Vintage Prosey Project: 2014 Prioritization — 12/12/12

Updating the blog here to pull old entries from the pros/e/yes archives…in their original order. This project is simply a unification of my personal blog (with a LOT of NSFW entries) and my professional blog.

Dr. PruthPetals Westheimer’s Hump Day Special: Where Love and Hate Intersect

Today’s topic is about love and hate. Where they can intersect. How you can …truly can… feel both things. (If you’re disappointed that today’s Hump Day entry isn’t a schmexytime special…my apologies…with a loving “get over it” tossed out.)

I’ve talked about how I view love and hate before. I don’t see them as exactly opposite of each other. I don’t see them as being separate from each other. I see them as having the same basic core in the spectrum of human emotions. They are…both…totally normal human emotional abstracts. Hate is probably one of the most destructive emotions there is. Actions, based on hate, are…or can be…extraordinarily harmful to self and to others.

Why this topic today?

Well…because I’m an idiot, if you must know. *laughing* Tomorrow is the anniversary of Blue’s death. Not an easy time of year for my family, truly. We all miss him terribly. There is a lot about him to miss. He was a force of nature…he was funny, smart, kind (well, usually), and…according to my friends, good looking. Yeah yeah, I know he was good looking, but I never saw him like that. One of my best friends even had the -erm- temerity to ask me…c’mon, Denise, wouldn’t you do him? And my response was somewhere between amused, disgusted, and horrified. I looked at her, and I think my answer was something like Omigawd, ewwwww! I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit…or something along those lines.

So, what’s this got to do with love and hate, you might be wondering?

Well, my thoughts yesterday were pretty scattered. I don’t think…even now…I’ve ever properly grieved about Blue’s death. He died four years ago tomorrow…and in all that time, I haven’t let him go, I don’t think. And, I don’t know if I want to. And…that’s okay. Maybe someday I will. *shrug* Whatever. Anyway, yesterday, I got to thinking about a favor he did for me that has never actually been resolved…which leads me to his widow, who…had he lived, would have been his ex-wife.

See, a couple of years before he died, before their relationship went completely to hell…Blue did me a huge favor. This was also before my previous marriage went completely to hell. I was moving around with the military, and my mother…eesh, my mother was completely off the rails. She was moving at least once every 4 to 6 months…and was, because of the constant moving, losing certain personal items that were and are of deep sentimental value. One of the things I wanted to ensure did not get lost was her hope chest. Not that I personally cared about that box or its contents…I did and do care, but that was not the issue. My own hope chest had been lost long before, at the hands of my ex-husband who, very deliberately, sold the box and all of its contents because he knew how much that would hurt me. And it did. The situation with my mom’s hope chest wasn’t quite the same, of course… That box was my great-grandmother’s…passed to my grandmother…to my mother…eventually to come to me, and I in turn would pass it to my own daughter.

I’ve already been told, more than once, to simply treat that box as though it was set afire…and I know in my head that is the most rational course of action…but I’m getting ahead of myself.

During one of my few visits to my mom’s town (and Blue’s when he was alive), I asked Blue if he could hold on to my mom’s hope chest until such a time as she was more permanently stable in terms of her living situation…or until such time as I could come pick it up. He agreed to do so…and since that day, my mom’s hope chest has remained, so far as I know, in Blue’s widow’s garage. I haven’t assumed that she has destroyed it…though she may well have done that. I simply do not know.

About a year or so after Blue put my mom’s hope chest in his garage, my relationship with my ex-husband took the final turn for the very worst. I did not know, at the time, that Blue’s marriage was headed the same general direction…however, at one point, I drove across Texas en route to Arizona with my kids…and we stopped at Blue’s to rest. His wife and I had really terrific conversation. She and I never, at that time, had any issues between each other…we got along very well. She was…is…really a beautiful woman who is funny and smart and…like Blue was…kind (usually). Divorce brings out the worst in many of us…I’m no exception, nor was Blue…nor was his widow-would-have-been-ex-wife.

Blue and I spent many an hour, late into the wee hours of the morning sometimes, venting our mutual frustrations and anger. Blue, for his part, had a knack for predicting events…with eerie accuracy sometimes…and such was the case with what he and I came to call “Pandora’s Box.” The topic of Pandora’s Box is not one I am going to get into in any detail here…because that matter is not actually mine to tell. However, how I came to be involved in it is mine -and only mine- to tell.

What happened was that, about a year before it happened, Blue predicted that he was probably going to wind up in jail. Not for anything criminal…nothing like that… No, since he moved out of their house, he was having difficulty keeping up with child support. Not for lack of trying, but to understand what was going on, there were certain things that were simply beyond his control. See, he worked -at that time- in real estate. Nobody could have planned or predicted how bad the Texas rainy season that year was going to get, the sheer amount of flooding and runoff, and those natural elements made turning property (and we’re talking large plots of rural land) extremely difficult. With mud all the way up into axles of combines…just getting to those properties was extremely difficult…much less trying to sell them to prospective buyers. And he worked straight commission. No salary that he could simply draw from — in order to make money, he had to sell.

And he predicted that, because there was so much malice coming from his wife, she would put him in jail. I didn’t believe she would ever go that far…it didn’t makes sense to me. How can you pay child support….how can you catch up with arrearages AND make current child support…if you’re in jail? And knowing that while you’re in jail, those arrearages would continue to accrue penalties. Putting someone in jail for that seemed, to my way of thinking, to serve no purpose…and in fact would defeat the purpose it was supposed to serve. But then…I was thinking from a place of reason…not from a position of anger. If that makes enough sense. Blue and his wife were VERY angry with each other…they were both quite ugly to each other, come to it. So Blue, in his way, had a clearer picture of what was possibly coming.

Understand, too…when I say that Blue and his wife were usually very kind…I mean exactly that. Both of them. Usually. They could both be quite unkind, downright evil to be honest, when they felt threatened or hurt. And…given the situation, I can only guess that they were both VERY on edge.

So…Blue had set up a contingency plan for if he wound up in jail. The catch, however, was me. Pandora’s Box was very, very, VERY ugly. It was nasty. I did not like it…at all. I disagreed with him…I argued with him…that I thought it was a horrid idea, that it punished people other than his wife, and that this fight was between the two of them. Blue and I fought repeatedly about this. In the end, however, it was his call to make…not mine. I didn’t believe she would really put him in jail. I didn’t think that would ever happen. He understood that I detested Pandora’s Box…but would I respect his wishes if his prediction was correct? *sigh* Of course I would respect his wishes. I didn’t have to like it…I didn’t have to agree with him…and I voiced that firmly…but of course, I would respect his wishes.

Long story…well, still long, but a lot shorter here than it actually was when it happened…I was Blue’s “One Phone Call” from jail. He said three words: “Open Pandora’s Box.”

Let me tell you…that was not the most awesome way I’ve ever been woken up in the morning..

And…the rest of the story is, as they say, history. Pandora’s Box was opened. A little more than a year later, Blue had a massive heart attack. I do believe that his stress level over the ugliness of the divorce…which had no foreseeable end in sight, contributed to his death. When he died…I was furious. Full of hate. I blamed ONE person for his death. As far as I was concerned, she was the devil incarnate, and there was not a single nice thing I could think to say in her favor. In fact, in my personal address book, where her name should be, my hatred showed itself where I scratched out her name and wrote “THE BITCH” in its place. Yeah, I was a little angry. I was also about 4 months pregnant…headlong into my doctoral studies…I was a stress machine. And…I had just lost my dearest, most closest friend. My cousin, who I grew up with and saw as my brother…my best friend…was suddenly ripped out of my life. And in my mind, at the time, it was all her fault.

So. Fast-forward four years. Time has softened a lot of things. In my harsher moments, I still blame her…but I also know that it’s not her fault Blue died. He had a few habits of his own that contributed to that heart attack. He had returned to auto sales so that he could have a regular salary, even though he hated auto sales. He was always tight on cash because child support was his first priority. He was under a tremendous amount of stress, and there were matters that were really and truly beyond anyone’s control. AND there’s a family history of cardiovascular issues. So…no, his death was not her fault.

And of course…I know that. Funny, though, as much as I did hate her, I also loved her. I understood completely what Blue meant when he said he both loved and hated her. That he would always love her, but that he didn’t know if he would ever not hate her, too. I totally understood that. That is a sentiment I personally identify with — both as a matter of their relationship, and as a matter of my own personal history.

I realized the other day that I don’t actually hate her at all. That I do, in fact, still love her. She was his wife. She was my friend. She is the mother of their children. Children who, for good or ill, are connected indirectly to my heart. And…lol…given my personality, I’m not one to blow sunshine up anyone’s ass. Thing is…there is still the matter of my mother’s hope chest. Which brings me to yesterday.

Now, I don’t expect she will ever forgive me. And, honestly, I don’t blame her a single bit. She has every right to hate me. I won’t ever apologize for what I did, because I’m not sorry for that…even if I had it all to do over again, I would not change what I did. I am, however, sorry for the loss of a dear friendship. I am sorry that what happened did happen…and I also recognize that she would have no way of knowing what all led up to Pandora’s Box, and the culpability that she bears in that matter. She would have no way of knowing how badly Blue and I fought about it…and why I did what I did. So to her, I’m sure I’m the devil incarnate. “THE BITCH.” Yeah, and deservedly so. I own that truth. It is my burden to bear…my price to pay, so to speak.

However, I felt like…you know, four years have passed. I thought, given the amount of time, calling her would be “safe” ~ to attend the matter of my mother’s hope chest, which was never a part of her & Blue’s battles. It’s entirely possible she had a bonfire and destroyed the hope chest and all of its contents. Heck, she was perfectly willing to put Blue in jail…what would stop her from destroying the hope chest? And if she did, so be it…I would understand that action, too. I would disagree with it…but I would understand it. The part that bothers me is the not knowing.

Now…I know where she works. I’ve known for a long time. It was never a matter of sleuthing that information — that information is actually public. But, given where she works and what she does, I figured…lol…I could call and leave her a voice mail — so that I could be very clear about why I was calling, which was not in any way to stir up old shit. I have no desire whatsoever to do that…let the demons of the past die already. Except…I wasn’t routed to her voice mail. She was interrupted from setting up a conference, and I was put through directly to her. *makes pained face* Dear lord…that was NOT anything expected.

So, when she realized who was calling, she became (understandably) upset…said a couple of things, including the word “inappropriate”…and hung up on me. Sort of exactly what I would have done were the roles reversed and I was caught off-guard by an unexpected, and very likely unwanted phone call. And which wouldn’t have happened had I been put through to voice mail. *winces again*

Yikes. Just…yikes!

And after she hung up on me, I realized that very likely, nobody in my family has reached out to her. Maybe they have, but the impression I have is that nobody did. Mine was the last voice that she should first hear from my family. Omigawd…just no. I’m an evil bitch, admittedly, but I’m not cruel. Had I known that nobody had reached out yet, I would not have called. No way. My call probably upset her…and understandably.

So…in the end, I did something I’ve put off for a while. I wrote her a letter. Not a long letter…only 2 pages.

I did express that I am truly sorry. Not for Pandora’s Box…because like it or not…that is not mine to apologize for, and I am not sorry for my part in that. I apologized for those things I really am sorry for. And I admitted that my call to her was absolutely self-serving. Totally. I wasn’t calling to ask how she is…or how the boys are. Of course, I wonder those things, but those questions from me would naturally ring as false. So I explained that I called about the hope chest.

And I admitted that I do still love her. That much is true. I really still do. *shrug* It really is that simple. Yet…it’s not simple at all, is it?

Where love and hate intersect rarely is simple. Often there are tangled webs and layers of different “stuff” that feed into both emotions. I have no doubt she hates me…and I don’t blame her for that. At all. She is well within her rights to hate me. She also has a right to know why I did what I did…and if she never forgives me, I understand. In fact, that is actually what I expect. *shrug* However…nothing about it is simple at all.

Hmm.

If you’ve made it all the way here, thank you for taking the time to read my rambly thoughts here today. I do really appreciate it.

Happy Hump Day!

P/L/S

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