He’s gone. My texts have gone from blue to green. I am alone. Holding on. It is the season of blackout.
I had 12 hours with him. Holding on. A strained 12 hours, leaving me with the metallic taste of disappointment. Expectation will do that to you. He was released from his partial hospitalization program Thursday night after 14 days. The following morning I dropped him off at the airport so he could fly to a rehab in Florida where he will be in “blackout” for 30 days. No phone, no visitors, limited contact.
It was a hard week getting ready for the transition to Florida. My husband making plans, getting money together, verifying benefits, getting scripts, booking a ticket. Oh yeah and all the while fighting the demon, putting in recovery work. Me just plain old working, living in a state of anxiety, fearing stagnation, praying everything would come together so his recovery can continue in a state of forward motion. Holding on.
I had 12 hours with him. Holding on. After work I took the dark winding roads on an hour drive to pick him up. He was sick as a dog with the flu. Fever, chills, aches, swollen glands, cough. We were both in bad shape actually. I had been suffering from a really painful stiff neck, sore back, and dull aching headaches. Limited range of movement. Carrying the world on my shoulders, the stress so deep it had ravaged my knotted muscles, and then traveled unsparingly through my tired sinuses. It was not the reunion I had hoped for before the 30 days of blackout. Him sick and medicated, me in pain and exhausted. Both of us rushing to get him ready for the next phase.
I had 12 hours with him. Holding on. The truth is–that time together was just a quick layover in his infant journey of recovery. A grain of sand in the ocean of time. Yet I felt such disappointment. Disappointment is an unfulfilled expectation. An unrealized wish. Expectations open one up to disappointment, frustration, even anger. How quickly I forget, all I wanted was for him to be in treatment. Now that he is, my mind starts hurtling forward like a freight train with the “what’s next” and “what ifs” and “we need”. This freight train will destroy everything in it’s path. SLOW THE F#$@ DOWN. In a family session with my husband and his therapist, I was informed that recovery is a developmental process. It happens slowly over time in a (kind of) specific order. When we live in a culture of instant gratification, when we hold on to a preconceived notion, an expectation, implanted by self and others, the patience needed for this development can be difficult. I pull my mind’s brakes to SLOW DOWN the destructive freight train. He is safe and in treatment. That is enough right now.
I had 12 hours with him. Holding on. In a message from a person I consider a friend (thank you Mark), he advised me to love my husband and let go. Those words made me realize I have been white knuckling my life, my marriage, my husband. I also realized this letting go is part of the work I need to do in blackout.
My texts have gone from blue to green. He is in the wind. I am alone. It is the season of blackout. Season of deafening silence, filling me with empty, arming me with strength, blanketed in solitude.
This season of blackout will not be a time of darkness. It will be one of light. Light unveiling vision, discovery of self, actualization, healing light, self-love. This is my chance to start taking responsibility for my happiness. And to let go. I have no idea how to do that, but I can learn.
It is the season of blackout. It is no longer the season of obliteration. I am basking in the light of a changing sun. From summer to autumn, the sun then moving across a cold winter sky and down to a glowing horizon.
It is the season of blackout. The days are shrinking, the night descending upon me earlier with each new sunset. I travel gently and quietly on the ground, the dead leaves crunching beneath my boots, while the geese above me follow my husband’s flu-wracked and aching body to warmth in their travels south. Trailing his jet plane. Chasing the heat. Here on the ground I remain in the cold. I am letting him go. I am dreaming of winter. Imagining the crystal snowflakes that will caress my eyelashes, my vision blurred by condensation.
It is the season of blackout. I wear my warm beating heart on my sleeve but I am shivering. I will be alone in the blinding white light when winter comes. I will watch my breath billow out from my lungs, it will be transformed into healing steam.
Unraveling of a seam
Loosening the grip
The color returns to my white knuckles
Softening of my center
He is in the wind
It is the season of blackout.
Link to an article about letting go on Huffington Post here, turns out it’s an art.