It’s pretty evident if you have read any of my blogs that I have been processing anger toward my late husband, Bret.
It wasn’t always that way, however.
In the early days and months after his tragic self-imposed death, I placed him very high on a pedestal. I understand that this sort of thing is common. I knew that I was doing this, but I didn’t see anything wrong with celebrating all of Bret’s good qualities rather than focusing on the negative.
I do stand by that sentiment, to a degree, but as time went on, I realized that I had a lot to unpack.
I forgave Bret very early on, for his death, but have struggled with the way he lived and how he treated me.
Bret was a handful, to put it mildly.
I knew this and I accepted it.
He was strong-willed, temperamental, and sadly, had lots of demons.
He knew that I was completely devoted to him, and he regularly used that against me.
For example, if I didn’t enjoy every single activity that he enjoyed, he would tell me “that’s alright, but I think I want to be with someone who does.” He did this often, somehow believing that his partner should have all the same likes as him.
One time while skiing, he told me that we could start divorce proceedings when we got home because I don’t like skiing and am not good at it. It was my third or fourth time, and believe me, I was giving it my all. I knew how much he loved winter sports. I also knew that he was not going to accept anything less than my begging to ski every second of the winter.
We had many common likes. He just required that I like everything that he did. He didn’t, however, feel that he ought to like the same things that I enjoyed. In fact, he just thought that I should stop liking most, if not all of those things.
I actually did let many things go during our twelve years and sometimes, regret hits me pretty hard. I am trying, however, to reconnect with those parts of me. It’s been very healing.
There were many other things that were wrong with our relationship.
But there were many great things too.
Over these last few years, I have found it increasingly difficult to reflect upon some of those good things. It’s as if my mind is forcing me to process the bad things in full, first, so that’s what I’ve been doing.
The vast majority of my grief in the recent years has been directed toward the way he treated me, and not his death.
I have also been processing the fact that I allowed it.
Bret and I were each other’s third marriage. It was easy to fear yet another marital failure, so I pushed through everything, vowing to fix anything and everything that cropped up.
I also loved him more than I had any other romantic partner up until that point.
I wanted us to work, so I put up with a bunch of horrible things in order to keep the peace.
As I said before, though, there were a lot of great things about him too.
He was hilarious, handsome, and heavily tattooed among other qualities that I typically find attractive. We could have wonderful, deep conversations that would last for hours. (We were long-distance at first, and I managed to rack up a devastatingly huge phone bill just from our nightly phone calls. Remember when expensive long-distance phone calls were a thing?)
Bret was also awesome during much of my pregnancy with our daughter and her birth. When I went into labor, we stopped at Sonic on our way to the birth clinic so he could buy an entire ice chest full of their ice.
He wasn’t evil. He was just someone who had lots of struggles. And in no way am I excusing abusive behavior, but now that all of that is in my rearview mirror, I can see a bit more clearly.
So now for the million-dollar question: would I do it all over again?
Knowing how it ended, knowing the struggles and drama…
Yes, I would do it again.
I grew a lot as a person while I was with Bret. We also had an amazing baby girl while we were together and this world is a better place because of her.
I would do it again.
Maybe I’m crazy.
Or maybe I’m just someone who loved another person enough to see them through.
Photo from The Arrival – via Tumblr