The other night, I decided to clean out my computer and back-up recent photo shoots. This led to me poking around on my external hard drive and coming across photos from 2009-2010. Photos in Arkansas, with old friends, and of course, XH. Hundreds of photos of a full life, one that definitely seemed happy. Evidence of a couple who seemed to be very happily married and enjoying life. It was the strangest thing to be looking at now, so many years later and post-divorce. M wasn't paying too much attention but I guess it eventually caught his eye and so I started explaining many of the photos to him. Who the people were, where we were at, what was going on. And then the avalanche of memories just started coming.
2009 was a difficult year, spent dealing with azoospermia and PCOS. IF was so damn hard on us and our marriage. 2010 wasn't much better with the roller coaster of postponing a few IVFs and looking into adoption. There was a lot of goodness sprinkled in though, just enough to keep us sane. But, looking back, I think those two years are where I can pinpoint our decline. That's when our marriage started failing and we stopped trying. It simply became too much and we just coasted. I can also pinpoint 2011 as the beginning of the end. XH became increasingly cruel and emotionally abusive, his manipulation took on a whole new level.The strain really took a toll on me and my self-esteem. My depression overwhelmed me and I finally got help from a doctor. Just as the meds actually started helping, my Dad died. Two months after he died, XH told me that he wasn't in love with me anymore but refused divorce and counseling. Instead, we decided to move back to TX and well, now here I am.
Here I am. Mindful of the bad but also stuck with countless memories that are good. He wasn't always an asshole, he was a great husband up until a certain point. So what do I do with all these good memories? The ones that do bring a smile to my face or make me laugh. The ones where everything aligned and our small world didn't revolve around IF or cancer or anything but each other for a moment. The hikes we went on where we marveled at the pure beauty around us, the night drives out into the middle of nowhere to stare at countless stars, the road trips we spent listening to stand-up comedy and laughing our asses off, the nights we couldn't sleep so instead whispered in the dark about childhood memories or future plans. What about those memories? Do they truly mean nothing now? Are they rendered meaningless because we divorced?
It's not like they haunt me, they honestly seldom cross my mind. But they are there and I don't want to just ignore them or act like the good never happened. I don't want the bad he did to outweigh the good. He was once something much more than my ex-husband who broke my heart in ways I can't explain. He's not somebody that I hate or wish ill on but he's also not somebody that I want in my life. It's just odd now and hard to explain. I'm past all the pain and tears and I got through that part without being bitter towards him, though it took a lot to get to that point, honestly. I'm grateful for that.
It's quite nice to not hate him but it's quite nice to not love him either.