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.


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.

29 thoughts on “Ever So Briefly

  1. You saw something that needed done and you did it. You did a kindness for a fellow human being. I’m sure it was difficult, but that didn’t stop you. That’s just who you are, and we all appreciate it and are better for that.


  2. I think it’s fantastic that you felt okay sitting there with him and to be back even if for a visit – as you said. There is a place and a time for everything and – that was your time together and I think it was meant to be just there and then.
    Colleen, I think it felt so right for him too. It was a good moment, even if it maybe was only borrowed.


  3. You did the CB thing! I would not have expected less. You are too kind to ever dislike anyone, let alone neglect to help someone in need.
    Isn’ t it funny how people say “time will heal all wounds”…” give it time”… Yet in a split second ( or less) time changes very little?


    • Master Flash. I think the “CB thing” is really a “lot of people thing”. I hope so anyway. And yes, in a split second everything that was, wasn’t, and everything that wasn’t, was.

      Make sense? 😉


  4. You are good people Colleen, period. I pray for him, and his kids, I hope all will be ok. Sometimes a lil wake up call us all that’s needed. 25 hours of OT in one week!!! Insane!


  5. A lovely post, Colleen, because it is a glimpse into those moments that don’t have a label or box. It was what it was and it was lovely. I hope he gets better soon.


  6. I was unable to comment last night for one reason or another but wanted to. It was so simply expressed yet it points out the poignancy of today’s society. Ex’s and offspring put many people in your situation. Things like this happened in much lesser frequency during the time of the Greatest Generation.

    While I am unclear of your ex’s diagnosis, one thing is also for sure. Perhaps if this occurred just 20 years ago, and if he was having a heart attack, he may not have survived. You would not have been in that position. People’s life expectancy was less and just increases by the day now…so situations such as this (with ex’s) will also increase. No, I’m not being cynical…Just looking at things stirred up by your great piece.

    You are a kind human being, my Queen.


    • Koji I’ve been very lucky in life. Though I’ve crossed many bridges there are very few that I have ever set a torch to. He was generous to let me stay, Husband is decent and as kind as they come, and I have no hate in me towards the ex or anyone. Well, there is one, but that is another story and a human being who does not belong among people.

      Anyway, I have been very lucky to know good people and develop good grounds with. Even if the ground gets rocky. It’s still walkable.


  7. Hate is a terrible emotion that eats us alive…you have the gift of forgiveness and showed that with your ex. You extended kindness to him and received inner peace as a blessing. I hope he is ok. Like Koji said, you are indeed a kind woman – a treasure to all who know you.


  8. Colleen, I finally got a free minute to leave a comment. Hubby is in the other room with my kids. Anyway, I am sorry to hear about this recent scare. At the same time, I am taken aback by your immediate responsiveness. You didn’t let the prefix “ex” get in the way of helping a person in need. It was completely selfless of you. Totally sans ego. You are one classy lady. Hope all is well with him now.


    • Oh my! What wonderful things to read about myself so early in the day. 😉 I will have to come back here when I’m not being so classy (assuming that will happen, yes, yes, I think I can assume this ;).

      I share your accolades with him. He could have refused, but he was just as kind to talk with me, and allow me to give him any kindness.

      I do believe he is on his way to wellness. But a path he must choose!


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