After a really even-keeled emotional and decent physical day yesterday, I suffered a crash and burn of epic proportions last night. I’m actually writing this at 3am, but I’m waiting until I get some sleep to review it tomorrow before I actually post it.
I’m in the process of a major clean-out. I have always had slight OCD but it’s through the roof now. EVERYTHING we planned to get rid of MUST GO NOW. It doesn’t REALLY have to go NOW, but in my mind it does. So…back to the point. Tonight, I was going through boxes in the basement and the dam broke. Sobbing, looking through old things, and I came across this. It’s another picture of a picture because this was before the digital age. This was the very first weekend that Michael and I spent together. Basically, the first time we met. Which leads me to…the story of Michael and me.
Michael and I met online. This was in the days of AOL and the old-school chatrooms. I was going through a painful divorce and I went online in search of a support group. I found one, and inside that chat room I met a guy named Michael. We immediately started side conversations in little private chat boxes, because we noticed we were the only two people in the whole group who used their actual names. Other people had “handles” but we were just Michael and Lisa. He and I were in similar situations, going through divorces after 17 years of marriage. We were both with spouses who knew they wanted out long before we did, and we both had very similar pain and an understanding of what the other was going through. Soon, I started really looking forward to the evenings when I knew he would log on, and we would chat online in those little private chat boxes for hours.
Soon, online chats turned into phone calls, and the connection was intense. He was NOT my type in ANY way, shape, or form – or so I thought. But he was sensitive, sarcastic, kind, smart, and had a shockingly dark sense of humor. He was deep, spiritual, patient, soft-spoken. He wanted to know my kids. He wanted to talk about God and the universe and the stars. He listened when I talked. He was the exact opposite of any guy I’d ever been in a relationship with. And I decided maybe that was good for me.
After several months of phone calls and webcam chats, we decided it was time to meet for real to see if there was a “spark”. He flew out to California much to the chagrin of his friends who all told him he was crazy and that I was going to cut him up into little pieces.
This picture was taken that weekend. It was a park near my house, and we were just hanging out.
And after I dropped him off at the airport that weekend, I came home to find this note in my kitchen. I blocked some of it out because it’s personal. I JUST found this note a few days ago. ❤
After that, we started flying back and forth every two weeks, taking turns. So once a month I was in MN, and once a month he was in CA. That went on for about 10 months before he moved to CA in 2005.
We lived in CA with my two teenage kids and saw them graduate high school. We got married in our backyard in the summer of 2006. It was a beautiful wedding. We had about 40 guests, all close friends or family, and the band were our friends and they played all night. Michael’s mom and Auntie Patsy (both RIP) flew out for the wedding, and so did his kids, and it was a great family time for everyone. Lots of dancing and partying. It was a lovely night, and the priest who married us was named Charlie Sinatra! A distant cousin I believe.
In 2008, Michael’s heart was calling him back to MN. His mom was alone and getting older. He was an only child and felt that he needed to be close to her. So I made him a deal. He gave me 3 years in CA, so I would give him 3 years in MN. So to MN we moved.
Michael’s mom Addie passed away in 2010 I believe (sorry, I don’t mark dates and anniversaries). That was a tough time. Family stuff got complicated because Michael had to make decisions that not everyone agreed with. It was a hard, hard time. I loved Addie. She was like a mom to me. She accepted me and loved me instantly, and that wasn’t always the case marrying into a very traditional midwestern family. I had some very meaningful moments and conversations with her as I sat bedside with her. She was also my first intimate experience with death. Michael and I were both there as she drew her last breath. Addie was ridiculously particular about her wig and her makeup, so I did them for her in the casket. I knew she’d want to look like Addie, and NOBODY could make Addie look like Addie. Her wig was very dated and too dark, but that was Addie and her look.
Being with Addie when she died was a profound experience for me. The conversations I had with her, the private moments we shared, the things I witnessed, changed me forever. And since that first experience, sadly I’ve lost count of how many lives I’ve witnessed come to an end. Between beloved pets, rescue dogs, and humans, it must be in the dozens. Every one has a profound impact on me.
I guess Michael and I were always good at loss, because we suffered many losses over the course of our relationship, and every loss we suffered brought us closer together.
Our marriage was thriving when Michael got sick. We truly had the marriage that everyone thought we did. Our love was deep and our commitment was solid. Tonight going through things, it broke my heart. I spent a majority of my life in a relationship with the wrong person. And when I did meet the right person, he was taken far too soon. I cried at what could have been. I cried because I was robbed. I cried because he wasn’t ready to die. And I wasn’t ready to lose him. I cried looking at the memories he made before I was in his life, and I felt a little sad and jealous that I didn’t get to share that part of his life with him. I wondered if we had raised children together, would our relationships with them have been better? Would they have wanted to be in our lives? Would we have had grandchildren bouncing on our knees? Or maybe we would have retired to some remote island. But none of that matters because he didn’t get to live long enough.
Michael and I were big on second chances. Our wedding invitation talked about second chances. I look at that photo above and I see a couple with hope, excitement, and a future. And it just absolutely sucks that our second chance was taken from us.
And now, 10 years after I made a deal to move to MN for 3 years, here I am. My kids both followed me here over the years (irony at its finest but I digress). I built a rescue here. I built a network here. And now, he’s gone.
And I miss him. 😥 ❤