In March, it will be two years since I’ve been out at the sanctuary in any official capacity.
(Well, that’s not entirely true. I went out a few times for some meetings, to do some filing, and to help move/say goodbye to my boy.)
Even gone, I couldn’t stay away.
It was originally supposed to be just a leave of absence. I was to return in the fall, stronger, re-employed elsewhere, and with a handle on my personal commitments.
And…that didn’t happen.
I admit, if she hadn’t died, it might have been different. I knew it was the wrong thing. Any time someone has lost an animal, we all push for the return to a normal schedule as soon as possible. After he died, I made it a point to come out for a meeting the next week. I was allowed to roam the sanctuary (something not technically allowed as I had no status or authority anymore) and sit by his cage.
But I didn’t have the strength last fall. She was in many ways my guardian angel. She saved me and taught me more than anyone else in my life so far. And she was gone.
And I was hurting.
My boyfriend dumped me. His brother-in-law committed suicide. I don’t know if I handled it differently than anyone else would. A lot of people seemed to feel that the suicide shouldn’t have effected me. The dumping cut ties to the family and therefore…what suicide? Who?
I would take that family as in-laws in a heartbeat. So smart. So funny. So caring.
I couldn’t go to the funeral. The sister and I tried to keep in touch. But somehow the entire family felt the need – even months later – to focus on the breakup and the end of a wonderful relationship.
Far after I was (mostly) over it, they weren’t. I love them for it, but also am sad that I was so niched into the “potential” category nothing else could flourish in our relationships.
On top of my friends not quite sure how to handle the suicide and the breakup with me, I was also stifled here.
He was blogging at the time. I remember a comment from a new reader about how mad she was that I was over here hurting, and he was over there writing about movies.
I almost couldn’t breath for the desire to take this woman out for coffee and pour The Whole Story out. I understood she was ragging on him in the form of sister solidarity, but it killed me.
But this information was not mine to tell. Definitely not before he did.
I have the posts saved to my hard drive. The ones he wrote about the suicide. I was so happy and proud when I read them, hoping it meant some healing. And I was so devastated to read them and not be able to reach out to him or his family. To relive an event like that alone in the middle of my bedroom.
It was the start of a weekend of celebrations, including one I was hosting myself. I kept it together in that I did not become a bawling mess in the middle of any dinners. Soon afterwards, one of my closest confidants lost her father very suddenly. I’m not sure I ever told her or anyone other than T about those posts.
I had never felt more confused and frustrated writing here. On top of generally wanting to protect him, I also was protecting myself. There is a certain element of my current position that requires a professional and put together life 24/7. It’s something I always had the in back of my mind.
The idea of trying to continue with life was less about a new job, returning to the sanctuary, or dating again. It was about making sure I didn’t disappear off the earth all together.
I went to New York. I went to shows. I cooked dinner. I enrolled in some classes. While this turned out to be a small step in the whole new-career thing, it was simply to get me out of the house.
I realized how little I was attached to the life I was leading. And how it could tip either way.
Slowly, I got better. Time heals and all that. I still wish I was in touch with him. With his family. I don’t remember that much about the relationship anymore. But I know he was a nice guy.
When I began to care a bit more about life, and showering regularly (and yes, dating again), I decided I no longer needed the status quo as a security blanket.
This post was supposed to be about the sanctuary. How I’m going back. How happy I am they want me back. And how happy I am that I took the time, how frustrating and scary it was, to get where I am now.
But evidently I had another story to tell.