Let’s talk baggage. Everyone carries it. Baggage from past hurts, habits, and hang ups. Things from the past we’d rather bury and move on from. We carry emotional baggage, sometimes physical baggage, through our lives from one relationship to the next. We may want to but sometimes it is hard to let go of. Eventually we meet people who help lighten the load. My emotional baggage is getting lighter. I have moved so far past everywhere that I’ve been. The waves of grief are fewer. I’m no longer in denial. And for the most part, I’ve stopped just fucking wanting him back. I think that the last month I moved finally toward acceptance. I know you’re thinking about damn time J, it’s been over a fucking year. But give me a break, I’m trying here. I’ve started to move into closure. That’s not to say that I don’t feel grief because those waves still fucking come. Now though, I am a little better at anticipating them, treading through them instead of drowning.
Sometimes I still get drunk and mouth off, others I talk to my girls about all my crazy revenge ideas. I wish I knew the answer to help you and to help me. I don’t. I know, that’s super helpful, but stay with me here. I can’t end those fucking waves because there is nothing anyone can do for your process. Or for my process. It’s just a process of grief waves you gotta keep swimming through. You have to get up and keep going on. Eventually you will let it go. But don’t trust me on that because there are some things I still can’t just let it go of, mainly small things that trigger my anger, some bigger stuff like my dress, my ring, and my wedding photos. I do believe that you will let pieces and parts go as you are ready too and eventually there will be nothing left to let go of. We talked recently about the physical baggage, the stuff left behind. The photos, rings, the dress. Where does the stuff go? Let’s talk about my baggage Here’s a story about a box.
The X left a bunch of stuff at my house the last time he came over to pick everything up. He just didn’t take some shit and left it for me to figure out, sort of like everything else. More literal baggage for me to process, as if the mental shit wasn’t enough. Who knows why. He left some very specific stuff, not just socks and sweatshirts, though he left that too. He left his wedding suit. Fine. But he also left a box of photos, childhood memories. I don’t know why he left it, maybe he didn’t want it, maybe the memories mean nothing to him? Though I know he had a rough childhood. I sure as shit know our memories mean nothing to him so I am not at all surprised that he wants to just leave the physical reminders and baggage behind. Maybe he left it so eventually he would have to come get it. Maybe he just can’t handle it. I have no fucking clue because I will never understand him.
Come and get it.
So I had this box of his stuff still. He picked the rest up in July. I asked him repeatedly to make arrangements to pick it up. The last of his stuff, these things I didn’t feel right getting rid of. They aren’t my memories to destroy and the box is too heavy and large to mail. I’ve wasted enough money on him, I’d rather not spend more fixing another one of his problems because he chose to not be an adult and settle the last of our business together. He could just as easily dispose of it, store it, or drop it at Goodwill. It should not be my responsibility to decide what’s important to him and what’s not. It is also not my problem to solve anymore.
Driving around with baggage.
As you know, I’ve been in counseling for over a year. But as 2017 came to a close, we made a plan to finish up my therapy. Not by my choice, I don’t think I’m ready still to go it alone, but my therapist is taking an extended maternity leave now until August. So I loaded up on therapy the last month so I felt more prepared to go cold turkey come January. Back to the box. I’ve tried for months and fucking months and fucking more months to get rid of the shit. I wanted to get rid of this fucking baggage, but instead I loaded into my Jeep, to drop at his work, then proceeded to drive it around for a month. It dawned on me that I was literally driving around with baggage. In addition to all the mental baggage he left me with, I was now literally driving around with his physical baggage.
Did he not take it on purpose to fuck with me some more? I thought it wouldn’t bother me at the house, that maybe I could put it in the attic so it would be gone and be out of my sight/mind. I guess part of me thought maybe he still wanted it and maybe he still wanted me. Maybe he was coming back eventually. So I kept it. I drove it around for another month, then I loaded it back out of my jeep and I put it back in the fucking garage because I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t bring myself to drop it off with him.
Let it go.
So we talked about this stupid box for months and months in therapy. She said the box was becoming symbolic and I need to get rid of it. She said that letting go of the physical baggage would help me let go of the mental stuff too. And I KNOW! I tell you all the time that my mind knows it’s long past time, my heart just won’t listen. We had our last appointment December 29 and I knew she would ask about the box, she hadn’t wanted me to carry it into the new year. So I’ve been trying all week to figure out how to get it to him as 2017 wound to a close. She told me not to write him a note, or leave him a message. Don’t tell him I’m coming just drop the shit and run. I’ve been so stressed about this box for months. The mental baggage is enough to hang on to. I don’t need the physical shit. It is time to be free.
But I guess, truth be told, what took me so long to drop the fucking box off is because I didn’t want to. I wanted to keep it. Like maybe if I had it here he would change his mind and he might come back for it or for me. But he’s not going to. It’s over. I also thought I’d leave a note or I would leave something with the box that made him want to be with me again. But as you know, I have literally said and done everything that could be said or done. He’s still with her. So holding onto that box? It’s the last thing that I had left of him, other than memories and wedding photos that I did put in the attic. I didn’t want to give it all back and have nothing left of him. I didn’t want to let it go. I wanted to hold on to it forever. Luckily, I have a therapist to guide me back to sanity. Most the time.
So we ended that last session without a plan and I’m scared to go it alone in 2018. Am I sane enough for this? I doubt it. But I’d like to think after all this therapy, that just maybe, I can handle it. So I went home and taped that box shut like she said. I wrote his name on it and I loaded it back into the Jeep. I sent him an email from an old account that I don’t use and I never log into, maybe one he hasn’t blocked. I told him I was dropping a box off the next day at his home address and that I didn’t want/need/expect a response. I sent the email and the next day as I went to follow through, I felt like I was having a mini heart attack. I took a Xanax. I put it a Christmas bow on one of our favorite beers and I drove to his new apartment. I parked around the corner and ran through the parking lot in high heels carrying that huge box. I dropped it on the door step praying he wasn’t home. Then instead of leaving a peace offering, I ripped that bow off I threw it the fucking bushes and I cracked that beer to drink it in the parking lot by myself. Then I left and I drove to pick up my friends at the train station. I text my therapist and I told her I did it. I felt so relieved and proud. I got rid of that baggage before 2018. Then I picked my friends up and we all moved in to the new year.
Friends, the bottom line here is that it takes a long time to let things go. Don’t be so hard on yourself and take all the time you need. I’ve heard (I decided to use this instead of they say, you’re welcome) that it takes anywhere from two to six years to process all the grief from divorce and truly move on. Start letting go of little things and move on to the big things. Eventually it will all be gone. In one month, I let go of my wedding binder, my marriage license, and the last of his things in my house. I did hang back up a beautiful picture that he took and we had framed. It now hangs in the hallway. It’s beautiful and perfectly placed. I haven’t let go of my dress, my ring, or our photos. I’m not ready for that just yet. To be honest, this process was hard on me, between that and the holidays in December, 2018 has been off to a rocky start. I had a bit of a backslide. I’ve been a bit sad, a lot emotional, and a tad crazy. Forgive yourself first. My therapist left me with this, and I will leave it with you.Forgiveness means letting go of all hope for a different past. Click To Tweet