Sunday, March 25, 2012
Where Is Home?
I have questioned myself more in the last 6 months than I have in the last 26 years. The only other time I can recall where I constantly monitored my actions to this degree is when I left Danny so many years ago. Alcoholism was just then being called a disease on a regular basis. I was at work one day wondering if everything I had done, the enormous task of moving out into an apartment for my safety, peace of mind, his peace of mind, was all a big mistake. None of my leaving had to do with love. I wasn't sitting there questioning whether or I loved him or he loved me. I was questioning whether or we would survive being married to each other. The facility social worker saw the perplexed look on my face and asked what had me so twisted up, we were only having lunch. I told her that I was feeling very guilty for leaving. Danny being an alcoholic was sick, it was a disease. Would I have left if he were a diabetic? What if he had cancer? An ironic thought, looking back now. She looked at me and said, "He is spreading his disease to you and the children. You had no choice but to leave." "Hmmm" was my only response. I let it all roll around in my head. It sounded logical, but for me the questions would continue for some time. The guilt part of it never really left. I had guilt over leaving, guilt for what I had put the children through, and ultimately guilt when he died of cancer. The last one is called survivor's guilt. Yep, I had survived and I felt plenty of guilt over that, too. I had survived a full arrest when really I had no right to, and he had died so young of a cancer that only few people ever get. It seemed so odd, so absolutely weird to me that there existed so little logic in that. My questions are different now. I am very happily married to a man I love, respect and am finding a very hard time visualizing living without. This family does not work without him. I don't seem to work without him. Without Michael, I feel like I do not make sense anymore. We have had time to face all of this. It has felt like watching a train head straight for us and we are tied to the tracks like some sort of old cartoon. Where is Dudley Do-Right when you need him. My boring every day stuff, Mike is my Dudley. He sweeps in and makes me laugh, and reminds me why life is so wonderful. But with this, we need someone else to sweep in. Neither of us is up for the task, obviously. I took a full time job so we would have some stability here. He is tied to his job that is moving to Chicago. So the question becomes, where then is home? Is home here for the few months until all the kids move out? Is home there with him and his nearly 28 years of seniority? Is home back in Cleveland, the place we moved away from to try and prevent all of this? Our house is just that, a house. These different towns, well, that is just geography. If we are splitting off from one another, where is it we shall call home? Please don't think I have some kind of insightful answer that will magically appear at the end of the blog. I am still very much in the asking stage of this process. I have no idea where our home is now. Home is where the heart is. Well, that is what the plaques say in gooby shops all across this country. My heart belongs to Michael, and he is going to Chicago. His heart is with me and I am here, so should we consider home somewhere in the middle? Maybe that would make home somewhere in St Louis, perhaps? I have never been, but heard it is lovely. If we are in fact without each other and only that makes our home, a theory we tend to stick to, then we are emotionally homeless. It was only a couple of years ago we were nearly physically homeless, and this does not feel any less stressful. We are exercising our options. I will not say what all of them are. Right now that is personal. But if at the end of the day, or at least April, and nothing comes about to change our current conundrum, then Michael may well have to meet me in St. Louis. This extraordinary love of mine is so much more than our jobs. It is so much more than a house, or town or even ties we have to all of the places I have written about today. Many people have commented that we should feel lucky to have jobs. "Hmmm" is my only response. We didn't feel unlucky until we were being split apart. Even that, it hasn't been about luck, but more of what we think we are worth. Are we worth what it will take to be together? What is the price we will have to pay for that to happen? What sacrifices we will have to make? Can we withstand the pain of those sacrifices? I have many, many questions. We are realists, my love and I. We are not irresponsible people, by any stretch. But at what cost will come for our responsibility, our fiscally conservative math, our fear of what can go wrong? Jump at the wrong time and a turbulent gust could carry us into the depths of a financial canyon. Stay put out of fear and lose out on what could be an adventure of a life time. Leave and have to start over, again. Stay and find out here is not the home we thought it was. Thinking of Michael being 1200 miles away form me is like being left behind again. I was widowed once before, I know what alone feels like. I know it is not the same, but physically alone is still physically alone. I looked at him and said, "let no man put asunder." He sat and looked into my watering eyes. That phrase was in our wedding ceremony. When someone recently wrote me, they had written, "Listen, couples do this all the time. They work in different states, towns, they travel. It's just not that big a deal." "Hmmm", I thought. Days later I wrote simply this. "They are not us." I know others do this. I know couples who spend most of their time away from each other. Most of them have been doing this forever; they set it up this way. Bottom line, they are not us. Our home isn't house, a town, or a singular person. Our home is the two of us together, laughing, loving, dancing, cooking, getting the mail, running the vacuum. Home is four legs, four arms and a singular beat belonging to two hearts.