perfect person; who of us is. I made a lot of mistakes too, but I will love you forever. You are my heart and my other half. I thank you for being the man you were, for teaching me so much about what love really is. I thank you for loving me and for sharing your life with me. I loved going back to the beginning, and living our life over again with the memories. I just wish I could tell you one more time that you were my world. You told me to go on, to live my life, but I don’t know how to do that. I told you that you would always be with me. And you are Ron, you are. You will never leave my heart. I always have such a hard time saying goodbye so I won’t. Instead I’ll say see you later.