This week I realized just how damaged I am.
Not just from Craig's death, but from everything that came before it and everything that followed.
Craig and I never had a perfect marriage. Who does? We fought, we yelled, we got on each other's nerves. When you get together as teenagers, you are bound to one another before you have even begun to grow up, before you have any idea what in the heck you are doing.
We went through all the usual teenage drama. There were ups and downs, ex-girlfriends I had to beat back with a stick (not always effectively), struggles to be our own people, and financial strain... and all while trying to figure out what we wanted to do and who we wanted to be. There were a few years there where I could love Craig or hate him all within a five minute period.
But things changed.
We got married, we calmed the hell down, we learned how to respect and appreciate each other. The last couple years we were married were pretty great. The last few days were amazing.
Craig and I got into an enormous fight the weekend before he died. It was a Saturday. We were talking about moving to Vancouver (my home town). I argued that I was living in this hideous city I hated for 10 years for him (sorry Calgary), and without kids it was the perfect time to be adventurous and maybe try my home town for a couple years. He wouldn't even consider it. The fight was not only rare but extremely unusual when I finished it by yelling something and dramatically exiting the room. I'm not even sure where it came from, but I hollered half-hysterically at him, 'I've always loved you more than you loved me!'
Craig just sort of stood there with a deer-caught-in-the-headlights stunned look on his face. It would have been funny if it wasn't so sad.
But we made up. He never followed me when we got into a fight (if I left a room, he would wait me out until I came back to find him). This time he did come to find me. And reassured me he loved me. And we talked and talked just like we used to. I went to work on Monday happy, reassured, and full of hope that we were, in fact, utterly perfect for each other and would be together forever.
I was so happy.
It only took one more day for him to wind up dead on the side of the road and my entire world to come crashing down around me.
As far as I think I've come and as tough as I think I am, I've realized I am still just as broken as that first day.
I live in fear that my new relationship will be filled with the same hurts and struggles, that I may spend years being miserable with someone before I can find happiness.
I am terrified of being happy. That if I let myself embrace joy, fully and completely, I will be sidelined once again. That death and tragedy will come find me, over and over and over.
I am scared that I will once again be left alone, that those closest to me will turn on me or look the other way, and that I will, again, end up helpless and hurting.
You think you can control these fears, keep them at bay, but they find ways to creep in. Lighting can strike twice, nothing is sacred. I experienced another loss this week and all these fears came flooding back in to overwhelm me - it's my own fault, I let myself forget, I let myself be happy. And this is what happens.
How does one seperate oneself from your past? How do you find that magic lightswitch that turns your old self 'off' and your new self 'on' so you can try again without lugging around all that excess baggage?
I'm tired of feeling like I'm wearing my old life around my neck like some oversized noose. The effort required to drag that weight around everywhere I go is exhausting.
And more than anything these days, I just feel tired.
So very, very tired.