After a few weeks lull, I started thinking more frequently about my ex again. I am not sure what prompted my brain to start dwelling on the past, but I have found myself lost in my thoughts on more than a few occasions over the past week. This, of course, was partially what prompted my grief filled weekend. However, unlike in previous times of grief over this whole situation, this time the grief wasn’t rooted in anger or betrayal; this grief was rooted in the loss of the man I thought I knew.
So much of what I have shared and written about paints my ex out to be a horrible person. There is no doubt that the things he did to me and the betrayal of our marriage are horrid. Walking out on one’s children for “the love of my life” is despicable. However, I think maybe one of the greatest challenges is reconciling that the actions of the past year do not really reflect a large part of the man I shared my life with and the father my sons knew.
My ex is very charismatic – he can talk to anyone and has a George Clooney smile where his eyes crinkle into slits when he smiles. He is great at massages and I still miss him working out the kinks in my shoulders after a crazy shift in the ER. Most importantly, he was (and yes, was, is the correct term) a great dad. He was patient with our sons and always willing to stop and teach them something. He was very physical – allowing them to wrestle or tickle him. He was soft-spoken and rarely raised his voice. My sons love him dearly.
So, while it may be easy to see him as the villain in the story, I cannot, because, for many years he was my hero. I wished I could be more patient and more fun and more like him. What happens when the hero and the villain are one in the same? My head and my heart don’t even know where to put it…I spend days trying to make sense of everything and it overwhelms me at times. I am also reminded of the times I have played the villain in this story…there are many. The truth is that in this life there are very few true heroes and probably even fewer true villains. For all the beauty and evil in the world, it is all shaped by someone’s story and sometimes the line between the villain and the hero isn’t that clear.