He left me almost three years ago, and surprised me with a spectacular dozen yellow roses for Valentine’s Day. Technically, we’re still married but we live separately.
Valentine’s Day is more significant for us than for most couples because it was on this day in 1999 when I nearly died from a severe cerebral hemorrhage. I was mother to our 2 year old son, and six months pregnant with our second. I was also very young (35).
In the ensuing 19 years, I have made a much bigger deal about Valentine’s Day than most people do. I even had a Valentine’s Day party one year to celebrate being alive and having love in my life. I like to think I do this all year round, but it becomes a larger deal on February 14th.
I told my mother that my husband surprised me this year by walking in with a dozen gorgeous yellow roses. He usually bought me nice flowers while we were still together, but since he left, I’m not sure what to expect.
My mother and I talked about this. It seemed a bit odd for someone who no longer wants to be with me. She said, “I’m sure he’s going through withdrawal over the whole thing, too”. Old habits die hard and all that. I had previously speculated that he was merrily skipping away from a mix of many happy, some decent, and some not-so-great years. It looked like he was drifting off over the horizon looking for and finding new love and happiness while I sat in the corner and licked my wounds. No matter how unhappy he was in the marriage, a gleeful flight is an unlikely end.
It is not possible to simply skip away from almost 40 years together without feeling the vacuum left by the void. So many words can convey a similar sentiment:
Today was the first time I had thought about the word “withdrawal” to describe the indescribable adjustment to not being together anymore.