One year ago…
One year ago, Tom left home to run an errand. He was supposedly going to pick up a small boat. He said it was sitting on a trailer that had a bad tire, so it might take a few hours. I told him to pick up some fix-a-flat and to please call me and let me know how it was going. By 9:30pm, we had talked three times. He was still having trouble with the trailer and was planning on turning around, leaving the boat, and heading home. He said that he would take a few minutes because he misplaced something, but he was heading home.
By 10:30pm, he still wasn’t home. I called him, but he was no longer answering. This wasn’t the first time he had done this. We had Life 360 on our phones, so I could see where he was. I finally had enough. I texted him, “If you don’t call me, I will head out there.” In order to do this, I had to borrow my dad’s vehicle because Tom was in my Tahoe. Why? Because he had wrecked his truck three months before and I was in the process of buying myself a new vehicle. Of course, he didn’t call or text me back. I didn’t trust the people where he was, so I called his mom and asked her to go with me. She agreed. I borrowed the van from my dad, picked up his mom, and drove 20 mins to where he was. As I pulled up, he was walking toward the Tahoe to get his phone. Apparently, he had decided he wanted to get high with the people he was hanging out with.
Me: Why didn’t you call me or answer your phone?
Tom: (I don’t remember his answer…probably something like I didn’t want to argue or you knew where I was.)
Me: Please follow me home. I can still “fix” this. I’ll just tell my parents that you were working late (they live next door to me).
Well, that pissed him off, after all, why should he have to answer to anyone?
Tom: Stop making a scene, go home, and I’ll be home in a couple of hours.
Me: No, follow me home or I’ll follow you home.
Tom: No, I will be home in a couple of hours.
Me: I’m not okay with this. You need to make up your mind. It’s me or all of this (gesturing at the house where he was getting high and the people that were somewhere around).
Tom: All of this.
Me: Then, I guess you need to move out…
Tom: If that’s what you want.
Me: Are you going to be home in time to take me to work in the morning? (He had been taking me to work and picking me up.)
Tom: Yes, I’ll be there in a couple of hours.
I think we talked on the phone around 1am. He said that he would be back soon. At this point, I’m still thinking I might be able to fix this if he does make it back in time…but I knew he wouldn’t be there to take me to work.
I called him at 6am. No answer. His phone was dead. I called at 6:30. Nothing. By 6:40am, I called my dad, “Can you take me to work?”
Tom called at 6:55am: I’m on my way.
Me: (sarcasm) Good. I’m on my way to work. Are you going to pick me up from work? We need to talk.
Tom: Yes, I’ll be there.
I got through the day. No idea how. I just did. He picked me up, and we headed to the house. We talked in the kitchen. I told him I couldn’t do this anymore. He decided that he would leave that night. I helped him pack a suitcase, and he left.
Over the next several months, a local friend and I packed his stuff that was all over the house into boxes. He would show up basically whenever the hell he felt like it. He wouldn’t show up when he said he would, he would show up without calling, or he would bring someone with him without telling me. He had stuff all over my property…in the house, in the sheds, and just outside in the open. I let him have access to my Walmart Pay to buy food…because I’m a soft-hearted idiot. I moved my deadline several times from September to October to finally December 31st. In September, I cut him off from Walmart Pay and had to change my credit card because suddenly I no longer had access to some of the bills I was covering for him (cellphone and car insurance).
I saw him on Christmas Day. I helped pack a full trailer load. He was planning on coming back one more time, then whatever was left I would get rid of. On Dec. 28th, he was arrested at the abandoned property next door for allegedly trying to break into the house and steal copper. His new fiancé begged me to help, but I wouldn’t. She apparently got him out on New Year’s Eve.
He has called a few times since then…mostly trying to find out if tax checks have arrived for him. I’ve now told him at least three times to fill out a change of address form. Two weeks ago, he told me that he had changed the address on his license and that he was heading directly to the post office. On Tuesday, a check arrives. He lied to me. Again. I have a choice. I could put “return to sender” on it or I could either contact him or wait for him to call me and give it to him. He has a fiancé and is taking care of her two little girls. Assuming this is the stimulus check…that’s $1,200 dollars. I should not have to make this choice. This is not my responsibility. So, what am I going to do? I was going to talk to my therapist this evening, but that got postponed to tomorrow. I guess I’m probably going to wait for him to call or try to contact him. Why? Because I’m incapable of choosing my well-being over someone else’s. For all those who think I’m this strong, intelligent woman, I’m sorry to disappoint you…I think we might have finally located her, but we still haven’t completely pulled her out of the rubble yet.
Tom ran all over my boundaries for years. He knew what they were; he just didn’t care. I am still dealing with the fallout from the emotional abuse and from being in a constant high state of anxiety. I have been grieving for a while. I lost the man I fell in love with to drugs years ago. I finally had to give up and physically let him go a year ago. Through all of this, I also lost myself. I gave so much of me to this man that there was nothing left. My confidence, strength, love, self-worth, vulnerabilities, and insecurities – everything went into this relationship and I did everything I could to save it.
I don’t love him anymore. I don’t regret telling him to leave. What I do regret is losing me. I am still so angry at myself for letting it go so far, for enabling, for allowing myself to be so vulnerable, for giving him all of me. If given the choice, I would not willingly put myself through this again. However, if living through this was the only way that I would have been able to meet the support group I have today, then I wouldn’t hesitate. While I was still struggling in the depth of my despair, friends (old and new) have opened their hearts to me and are still helping me put the pieces back together. You guys know who you are, but I have to name a few.
Erica– you have literally been there every day since day one. You’ve seen me at my worst and have never turned your back on me. I will forever be grateful for the friendship we have. You have given me so much love, strength, and support through my darkest moments. Holding my hand in spirit, reminding me to breathe, and telling me that I will be okay. I don’t know what I would have done without you, SIS.
Dotty – you and your hubby are the first spankos I’ve met in person. I am so grateful for your friendship, patience, and support you both have given me. You guys are amazing, and I am so excited and looking forward to being able to meet up again. Thank you for helping me make new memories.
Lily, Zack, Prux, and Alex – you guys have been so caring and supportive over the last few months. I appreciate all of you so much. I can’t wait to meet up one of these days.
My local friends – Thank you guys for helping me over the last year. You guys have listened to me repeat myself so many damn times. I know that couldn’t have been easy. Thank you so much for being there.
To those I haven’t mentioned – I see you and know you’re there. Your support, comments, and messages mean the world to me. Thank you all!
I love all of you so much and appreciate everything each of you has done to make my journey to finding my way back and forward just a little bit easier, just a little bit brighter.