Unfinished business stirs my subconscious mind.
This morning I was awakened by my mother-in-law’s voice calling for help. I hurried to her. She was lying in the bed I occasionally shared with my ex-husband, her son, in our Wickenburg home, propped up on some pillows. She was talking on a speaker phone to her daughter, Suzie. She wanted me to tell Suzie something.
I never found out what. The whole thing was a dream. When I woke, I woke from that dream to find myself in my own bed in my current home 1200 miles away.
My mother-in-law, Julia, is dead. She died earlier this summer. No one in my ex-husband’s family had the common decency to tell me that the woman I’d known for 30 years had passed away. I found out through a mutual friend.
I know my husband lied to his mother about the end of our relationship. I know he painted me as an evil monster who ruined his life and abandoned him in Arizona. I know he told her that because that’s what he believes. It’s part of the delusions that drove him into the arms of the desperate old woman — his new mommy — who he now lives with. It’s part of the delusions that drove him to subject me to mental abuse, unreasonable demands, and harassment during our year-long divorce process. He believes this to be true so he tells his friends and family members.
Anyone with knowledge of the facts, however, knows better.
I wanted to say goodbye to Julia but wasn’t allowed to. When I sent her a birthday gift for her 90th birthday last September — a framed photograph of me and her son taken many years ago that I know she admired — I was accused by my ex-husband of “harassing his family members.” So I never contacted her again.
And then she died.
I tried to get some closure with a blog post written to her. But she’s dead. I don’t believe in heaven and hell so I don’t believe she knows what really happened or can read, from beyond the grave, what I wrote. She never knew the truth.
Why does it matter to me? I’m trying to understand that. It could be because of how I value the truth.
I know how he lied to her and “bent the truth” for the last five or more years of her life. To protect her, he’d say. I know that he did the same to me — although I didn’t realize the extent of his lies until much later. I don’t understand how a person could lie to someone he claims to love. I don’t understand how a relationship can be expected to survive when its fabric is punched with holes created by untruths.
But then again, our relationship didn’t survive. He saw to that by signing up for an online dating service only a week after I left for my summer job last year and moving in with the first woman who would sleep with him. Asking for a divorce came later.
I wonder if he remembers that chain of events as well as I do? Whether he was honest with any of his friends and family members about how he betrayed his life partner of 29 years?
I wonder how much he still lies and who he lies to.
But most of all, I wonder how many of those lies he believes. How far his delusions have taken him. Whether he wakes in the morning feeling the overwhelming hate he must have for me — nothing else could explain his actions over the past year or so — and how much that drives him.
But I’ll never know because I’ll never get a chance to ask. His mommy won’t let him talk to me.
And that’s a good thing. Clearly, the man I loved is dead and buried — killed as a result of a mental illness that drove him to madness and an odd form of suicide. The man who looks like him is a foul impostor I have no desire to hear from.
That’s my closure: knowing that that the man I loved is gone for good.