Ever So Briefly

My ex-husband may or may not have had a heart attack on Friday.

He may or may not have expected my return to his life.

For how ever brief it was…

…. there I was.

Daughter called to say she needed me to get the baby so she could be with her dad.  Of course.  As it should be.  She was heading to the hospital and I would meet her there.   But I got to the hospital first and he was alone.  I was a bit miffed that no one from his work place was with him.

Whoa…

Where did that come from?

What right have I to be miffed about anything regarding his life?

Exactly.   I don’t.

But, wait, yes I do.

There’s no “ex” in having  had a child together.   He is the father of my child.  I parented his previous marriage’s children.   And by the way, I don’t and never did hate him.  Or stop caring for him.   But there was no easy definition for what role I had just stepped in to.  Or what time warp made this happen.   Ending a marriage doesn’t erase what had been.   It had obviously changed and was no longer what it it had been.   But it wasn’t due to hate or not caring.

The hospital sent me back to be with him.   I let him know his children were on the way and offered to sit out in the waiting room.  He said no, he wanted me to stay.   So I did.   Seeing someone who had always been very strong and stubborn, lying in pain and unstable, was difficult.  I wasn’t prepared for it and I knew his daughters were all on their way…and they weren’t prepared for it.  It was one of those shocks that was quickly relegated to somewhere else.  He was not capable at that moment of being strong or stubborn.  He wanted me to stay.

I was fine with that.  And he seemed fine with it.   Oddly, there was an ease and comfort when it was just the two of us.  We talked about the kids.   I asked if I should call anyone for him, he said no.   I mentioned no one from his work coming with him, and he told me that they had wanted to.   And this, I should have known.   He would not have wanted anyone seeing him like this.    Appearing weak, or frail, or broken, in any way.

Quietly I removed myself from my high horse.

It was an odd situation to be in, technically speaking.

But I didn’t feel odd.

I sat at the head of his ER bed thing.  Staying out of everyone’s way.    He laughed at some of the things I had pointed out that I did not find surprising.   Things that had not changed about him because it’s just who he is.  He wouldn’t take off his hat, and he wouldn’t let them take off his jeans.  He’s about as modest as they come.    He’s a hard worker.  Always has been.   In his mind, work defines him.   He is from another era.  The man works, works his ass off.   And that takes just about everything he has.   And though I admire his work ethic, his determination to provide, and his willingness to work every hour of every day, it was also part of the problem.   Our problem.

The condition I found him in Friday was not a surprise.  I had always painted this picture in my head when we were married.

I would try to show him this picture but he could never see it.

So we sat.  I sat, technically he was flat on his back.   They kept trying to stabilize him.

For a brief time I felt like this was very normal.  I happened to be the closest to his location when this all happened and I arrived first.  I didn’t want him to be alone.  And I didn’t want his children to think about him being alone.  So I stayed.  And he seemed to take comfort from either not being alone, or me being there.

When the children arrived life seemed to revert to it’s current status quo.

I didn’t want to overstep my place.   And I didn’t want him to think I didn’t have a place for him in my heart.

But I had to go.

I stepped back in to my world.

And it was hard.

Hard to see someone I once knew so well, be in a bad predicament….and realize I was not going to be part of the support.  Part of what would help.  Part of the fix it and make it better plan.

I had stepped back in to his life, ever so briefly.

I’m glad I did.

I’m glad I could.

I know many who could not have.  Could not have been on that bed and watched someone else walk in to their life, or been the one walking back in.

I’m glad I was there and that he allowed me to be there.

But I know my place.

And no matter where I am it doesn’t mean I don’t care.

He may or may not need that.

But it’s there.