"Do you promise to love, honor, cherish and protect her, forsaking all others and holding only unto her?"
Out of the above losses, I have of late begun to wonder what I miss the most. Certainly not the fidelity, because that was the easiest of the five pieces of that broken promise to recover from. I am not saying it is easy to learn that your trusted partner has betrayed you in that way. No, it guts one open, pretty nastily, and the wound stays raw for a long time. Sometimes it is just merely a huge slip-up, a mid-life crisis, an incredible moment of weakness, drunkenness, insanity or whatever. Other times it is deliberately deceitful, and calculated and everlasting. My experience with this betrayal was the later. Still, I would have to say this wasn't the worst promise, broken.
So out of the other four losses: What hurts the most? What is the hardest to heal from? All four were, I too lately discovered, only an illusion that I lived with, but even so, it was still a loss of what I thought I had.
I sure do miss that sense of protection, that feeling of closing my eyes to sleep and knowing that if a brute broke into the house, my own man would fend him off, risking life and limb for his family. Or the notion of having a man protect me from treacherous traffic when my car breaks down, or defend my dignity at an inappropriate comment. Yea, I miss those scenarios or the illusion of them. But I got over that pretty quickly and really no longer get to be damsel in distress, ever... So what?
Next loss. I think I always knew I wasn't cherished. That would have been such a great thing to feel. To be cherished by a man. But as stupid as I was, I knew that wasn't there, so I guess I didn't lose even the illusion of that after all.
So what about love? Ouch, ouch and whoa, ouch.That loss or the loss of thinking I was loved, does take its toll, hobbles a soul for a long time. It was, still is, at times, hard to hold my head up, hard to brush the hair on that head and walk like a woman after that was pulled out from under me. Still, I limped away. I eventually stopped bleeding, except occasionally, when the scab gets unexpectedly torn off. But I do carry the literal ache in my chest, everyday, just like anyone else who has lost in this way, but you get up and get going because, as hard as it is, we all know that there are way worse things to deal with.
So then it must be the honor, right? The worst loss? Not being respected, valued, held in high regard? It sure does a lot to cripple the ego, to not be honored. It is a wonderful thing to feel like you are honored. That you are so special, so unique, so appreciated, so worth honoring...But if I am really honest, I think I knew all along I didn't have that either.
So this morning's revelation is this: I miss having the belief that I was loved most of all - out of all the promises in that one enormous statement above. But more than that, much, much more than that I miss, not being able to offer those things to a man in my life. I miss the love, the honor and the way I cherished years upon years of layered memories, I miss protecting, verbally, emotionally, physically in the daily way that I did, the man in my life. Where, I would like to know from anyone who might be listening, does one put all that love, honor and need to cherish and protect? I am not talking about redirecting your love to your children or to those less fortunate in volunteer work or even keeping busy with what you love: your work, your art, a special cause. I am talking about the particular love between a man and woman and all the promises that go with it. The loss of these leaves a gaping hole in the abandoned one's heart, but the burden of carrying around the unwanted gifts, and having no one to offer them to, I think, is the worst of it all.
So is the dumpee destined to lug around this load of goodies until love visits again? What if love never comes? Is the one left behind doomed to take all this good stuff to the grave? What have all of our abandoned ancestors done with this left-over love? Does anyone have a secret to share? A chant? A spell? A recipe for releasing it into the universe, so it can rain down on the down-trodden, wrap around the lonely and cushion the steps of the newly love-hobbled?