I was supposed to participate in Fun Monday two days ago, but for the first time since Jan. 1, I didn't post.
Why? I don't know really. I just didn't.
And I didn't post yesterday either.
Part of it was summer malaise. After six straight months of seven-days-a-week posting, I ran out of steam.
And also, I was having an emotional response to Kelley's post about this.
It stopped me in my tracks -- because I remembered.
This is 2008. It is 10 years after 1998.
The year my life turned upside down.
It really began in late 2007 -- THIS day.
Do you need to catch up? Go read that one. I can wait. I have waited 10 years to really tell this story in a public venue. I can surely wait a couple more minutes.
This man -- the one I always amusingly refer to as he-who-shall-not-be-named -- is the father of my little girl. And that? Is one of two decent things he did in his entire life.
After my baby girl was born, my husband refused to have sex with me. He claimed impotence due to diabetes and some heart-related issues. I knew differently. There are ways you can tell, ya know, that the guy is lying about this.
The relationship deteriorated -- and not just sexually. If I wanted this post to be a 12-part series, I could relate chapter and verse of the emotional atrocities he inflicted on me and my boys. But suffice it to say, he was mean. He was cruel. He was abusive, though he never lifted a finger against any of us.
And I was more afraid than I have ever been in my life. He once threatened to put me in a psych ward on a 72-hour watch unless I admitted that I was a liar. My three youngest children were in the backseat as he turned the car around and headed for the nearest hospital. Weeping, I caved. Otherwise, who would save my children from him?
I do not judge those who live in abusive relationships. I know how hard it is to muster up the strength to overcome the fear and walk away. But there did come the day when I promised then-14-year-old Drama King that I would see a lawyer.
And then it was Dec. 10, 1997 -- the day after my birthday and that day I posted about before -- and I threw him out. It was a little bit like a gift to myself and my kids.
But that isn't my point for today.
The divorce proceedings began -- painfully and viciously. The custody of our 3-year-old girl was contentious. And I knew, in my heart, that once we were done, he would walk away with her one day and disappear. After all, he had done it before with his two boys.
My father put it best: "You have to stop thinking about IF he will take her. WHEN he takes her, we will deal with it."
Again, that isn't my point for today.
Not long after we separated, he was hospitalized and released. A couple times. His visits with the Roo-girl became erratic. He canceled court dates. He began calling Roo instead of visiting.
And then he went IN ... and he never came out.
But I knew nothing of what was ailing him. I would call the nurses station every day to see if they would tell me anything. I found out that he was on a morphine drip. I found out that, eventually, he was on a ventilator.
Finally, one of my friends, who was a doctor at that hospital, volunteered to look in on him and report back. His answer? "HWSNBN's doctor will call you later."
So. It was Memorial Day weekend. My boys were with their dad. I was invited to a neighborhood barbecue, and so I got a babysitter for the Roo-girl and left specific instructions on how to find me if the doctor called. (This was really before the cell-phone explosion. I didn't have one at that time.)
Off I went.
Until my friends' phone rang, and I was summoned to talk to Dr. BeatAroundtheBush.
"Well," he began, "HWSHBN came in to the hospital and at first we were thinking it was autoimmune-related, but he denied any at-risk behavior blah blah tests blah blah continued to deny blah blah we finally ran tests ..."
"Oh. My. GOD," I gasped.
"He has full-blown AIDS, doesn't he?"
To be continued.