How do you tell your new husband that the (relatively) sane woman he married is on leave and a weepy clinically depressed woman is moving in? How do you tell him that you’re not sure how long she’ll stick around, a day, a week, or a month, but last time she visited she really overstayed her welcome, and stuck around four years? How do you break it to your sweetheart that you cannot always be the woman he adores?
The darkness has been hovering around me, an ominous little cloud, following me, threatening to settle and obscure my vision.
For a month or more I’ve been trying to shake off my mood. Perk up under the weight of discontent and unease. Buck up. Smile. Remind myself of all my blessings. After all, everything is lovely! The kids are getting along, I’m finally married to the man of my dreams, you’ve found a job, we’re so in love. Instead, it has only gotten heavier and settled more firmly until I, only this week, recognized it for what it was.
I tried to tell you yesterday. Tried to warn you. Another woman lives in my chest. I thought she was gone for good, I honestly did, but here she comes again.
Not the one you married, the belly-laughing, fiery tempered, roller-coaster of a woman, all highs and lows. This other woman wades through sorrow. She is thick and muted with it. Sorrow clouds her vision, slows her speech, and drags at her feet. She has neither the energy nor the necessary anger to combat the darkness. It envelopes her.
Tears rose up in me over and over yesterday, then again this morning. Big fat unattached drops of sorrow keep welling up in my eyes without a source, save this general cloud of grief. Soon you will see them and will ask, of course, “What’s wrong.”
And I will have no answer to give you. No gift of specificity. Nothing to blame. In fact, nothing is wrong. It’s just that, once again, nothing is right.
I wish that I could hand you my sadness, pinpoint its roots, and allow you to repair it, patch it, put me back together the way you fixed the front doorbell. If it were possible, I promise I would let change my feelings as easily as you change the oil in the car. More than I fear the darkness, more than I fear my sorrow, I am petrified at the damage your wife’s unhappiness will do to you. How will you shoulder the burden of a broken woman you cannot fix? A weeping woman you cannot cheer? You just take it so personally, my love, when you cannot make me happy. I worry that your wife’s darkness will crush you.
I will not tell you today either. Today we celebrate my birthday. And you’ve been planning and you’ve been plotting. Gifts I’m not to know about, dinner plans, family gathered. So I will give you the gift for my birthday. One more day of joy. One more day with the woman you love. I will wrap myself in a glittering covering of laughter and top it off with a bow of a smile.
But tomorrow, I will steel myself, gather up every bit of my courage, and introduce you to your other wife.
My love, I will say, this too is me. I am joy but I am sorrow. I am light, but I am also its absence. I am laughter, but, O yes, I am tears.
And I will trust you.
Believing that you can hold my hand in the night,
Counting on you to walk beside me in the storm,
Relying on you to be strong enough to love both of the women who inhabit me.
This too is a gift.
Love you sweetheart, Bunches.